Gender violence

CEJIL will denounce the violations of the human rights of groups in vulnerable situations in the Americas

Eight thematic hearings before the IACHR will permit discussion on the situation of detained persons, women, human rights defenders, Trans persons, and others.

Washington D.C., Sunday, October 27, 2013 – As of Monday, October 28, 2013, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will participate in eight different thematic hearings before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, in conjunction with numerous human rights organizations from across the American Continent.

With regards to the objectives of these hearings, CEJIL’s Executive Director Viviana Krsticevic stated that “their purpose is to make visible the vulnerable situation in which various populations are found, amongst them women, detained persons in Guantanamo, refugees, trans persons, and human rights defenders, with the aim of drawing the attention of American States to these issues so that they take swift actions that guarantee the rights of these people and groups.”

 

Sun, 10/27/2013

Washington D.C., Sunday, October 27, 2013 – As of Monday, October 28, 2013, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will participate in eight different thematic hearings before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, in conjunction with numerous human rights organizations from across the American Continent.

With regards to the objectives of these hearings, CEJIL’s Executive Director Viviana Krsticevic stated that “their purpose is to make visible the vulnerable situation in which various populations are found, amongst them women, detained persons in Guantanamo, refugees, trans persons, and human rights defenders, with the aim of drawing the attention of American States to these issues so that they take swift actions that guarantee the rights of these people and groups.”

These thematic hearings form part of the 149th Period of Ordinary Sessions of the Commission.

The following issues are amongst those which will be addressed:

 

 

  • Human Rights Situation of Detainees at Guantánamo Naval Base, United States (Monday, October 28, 9:00 – 10:00 EST).
  • Human Rights of Migrants and Legislative Reforms in the United States (Monday, October 28, 2:00 – 3:00 EST).
  • Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (Monday, October 28, 11:30-12:20 EST).
  • Implementation of Precautionary Measures in Honduras (Monday, October 28, 17:45-18:45 EST).
  • Reports of Violence against Trans People in El Salvador (Tuesday, October 29, 9:00-10:00 EST)
  • Situation of Violence against Women in the Americas (Tuesday, October 29, 15:15-16:15 EST)
  • Reports of Excessive Use of Force by the Police in Nicaragua (Tuesday, October 29, 17:45-18:46 EST)
  • Human Rights Situation of Refugees in the Americas (Thursday, October 31, 15:15-16:15)

 

 

Summaries of Jurisprudence: Gender-based Violence. 2nd Edition Updated

CEJIL presents a new title to its collection of Summaries of Jurisprudence, this time dedicated to Gender Violence.

This publication includes a selection of texts of decisions from international human rights organs related to the protection of women victims of violence. The compilation provides a solid body of jurisprudence that allows one to obtain a broad panorama of the reality of women in a variety of contexts, revealing the indisputable relevance of gender violence in the world, even further than the advances in regulation material.

We hope that this will be a useful tool that contributes to the defense of human rights and the eradication of one of the most tolerated and silenced human rights violations as such is the violence exercised against women.


Type of publication:Compilation of jurisprudence
Full version available in:
Year: 2011
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CEJIL files complaint before the IACHR regarding violence against women in the Americas

Of the 25 States with the highest rate of femicide/feminicide in the world, 14 are regional nations

Washington DC, October 28, 2013 – The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), the Inter-American Platform for Human Rights, Development, and Democracy (PIDHDD), the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora, Coordinadora del Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas and the Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional de Femicidio de México denounced violence against women in a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  Particular emphasis was placed on femicide, one of the gravest expressions of violence against women. Femicide/feminicide is considered to be the assassination of a woman for her gender.

Tue, 10/29/2013

Washington DC, October 28, 2013 – The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), the Inter-American Platform for Human Rights, Development, and Democracy (PIDHDD), the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora, Coordinadora del Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas and the Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional de Femicidio de México denounced violence against women in a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  Particular emphasis was placed on femicide, one of the gravest expressions of violence against women. Femicide/feminicide is considered to be the assassination of a woman for her gender.

According to the United Nations Report on the Regulation of the crime of Feminicide/Femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean, of the 25 States with the highest rates of murder in the world, 14 are from the region. Those with the highest rates are El Salvador, Jamaica, and Guatemala.

In spite of this alarming reality, to date regional States have not adopted measures effective for addressing this problem. Only 10 of the region’s nations have included femicide/feminicide as a criminal offense (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, and Panama). Furthermore, some of the adopted regulations present flaws; in their concept of femicide/feminicide, they exclude acts that should be considered as such, and others result in a definition that is too broad for effective application.

