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  • Discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and economic status often goes unpunished.

    Discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and economic status often goes unpunished. | Photo: notimex

Published 8 March 2020

Violence against indigenous women in Mexico increases everyday, while discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and economic status has gone often unpunished.

In recent years, the violence against women in Mexico has reached alarming figures, and the wave of femicides has soared to a record 1,010 victims in 2019.

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Statistics reflect the potential danger of being a woman in Mexico, something that gets worse when women belong to an Indigenous community.  

Violence against Indigenous women has increased on a daily basis, while discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and economic status has gone often unpunished.

Violence Silenced

A study on Gender Violence against Women in Indigenous Regions of Mexico, conducted by the Center for Research in Social Anthropology and the National Council of Science and Technology, reports that this crime occurs in a system of multiple structures of oppression where they have enhanced the disadvantages, exclusions and inequalities of Indigenous women, until they become the most violent.

In April 2016, Karina, a 13-year-old girl whose mother is an Indigenous woman, was left abandoned on the Mexico-Puebla highway. Her case to date has not registered progress and there is no single detainee.

In February 2020, the case of Paty, another 12-year-old indigenous girl who had been raped and killed in a place between San Martín and the Nachij community, sparked outrage in many communities, especially by not having media coverage.

According to the Mountain Human Rights Center (CDHM) Tlachinollan, in the entire Mountain region, composed of 19 municipalities, there is only one specialized public ministry responsible for addressing cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

“Many of the victims who leave from their communities face a long journey to reach the city of Tlapa and the lack of health care professionals is widespread, since there are no available doctors, psychologists or expert interpreters that can be accessed immediately, so the vast majority of women prefer not to report and if they do, they assume a high risk that cases will go unpunished due to the lack of evidence., ”says the Human Rights organization.

Mexican activist Frida Guerrera said that despite the existence of local media and social networks, the femicide of Indigenous women has increased in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Veracruz, the State of Mexico and Puebla.

The situation has led to the creation of various mechanisms and organizations to protect the rights of Indigenous women. Among them, the National Coordinator of Indigenous Women (CONAMI) has contributed throughout Mexico to have an autonomous space formed by and for women from Indigenous communities.

This and other organizations advocate comprehensive public policies based on international human rights instruments on women and Indigenous peoples.

Likewise, participation in decision-making is defended so that Indigenous women are able to decide on their future.

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