In observance of International Day for the Abolition of Violence Against Women (November 25th), a conference "Ni una muerta mas: Balance y Perspectives" (No More Violence Against Women: State of Play and Perspectives) took place in Brussels on November 19th 2009. The conference was also attended by Anna von Gall, ECCHR's future program director for Gender and Human Rights. The aim of the conference was to provide an overview of strategies implemented in the past, and to develop a concrete plan for getting our agenda on the docket in the upcoming EU-Latin-America/Caribbean summit.
Unfortunately, not only the Mexican border town Ciudad Juárez, which is well known for its legacy of feminicide committed, the phenomenon takes place in various Central American countries on a daily basis. In the past years, relatives of victims and women's rights organizations have increasingly called attention to the dramatic dimension of these crimes and the subsequent impunity.
In 2007, The European Parliament passed a resolution on feminicide in Mexico and Central America, and on the role of the European Union in combating of these crimes. The parliament emphasized states' responsibility to prevent and prosecute e violence against women. The resolution requested that more initiatives be taken to end impunity by both the states involved and European Institutions.Two years after this resolution, the incidence rate of feminicide continues to grow, and the limited existing legal and political initiatives were revised. In some cases, the passing of the resolution seems to have led to an increase in the threat and incidence of oppression for women's rights organizations.
At the conference's first panel, representatives of Latin American organizations spoke about the situation in their respective countries. Despite minimal legal progress, they reported an overall increase in feminicide. In Mexico, for example, legal institutions have been created but oppression, but the complete lack of legal protection prevents women, their families and women's rights organizations from implementing this legal infrastructure. The participants of the conference urged the European Union to increase diplomatic pressure.
At the second panel, representatives of the European Commission, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, and the recently appointed Spanish president to the Council of the European Union, spoke about progress and backlash in the fight against impunity. In several workshop groups also discussed long-term political goals.
ECCHR will continue to seek new legal strategies for holding those who commit violence against women accountable. Our Gender and Human Rights Program, which was initiated in 2010, aims to explore gender issues and their relationship to international and national law: we develop strategies for the promotion and protection of human right, enforce these rights and punish their violation.