State of Women’s Rights in Mexico 'Alarming,' Authorities Urged to Stop Escalating Violence Against Women

Press Release
July 12, 2012

State of Women’s Rights in Mexico 'Alarming,' Authorities Urged to Stop Escalating Violence Against Women

Murders of Mexican Women Total 34,000 Between 1985 and 2009; 2,418 Killed in 2010 alone

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) -- Amnesty International today called the state of women’s rights in Mexico "alarming" and urged the Mexican government to protect women from increasing levels of violence and discrimination and ensure that these crimes are investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

"The state of women’s rights in Mexico is alarming," said Rupert Knox, researcher on Mexico at Amnesty International. "In recent years we have witnessed not only an increase in killings of women but a continuing routine lack of effective investigations and justice."

In the first six months of 2012 there were more than 130 killings of women in the state of Chihuahua. In 2009 alone, public prosecutor's office round the country received 14,829 reports of rape – an alarming number considering that most women do not report these crimes. Only 2,795 convictions were achieved in the courts, illustrating that most cases are not effectively investigated and insufficient measures are taken to protect the survivors.

"In the past years, Mexico has approved a number of laws and institutions designed to protect women from discrimination and violence," said Knox. "Much of the problem, however, lies in the lack of effective implementation of these laws and the weakness of the institutions."

Amnesty International submitted a report about its concerns on women to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which on July 17 will evaluate Mexico’s compliance with the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The U.N. committee will publish its conclusions and recommendations after the session finishes on July 27.

The 2006 case of sexual assault by police of more than 26 detained women in San Salvador Atenco is symbolic of the widespread denial of access to justice by both state and federal authorities. The women were arrested without explanation during protests by a local peasant organization, many of them subjected to physical, psychological and sexual violence. In spite of enquiries and recommendations by the National Human Rights Commission and the National Supreme Court, the unjust circumstances have forced nine of the women to take their case to the Inter American Commission of Human Rights.

Amnesty International's report said the Mexican state is failing women on gender discrimination, threats and attacks against women activists, violence suffered by women migrants, failure to fully comply with Inter American Court of Human Rights judgments on the rape of two indigenous women in Guerrero state and the Cotton Field abduction and killing of young women in Ciudad Juarez as well as identifying obstacles to effective access to sexual and reproductive health. Also detailed are the increased level of threats and attacks against women human rights activists who worked to ensure justice for their murdered relatives.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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