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  • Bolivian President Evo Morales

    Bolivian President Evo Morales | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 July 2019

In 2018, authorities counted a total of 128 femicides and two femicides for every 100,000 women, reported a 2018 report by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced Monday new measures meant to address gender violence and femicides in the country, planning to label them as crimes against humanity.

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After meeting with the women's defense cabinet, Morales told reporters that the new plan was adopted, expressing concern over the more than 70 femicides reported so far in 2019.

He said the issue was a "national priority" and urged Bolivians to help eradicate the murders of women based on their gender - often because their partners or ex-partners culturally consider them their "property" and believe they have a right to life and death on their partners.

One of the measures the president announced consists of declaring femicides as crimes against humanity. He suggested the implementation of an "international treaty" to address properly this "plague" across the world.

He also announced more budget allocated to guarantee protection to women, to promote a gender-equality culture in the country's schools, funded by a tax on fuel. 

The plan also opens new partnerships between police and prosecutors in order to address the high impunity rates related to these crimes.

"Together we can address this tragedy that causes a lot of harm to humanity," said Morales.

This year, Morales' government set up a special women’s defense cabinet to counter violence against women and children and empower women, composed of seven ministries; in addition to the Plurinational Service for Women and Despatriarcalization, called "Ana Maria Romero" named after famous late journalist, activist and human rights defender Ana Maria Romero de Campero.

Bolivia has implemented several laws to protect women, including the Comprehensive Law 348 to guarantee women a life free of violence, and Law 243 against Harassment and Political Violence against Women, but they have been proven difficult to put into practice.

Morales also announced a new package of measures in March, including a bill to modify criminal definitions of rape and homicide, promote reorganization of courts and allow feminist groups to accompany criminal proceedings.

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