20 years after the Convention of Belem do Para: commitments must be strengthened so women can live without violence
Asuncion, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The signing organizations, in the framework of the Forty-fourth Period of Ordinary Sessions of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of “Belem do Para”), which to this date has been ratified by 32 of the 34 members of the OAS. The organizations especially note that this Inter-American human rights treaty has the highest number of ratifications, showing a political commitment to the elimination of all types of violence against women.
18.June.2014

Asuncion, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The signing organizations, in the framework of the Forty-fourth Period of Ordinary Sessions of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of “Belem do Para”), which to this date has been ratified by 32 of the 34 members of the OAS. The organizations especially note that this Inter-American human rights treaty has the highest number of ratifications, showing a political commitment to the elimination of all types of violence against women.

The signing organizations appreciate that when the Convention of Belem do Para came into force, the majority of States pushed forward national legislative processes that led to the creation of laws aimed at fighting domestic violence. Nonetheless, the organizations stress that these advances have been insufficient at the level of prevention, investigation and the punishment of the violence against women. In addition, the complexity and impact that this type of violence represents has been hindered from being comprehensively addressed.

It is necessary to restate that the obligations established by the Convention of Belem do Para require the States to design and implement comprehensive public policies that take into account the different spaces where violence against women occurs, such as the situation of violence as well as the obstacles that women human rights defenders face to carry out their work.

At the same time, the signing organizations are troubled by the persistence of generalized impunity in relation to the investigation, prosecution, and punishment that state and non-state actors face for committing violent crimes against women.

On the other hand, in the framework of the current plenary sessions of the General Assembly of the OAS, which are centered on the issue of “Development with Social Inclusion,” it is essential to note that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has already recognized that there is a close link between the elimination of poverty and the protection and exercise of all women’s rights.

In turn, the signing organizations consider that putting into practice what is established in article 9 of the Convention is urgent and cannot be delayed, in the sense of especially protecting women that find themselves in situations worsened by vulnerability including children, the elderly, indigenous women, and women affected by poverty, violence and armed conflict. This will contribute to an adequate approach to guarantee women’s right to a life of dignity, free of violence.

The “factual and legal” inequality that affects women, as well as violence against women, continues to be expressions of the historically unequal power relations between women and men that structure our societies. This perspective, derived from the mandate of the Convention, should help address the analysis of the difficulties that still persist, and the proposals to overcome them.

20 years after the signing of the Convention of Belem do Para, the signing organizations urge the American States to firmly establish public policies and other effective actions in order to:

  • Fight against the persistence of gender stereotypes based on concepts of inferiority or subordination between men and women, as well as practices that promote the exploitation of women’s bodies, which perpetuate the historical discrimination that underlines violent acts against women;
  • Comprehensively address the diverse manifestations of violence that confront women in the Americas (lack of access to reproductive health, maternal mortality, lack of access to sexual education, discrimination, sexual violence, domestic violence, criminalization of abortion and attacks against human rights defenders, among others);
  • Broadly discuss, adopt and implement laws, legal procedures and public policies taking into account the diversity of women that live in the region and considering the complexity of the problem;
  • Guarantee the compilation of adequate and disaggregated statistics that allow the evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures of prevention, punishment and eradication of violence against women;
  • Incorporate a gender and ethnic perspective in the administration of justice;
  • Adequately comply with the decisions of the Inter-American System’s bodies, particularly in cases relating to discrimination and violence against women;
  • Comply with the duty to exercise due diligence to prevent violence against women, including domestic violence; in this sense the States should investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators (public officials or private individuals), and provide complete reparation to the women who are victims of the violence; and
  • Incorporate transversal gender indicators in public programs and proposals to measure the advancement of women’s human rights.

On the twentieth anniversary of the Convention of Belem do Para, the organizations remember that violence against women is a human rights violation and call for the full enjoyment of rights by all women in the Americas. Asuncion, Paraguay, June 4, 2014.

International:

Amnesty International

Regional:

Asociadas por lo Justo (JASS)

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM)

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

IPAS Centroamérica

La Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)

Red Regional de Organizaciones Civiles para las Migraciones

Red Solidaria contra la Impunidad A.C.

Argentina:

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Brazil:

Associação Juízes para a Democracia (AJD)

Bolivia:

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM)

La Oficina Jurídica para la Mujer

La Red Nacional Mujeres y Minería de Bolivia

Costa Rica:

Asociación Demográfica Costarricense

Alianza por tus Derechos

Centro de Investigación y Promoción para América Central de DDHH (CIPAC)

Centro Integral para los Derechos Humanos de los Migrantes (CIDEHUM)

Defensa de Niñas y Niños Internacional (DNI)

Red Feminista contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres

Ecuador:

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.”

El Salvador:

Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico

Asociación Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas por la Paz

Asociación Salvadoreña de Derechos Humanos "Entre Amigos"

Coalición Salvadoreña para la Corte Penal Internacional

Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local

Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas Salvadoreñas por la Diversidad

Grupo de Monitoreo Independiente de El Salvador

Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (IDHUCA)

Oficina de Tutela Legal Dra. María Julia Hernández

Guatemala:

Asociación de Familiares Detenidos-Desaparecidos (FAMDEGUA)

Asociación El refugio de la Niñez

Centro Internacional para Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos (CIIDH)

Centro Para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH)

Colectivo de Investigaciones Sociales y Laborales (COISOLA)

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos

Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial (ECAP)

Fundación Myrna Mack

Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG)

Red de la No Violencia contra las Mujeres (REDNOVI)

Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM)

Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (UDEFEGUA)

Honduras:

Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD)

Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT)

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC)y Radio Progreso

Foro de Mujeres por la Vida

Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ)

Mexico:

Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos (ASILEGAL)

Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña  Tlachinollan, A. C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A.C. (CEDEHM)

Centro para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer, A.C.

Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad, A.C

Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, A. C (COSYDDHAC)

Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristobal de las Casas, A.C.

Nicaragua:

Asociación Nicaragüense de Transgéneras

Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)

Centro de Apoyo Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI)

Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN)

Federación Coordinadora Nicaragüense de ONG que trabajan con la Niñez y la Adolescencia (CODENI)

Grupo Cívico Ética y Transparencia

Iniciativa desde la Diversidad Sexual por los Derechos Humanos en Nicaragua (IDSDH)

Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua (MAM)

Movimiento Contra el Abuso Sexual (MCAS)

Panama:

Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de Panamá (CONAMUIP)

Centro de Asistencia Legal Popular (CEALP)

Movimiento 10 de Abril por la Defensa del Río Tabasará

Paraguay:

Agora Espacio Civil

Peru:

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)

Paz y Esperanza

Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX)

Venezuela:

El Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los sucesos ocurridos entre el 27 de febrero y los primeros días de marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC)

 

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Daniela Araya

+506 22807473

daraya@cejil.org