Guadalupe Ramos from CLADEM indicated that, “a separate criminal classification for femicide/feminicide is necessary as the criminal classification of homicide makes invisible the causes and the characteristics of the murder of women. In making them visible by means of a specific criminal offense, it is possible to identify the special necessities for the protection of women as well as the public policies that must be adopted by the State to do so.”

Furthermore, no effective public policy exists in the region that addresses, in an integral manner, the femicide/feminicide problem. CEJIL’s Gisela De León added that: “the criminal response should be accompanied by policies aimed at tackling causes of femicide/feminicide. This will only be achieved when reliable data is available that correlates with the magnitude, characteristics, and origins of the problem.”

The petitioners drew the attention of the IACHR to the severity of this problem, with the objective of ensuring that the Commission continues to contribute to the fight against violence against women, particularly in light of the anniversary of the Belém Do Pará Convention next year.  The petitioners asserted that the present challenge is to ensure the transition from the legislation to the adoption of effective public policies which can put an end this pandemic. This is a process where the Commission’s contribution is key.

Daniela Araya

Communications Officer

Tel: +506 22807473

E-mail: daraya@cejil.org

Inter-American Court of Human Rights orders the Salvadoran State to save the life of "Beatriz"

In a unanimous vote, the Inter-American Tribunal recognizes that her health, life, and personal integrity, both physical and mental, are in a situation of extreme seriousness and urgency of suffering irreparable damage.

In a historic decision, today the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court), the highest tribunal regarding human rights on the American continent, required the Salvadoran State to take all the medical measures necessary to ensure, in an urgent manner, the due protection of the right to life and personal integrity of Beatriz, which means interrupting her pregnancy in accordance with the recommendations of her doctors.

Beatriz, a 22-year-old Salvadoran woman, who suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus aggravated with lupus nephritis and rheumatoid arthritis, is the mother of a 14-month-old boy and is currently 26 weeks pregnant with an anencephalic fetus—a fetus without a brain—which is a major anomaly incompatible with life outside the womb.

Read the complete Court resolution in Spanish

Thu, 05/30/2013

In a unanimous vote, the Inter-American Tribunal recognizes that her health, life, and personal integrity, both physical and mental, and life are in a situation of extreme seriousness and urgency of suffering irreparable damage.

San Salvador and San José, May 30th, 2013. In a historic decision, today the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court), the highest tribunal regarding human rights on the American continent, required the Salvadoran State to take all the medical measures necessary to ensure, in an urgent manner, the due protection of the right to life and personal integrity of Beatriz, which means interrupting her pregnancy in accordance with the recommendations of her doctors.

Beatriz-CCAmnistíaMéxico

Beatriz, a 22-year-old Salvadoran woman, who suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus aggravated with lupus nephritis and rheumatoid arthritis, is the mother of a 14-month-old boy and is currently 26 weeks pregnant with an anencephalic fetus—a fetus without a brain—which is a major anomaly incompatible with life outside the womb.

On April 29, 2013, after a petition by the Feminist Collective for Local Development of El Salvador (Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local de El Salvador), the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethic, and Eugenic Abortion of El Salvador (Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico de El Salvador), and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Precautionary Measures in favor of Beatriz and required that the Salvadoran State “implement the treatment recommended by the Medical Committee of the National Hospital Specialized in Maternity “Dr. Raúl Arguello Escalón”, with the purpose of safeguarding the life, personal integrity, and health of Beatriz. Nonetheless, the State did not abide by the IACHR’s decision, and because of that, the IACHR requested the intervention of the Inter-American Court.

In its resolution, the Inter-American Court considered that Beatriz’s situation is one of extreme seriousness and urgency and that there exists a risk of irreparable harm to her rights to life and personal integrity, not only physical but also mental.

“The resolution dictated by the Court is a historic milestone in the protection of the rights of women on the continent. Through its decision, the Court establishes the urgency to apply the necessary measures to immediately protect women who find themselves in serious health problems and require a therapeutic abortion”, signaled Marcia Aguiluz, Program Director for Central America and Mexico for CEJIL.

The Court’s resolution takes into account the judgment issued yesterday by the Constitutional Chamber of the Salvadoran Supreme Court, in which it rejected the amparo recourse (an action for the protection of constitutional rights or guarantees) filed by Beatriz’s lawyers, in order to allow the doctors at the hospital to be able to interrupt the pregnancy.

Nevertheless, the Inter-American Court signaled that in the scope of said decision, the Salvadoran State is obligated to “guarantee that the treating medical team has the corresponding protection to fully exercise its function according to the decisions that, based on medical science, said medical team should adopt.”

