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  • According to U.N. Women, 14 of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide are in Latin America.

    According to U.N. Women, 14 of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide are in Latin America. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 May 2016
Opinion

Paraguay remains one of the few Latin American countries that doesn't recognize femicide as a specific crime with heavier sentences in its criminal code.

The lower house is debating a bill Tuesday to better protect women in a bid to address the recent surge of femicides, which is the deliberate killing of women – because they are women.

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The lawmakers proposed to create a “support network” with women activists, who would be working with the Congress, the Ministry of Women, as well as organizations like U.N. Women and Amnesty International, according to a lower house's communique. There have been four reported femicides just in the last week.

The network is meant to help implement the Integral Protection Bill for women, expected to be fully approved shortly.

Minister of Women Ana Maria Baiardi insisted that the number of complaints over sexist violence has increased, even if only an estimated 30 percent of women actually complain over physical violence. This percentage drops down to 10 percent when it comes to psychological violence.

Lawmaker Rocio Casco, head of the legislative commission of gender equality, recalled that femicides are not just the result of isolated individuals, but that it is also part of a societal issue.

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According to a 2014 report by Paraguay's Human Rights Commission, a woman was killed by her partner or ex-partner every 10 days. A report by the Supreme Court registered almost 100 femicides in 2015, while Paraguay remains one of the few Latin American countries that does not formally monitor gender violence, have an official record, nor recognize femicide as a specific crime with heavier sentences in its criminal code.

In Latin America, the United Nations recorded a general surge of femicides in recent years, with only 2 percent of the cases ending with a prison sentence.

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