Femicide in Latin America – Possible strategies against impunity for gender-specific violence

On 7 March 2011 an expert roundtable was held in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll foundation to discuss the phenomenon of femicide in Latin America, Mexico in particular. ECCHR invited twenty participants to discuss means of raising European awareness of the problem and to analyze possible strategies for tackling the impunity often enjoyed by those who commit gender-specific violence.

Sexual and gender-specific violence is most widespread in places where human rights are generally disregarded. The murder of women for being women is the most extreme form of gender-based violence. If, like in Mexico, such crimes are commonplace, it is necessary to examine the systematic and structural discrimination against women and patriarchal role perceptions that are being tolerated and perpetuated by individuals, society and the state. Furthermore, one must find strategies to fight this impunity.

Gender-based violence is a form of patriarchal abuse that denies women and those affected a self-determined life and access to their rights, undermining their status as legal entities in the process. The air of impunity surrounding these crimes has, itself, become part of the violence.

It is ECCHR's aim as an institution to fight the worst human rights violations using legal means. The Gender and Human Rights program endeavors to uncover and combat gender-based injustices. ECCHR is trying – together with other actors – to raise awareness of the phenomenon, to end impunity, and to force governments to take responsibility for failures in their duty of care.

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