“We hope that the Salvadoran State immediately complies with the resolution of the Inter-American Court and proceeds to interrupt Beatriz’s pregnancy, in a way so that she can continue to live a full and safe life”, signaled Morena Herrera from the Feminist Collective.

When facing extremely serious and urgent situations, the Court can take the Provisional Measures that it deems pertinent, even though a case has not been presented before the Court.  The resolutions of the Court are obligatory for each and all of the authorities of El Salvador, as a Member State of the Organization of American States (OAS) that has signed and ratified the American Convention on Human Rights and has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction.

Read the complete Court resolution in Spanish

More Information

Marcia Aguiluz

CEJIL

maguiluz@cejil.org

+506 2280-7473

Photograph CC Amnesty Mexico

María da Penha / Brazil

María da Penha con el presidente de Brasil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Brazilian pharmacist María da Penha Fernandes was shot by her husband. He left her a paraplegic, and tried to electrocute her. In spite of the abundance of evidence, the Brazilian justice system took nearly two decades to come to a firm decision.

The aggressions against Mrs. Fernandes and her difficulty in finding justice was evidence of the tolerance for violence in Brazil, which Mrs. Fernandes and thousands of women suffer from in similar ways on a daily basis. She, CEJIL, and the Latin American Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM) denounced the Brazilian government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 1998.

Mrs. Fernandes’ persistence in her fight culminated in an IACHR decision that placed responsibility for the violation of her human rights on the Brazilian government, applied for the first time by the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Violence Against Women – known a the Belém do Pará Convention. It also initiated the process that resulted in the first law against domestic violence against women in Brazil.

On May 29, 1983, Mrs. Fernandes’ husband shot her with a revolver while she was sleeping and left her a paraplegic. In 1984, the Prosecutor’s Office accused the man of aggression and the intention to kill, and initiated a long judicial journey, which demonstrated the government’s tolerance of violence against women and lead to the international hearing before the IACHR.

In 2001, the IACHR decided in favor of Mrs. Fernandes and a year later the Brazilian courts declared her ex-husband guilty, finally sending him to prison in 2002 – 19 years after the crime was committed and just six months before the charges against him would have been dropped.

The IACHRdetermined that Brazil had violated the Belém do Pará Convention and exhorted the government to adopt measures that guarantee the effective punishment, prevention and eradication of violence against women.

Mrs. Fernandes’ search for justice contributed in a fundamental way to the promulgation of the law 11.340 in 2006, which intends to prevent the evasion penal sanctions for acts of domestic violence against women, promotes rehabilitation programs for the aggressors, and creates political bodies and specialized courts: it’s the “María da Penha Law.”

 

Video:

Maria da Penha - Campaign: "Defend the IAS Now", produced by Canal Capital and CEJIL


IACHR visit to Colombia

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will carry out an in loco visit to Colombia from December 3 - 7 2012, following an invitation by the Colombian government.

This will be the first IACHR in loco visit to Colombia since 2004.


IACHR press release here.

 

Fri, 11/30/2012

 

 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will carry out an in loco visit to Colombia between the December 3 and 7, 2012, following an invitation by the Colombian government.

 

This will be the first IACHR in loco visit to Colombia since 2004.


IACHR press release here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Guatemalan femicide case reaches Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The María Isabel Véliz Franco case is an emblematic example of the impunity surrounding femicide in Guatemala

Guatemala City and San José, 7 May, 2012. On May 3, the Washington-based Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) submitted the María Isabel Véliz Franco femicide case to the jurisdiction of the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, whose headquarters are in Costa Rica. The case, relating to the murder of a young girl in Guatemala in 2001, will be heard by the Interamerican Court in due course.

María Isabel and her relatives are represented by the Red de la No Violencia contra las Mujeres en Guatemala (REDNOVI –No Violence against Women in Guatemala Network) and the Centre for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). In 2004, the Guatemalan authorities were denounced before the IACHR by both these organizations, for their failure to investigate the murder in a diligent, exhaustive and serious way. The inquiry has been plagued by unlawful delays, loss of evidence and the omission of lines of relevant investigation.

 

Thu, 05/10/2012

Guatemala City and San José, 7 May, 2012. On May 3, the Washington-based Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) submitted the María Isabel Véliz Franco femicide case to the jurisdiction of the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, whose headquarters are in Costa Rica. The case, relating to the murder of a young girl in Guatemala in 2001, will be heard by the Interamerican Court in due course.

