The Argentine Chamber of Deputies approved the Micaela Law to eradicate gender-based violence Tuesday with 171 votes in favor and only one against. The Senate will debate the bill Wednesday.
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The bill, named after Micaela Garcia, a femicide victim, calls for a mandatory gender training for all state officials and workers. This training is much needed because of the insensitivity of public servants while dealing with cases of gender-based violence.
Legislator Analia Rach of the Front for Victory Party and vice president of the Women, Family, Children and Adolescents Commission explained that “the fundamental thing of the project is that the training is obligatory for all the officials of all the levels of the three branches. And to ensure compliance, sanctions are established for those who refuse without a valid justification...”
Micaela Garcia was murdered in 2017 in Argentina. In April, her family reported her missing. Her body was found after a week on the outskirts of the town of Gualeguay, around 230 kilometers north of the capital, Buenos Aires.
The 21-year-old was an active participant in the #niunamenos (not one less) movement which started in 2016 after the femicide of 16-year-old Lucia Perez, whose case was handled by three male judges who ruled to absolve the three men accused in Lucia's murder.
The key points of Micaela Law are:
1. Everyone in public service must go through training on “gender and violence against women.”
2. The National Institute of Women (INAM) will enforce the law. It will also be responsible for directly training the high officials.
3. The training will be conducted in collaboration with their own gender offices if they have one. New materials and programs will be produced for training.
4. The INAM will control the quality of the said materials and the training must be imparted within a year of the law coming into force.
5. INAM will also publish information regarding the degree of compliance of each state agency and do follow-up reports on its impact.
6. If any public employee refuses to attend the training “without just cause”, they would be subjected to a disciplinary sanction.
During the session in the Chamber of Deputies, deputy Alejandra Martinez quoted a report published by La Casa del Encuentro (The Meeting House), an Argentine civil society organization, which revealed that one femicide is committed in the country every 32 hours.