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Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala must address attacks on women

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Joanna Perkin
WVoN co-editor

A report published earlier this week by the Nobel Women’s Initiative calls on the governments of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to take action to tackle the widespread problem of violence against women in their respective countries.

From Survivors to Defenders: Women Confronting Violence in Mexico, Honduras & Guatemala’, the 48-page report is the outcome of a 10-day fact-finding mission to these regions during January 2012.

As summed up by CNN, the report found that much of the violence against women is committed in the name of the so-called ‘war on drugs’.

“The war on drugs in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala has become a war on women. Efforts to improve ‘security’ have only led to greater militarisation, rampant corruption and abuse within police forces and an erosion of rule of law.

“Ultimately, it has resulted in a crisis of insecurity where no one is safe. Homicide rates are among the highest in the world, with Honduras’ capital now being described as the ‘murder capital of the world’,” the report states.

The report also highlights the problems of “increasing displacement for natural resource exploitation and megaprojects” and “targeted attacks on women human rights defenders”. Shocking statistics about violence against women are cited.

While an article in ‘Literal Magazine’ describes the harrowing stories of just a handful of the 200 female survivors of violence interviewed as part of the 10-day delegation, the authors of the report must be hoping their advice is not overlooked.

The report makes a series of recommendations to the governments of each country visited. The top three for each government are as follows:

For the government of Mexico:

  1. Prosecute cases of violence against women.
  2. Ensure justice in cases of forced disappearances.
  3. Investigate and prosecute police, military personnel and other government agents accused of sexual violence and abuse, and compensate victims.

For the government of Honduras:

  1. Stop dismantling legal reforms aimed at ending discrimination against women and give high priority to reforming legislation.
  2. Halt police and military repression of women human rights defenders, members of the political opposition, peasant and indigenous leaders, journalists and feminists immediately.
  3. Ensure that all forms of violence against women are prosecuted and punished.

For the government of Guatemala:

  1. Protect and publicly recognise the work of women human rights defenders involved in land struggles and other campaigns.
  2. Stop the practice of criminalisation of women and men rights defenders.
  3. Enforce the law against femicide on all levels and prosecute crimes against women and girls.

The report also calls upon the United States and Canada to take action.

The 10-day delegation was organised by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, JASS (Just Associates) and prominent national organisations that formed host committees in each country, and led by Nobel Laureates Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

For a full copy of the report, go to the website of the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

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