María Isabel and her relatives are represented by the Red de la No Violencia contra las Mujeres en Guatemala (REDNOVI –No Violence against Women in Guatemala Network) and the Centre for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). In 2004, the Guatemalan authorities were denounced before the IACHR by both these organizations, for their failure to investigate the murder in a diligent, exhaustive and serious way. The inquiry has been plagued by unlawful delays, loss of evidence and the omission of lines of relevant investigation.  In addition, the victim and her family have been repeatedly stigmatized by the authorities throughout the process.

Guatemala registers an alarmingly high instance of cases of violence against women. This, coupled with the lack of protection offered to both victims and survivors and the widespread levels of impunity, favors the repetition of similar tragedies.

Official statistics compiled by the Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres (Guatemalan Women’s Group) suggest that between 2000 and 2011, 6,638 women suffered violent deaths in Guatemala. In 2011 alone, 710 women died in violent circumstances. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Judiciary, violence against women represents the third most reported crime within the nation. Of the cases of this nature admitted, only 1% obtains sentencing, resulting in impunity for the crimes and those responsible in 99% of cases.

The latest report from the Guatemalan Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, published last January, suggests that: “the cruelty with which some of these crimes were perpetrated reflects the grave extent to which patterns of discrimination are rooted within society, and reveals the lack of institutional measures in place to stop them.”

REDNOVI and CEJIL welcome the presentation of this case before the Interamerican Court, the highest tribunal in the Americas. It represents an opportunity for specific measures to be granted for combatting both the disturbingly high rates of violence against women in Guatemala and the ongoing impunity.

Over 10 years have passed since the crime, and the victim and her family have not yet been granted justice. As such, Guatemala has a responsibility to investigate, process, and sanction those responsible for the crimes committed against María Isabel Véliz Franco. Similarly, the State has an obligation to implement all political and financial measures necessary to strengthen existing institutions and their ability to prevent, detect, investigate and punish instances of violence against women in Guatemala.

Case facts

On December 16, 2001, Rosa Franco filed a complaint before the Guatemalan authorities for the disappearance of her 15-year-old daughter, María Isabel Véliz Franco. However, State institutions have made no attempt to locate her whereabouts. On December 18, her body was discovered bearing various signs of abuse. Since the occurrence of the crime, Rosa Franco has appealed for the events to be investigated and for those responsible to be punished, to no avail.

We demand justice for the women of Atenco, after 6 years of violence, discrimination and impunity

After 6 years the case of the women of Atenco remains unpunished

On May 3rd and 4th, 2006 in Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco, state of Mexico, Mexico, 47 women were arbitrarily detained during a police operation carried out by state and federal forces, characterized by the excessive and indiscriminate use of force. The female detainees were brutally beaten, humiliated and abused, and the majority denounced suffering sexual torture at the hands of the police.
 
Since then, 11 women have fought for justice, taking their case before national courts and now before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  However, despite the seriousness of the violations and their detailed documentation, absolute impunity persists in the case. Therefore, 6 years after the events, the women of Atenco continue suffering discrimination and institutional violence, as well as a lack of access to justice and reparations.
 

Tue, 05/08/2012

On May 3rd and 4th, 2006 in Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco, state of Mexico, Mexico, 47 women were arbitrarily detained during a police operation carried out by state and federal forces, characterized by the excessive and indiscriminate use of force. The female detainees were brutally beaten, humiliated and abused, and the majority denounced suffering sexual torture at the hands of the police.
 
Since then, 11 women have fought for justice, taking their case before national courts and now before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  However, despite the seriousness of the violations and their detailed documentation, absolute impunity persists in the case. Therefore, 6 years after the events, the women of Atenco continue suffering discrimination and institutional violence, as well as a lack of access to justice and reparations.
 
Violence against women, according to the Convention of Belém Do Pará, ratified by Mexico in 1998, “is an offense against human dignity and a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between women and men”. To that extent we emphasize that the use of sexual torture as a tool of repression in the case of Atenco not only affects the women who were detained and abused, but also Mexican society as a whole.
 
Consequently, on the sixth anniversary of the events, the undersigned organizations express our support for the women of Atenco and demand that Mexico comply with its obligations under international treaties, the Constitution and the legislation currently in force; specifically, to properly investigate the sexual torture inflicted on the women of Atenco, punish the perpetrators and make reparations for the damages.
 
As long as violence against women and impunity persist in cases like that of the women of Atenco, it is impossible to assert that Mexico is a truly democratic State governed by the rule of law.

International Human Rights Day

Mon, 12/10/2012 (All day)
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