Friday, July 3, 2015

Mexican government admitted the country's brutal treatment of women is an entrenched cultural pattern-Reuters, 1/27/2005

Jan. 2005 article
1/27/2005, "UN panel sees grave women's rights abuse in Mexico," Reuters, Irwin Arieff, United Nations

"A U.N. panel accused Mexico on Thursday of "grave and systematic" rights violations for failing to solve the killings of hundreds of women in the past decade near the Mexico-U.S. border. 

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women said it was "greatly concerned at the fact that these serious and systematic violations of women's rights have continued for over 10 years." 

The panel, in a report, "notes with consternation that it has not yet been possible to eradicate them, to punish the guilty and to provide the families of the victims with the necessary assistance." The murder spree in Ciudad Juarez, an industrial sprawl bordering Texas where many U.S. firms seeking to cut labor costs have set up "maquiladoras," or assembly plants, has generated international outrage but few convictions. 

Some 320 women were the victims of unsolved murders in Ciudad Juarez between January 1993 and July 2003

Suggested motives have included drug trafficking, trafficking in organs, trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, domestic violence, sexual violence and the production of violent videotapes. Under pressure after highly publicized visits to the city by U.N. investigators and U.S. lawmakers, President Vicente Fox has appointed a special commissioner to oversee efforts to stop the killings and improve investigations. 

The Mexican government, in a formal response, acknowledged the murders "constitute a breach of women's human rights" but said their origin "lies in entrenched cultural patterns of discrimination." The problem was made worse by a lack of staff and money, but that was being addressed and the government "reiterates its commitment to continue these efforts," it said. 


But (UN) committee member Maria Regina Tavares da Silva, who visited Mexico as part of the panel's inquiry, said progress was slow and it was hard to say whether the situation was improving or in fact spreading to other parts of Mexico.

 "To a certain extent it is being addressed and it will take some time...due to a cultural environment that does not change overnight," she told a news conference. 

The committee issued the report 28 months after two private rights groups, Casa Amiga in Ciudad Juarez and New York-based Equality Now, filed a complaint under a 2002 international convention that Mexico had just ratified. 

Mexican authorities have said it was difficult to tie together the many killings, disappearances and other violence against women in Mexico's Chihuahua state. Some rights groups fear some of the perpetrators might be Americans who come to the area from north of the border. Mexican authorities have been working with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on the problem since 1995. 

The report said the victims were by and large "young women of humble origins -- maquila workers, students or employees of commercial companies -- who are abducted and kidnapped and then either raped and murdered or made to 'disappear.'" 

Even in the most recent cases, with authorities more aware of the seriousness of the crimes, "the state of the investigations is not entirely clear, and there are questions about the effectiveness of the legal process."


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