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News > Latin America

Ecuador Assembly Debates Law to Criminalize Femicides

  • The National Assembly begins discussions of the law against femicides in Ecuador.

    The National Assembly begins discussions of the law against femicides in Ecuador. | Photo: Andes

Published 24 August 2017

The government of Ecuador seeks to put an end to the high number of femicide cases in the country with a new law.

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno presented a bill to prevent and eradicate violence against women, in addition to reducing the rising number of femicides in the country.

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The bill is expected to incorporate a system to help victims of violence and their families and will create a committee in which several public institutions will participate to help women in danger.

"We want to end violence in streets, jobs, transportation, but above all in the minds of people," Moreno said during a session at the National Assembly in the capital city of Quito. "It is our duty to react firmly to violence against women," the president said.

The representative of the Women's Coalition said it wanted to change the criminal description of femicide, as well as other amendments that would be part of the Criminal Procedure Code if it's voted into law.

Justice Minister Rosana Alvarado explained that murder is penalized with 22 to 26 years in prison, but so far there is no system to help relatives and victims, which is why such system will be included in the new law.

"Gender violence has been normalized and has become an everyday thing," Alvarado said.

In Ecuador every 50 hours a woman is killed and in the past 214 days, a total of 103 women have died due to this type of crime, according to data from the anti-femicide group Critical Geography in Ecuador.

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The report found that the most populated provinces in Ecuador had the highest number of femicides: Guayas (21) and Pichincha (20), Manabi (12), Azuay (8) and Los Rios (7).

In March 2015, femicide was recognized in the Penal Code of Ecuador, meaning that crimes against women are not considered as crimes of passion but crimes of gender discrimination, and viewed as an aggravating circumstance.

In recent years, 16 Latin American countries enacted legislation aimed at curbing the rate of femicide and bringing perpetrators to justice. Despite these advances, femicide still remains a huge threat to women in Latin America.

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