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MEXICO
Femicides are a pandemic
Latinamerica Press
4/4/2014
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State action is nearly nonexistent in front of the increase in murders of women.

Only between 2011 and 2012 more than 4,000 women have died or disappeared in Mexico, states the nongovernmental organization National Citizen Observatory against Femicides. The National Statistics Institute has registered 2,764 deaths of women between 2007 and 2012.

Most of the crimes against women have occurred in the State of Chihuahua, on the northern border. The College of the Northern Borner estimates that between 1993 and 2013 1,441 women have been assassinated in Ciudad Juárez alone, while a report by the North Zone Special Prosecutor for Investigation and Persecution of Crime ensures that between 2008 and 2013, 1,818 women disappeared in Chihuahua.

Since the first femicide occurred in Ciudad Juárez in 1993, there have been many hypotheses regarding the nature of the crimes, including serial murders, organized crime, the porn industry and even for satanic rituals and organ extraction. A former governor even declared that the murders were “crimes of passion.”

The authorities also created a profile of the victims:  dark-skinned, long-haired and maquiladora workers. In 2001 the General Prosecutor of Mexico opened a line of investigation but it only led to arbitrary detentions, false accusations, confessions under torture and violation of the due process of the alleged perpetrators. New evidence of disappearances is related to trafficking for sexual exploitation.

For Ana Güezmez, UN Women representative in Mexico, “violence against women [in Mexico] is not an epidemic, it is a pandemic.”

The Ciudad Juárez cases
According to the study “Spatial and temporal behavior of three paradigmatic cases of violence at Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico:  femicide, homicide and the forced disappearance of girls and women (1993-2013),” by the College of the Northern Border, the assassinations and forced disappearances of women increased since 2008 with the militarization of the war against narcotrafficking, ordered two years prior by former President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012). However, the femicide cases were not classified as gender crime but as “collateral damage” of the conflict between the drug cartels and the military forces.

 “In Ciudad Juárez women disappear and nothing more is known of them unless their captors choose to show up their lifeless bodies with clear evidence of having been brutally tortured and murdered, tumultuously raped and with ripped or burnt body parts,” says the organization Women of Juárez. “These crimes go unpunished, no one looks for the disappeared women and the murders and disappearances continue without anyone being responsible.”

In November 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights handed down a ruling forcing Mexico to investigate all femicide cases in Ciudad Juárez since 1993.

“The Court considers that the State is obliged to combat said situation of impunity by all available means, because it encourages the chronic repetition of human rights violations. The absence of a complete and effective investigation into the facts constitutes a source of additional suffering and anguish for the victims, who have the right to know the truth about what happened,” says the ruling. “This right to the truth requires the determination of the most complete historical truth possible, which includes determination of the collective patterns of action, and of all those who, in different ways, took part in said violations.”

The Court’s ruling refers to the 2001 murders of Claudia Ivette González, Esmeralda Herrera and Laura Berenice Campos, who were part of a group of young women found in the so called Cotton Field. In addition to investigating these crimes, the ruling requires the government to create a state and national data base with information on all the cases as well as to issue special protocols to investigate femicides.

Though the Mexican State has partially complied with the ruling, to date there have been no convictions for this case. —
Latinamerica Press.


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