National: the Mexican government does not comply with the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

June 23, 2014


Representatives of the National Network of Women Human-rights Defenders in Mexico (RNDDHM), which is comprised of 83 non-governmental organizations, have met with Silvia Pimentel and Line Bareiro, experts of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to address the situation of female human-rights defenders and female journalists in Mexico. At the meeting, the RNDDHM reported that the Mexican state has failed to respect the recommendations of the CEDAW. Numerous testimonies and examples of this situation were provided.

Referring to femicide, it was reported to the CEDAW experts that despite the recommendation to operationalize the Gender Violence Alert (AVG) made in 2012, the mechanism has not been implemented yet. Similarly, the recommendation to regulate crimes considered to be femicide has similarly failed to be implemented.

Other issues were also reported, such as the existing backlog in the figures and actual information on disappearances and murders of women, the lack of access for women to health services and information on sexual and reproductive health, and the increased criminalization of women who abort or have positioned themselves in favor of the right to decide on abortion.

Atiziri Avila, coordinator of RNDDHM, warned that the failure of the Mexican government to protect women has caused this responsibility to fall on female human-rights defenders, who in in turn are exposed to a climate of hostility and aggression.

The increase in violence directed against female journalists and the impunity surrounding these attacks was also noted by RNDDHM representatives. Silvia Pimentel, from the CEDAW, said that Mexico is a country that has ratified the CEDAW Convention. Therefore, it must comply with the recommendations of the Committee, “since that implies the compliance with the Convention.” She added that there exists a “patriarchal resistance to consider women as subjects of rights. “

For more information (In Spanish):

Acusan a México ante Comité de la CEDAW (Cimac, 16 de junio de 2014)

Mecanismos y noormas son insuficientes ante violencia: Llaman a México a dejar discursos y cumplir con CEDAW (Argenpress, 16 de junio de 2014)

Incrementan las agresiones contra las defensoras de derechos humanos y mujeres periodistas (Ciudadanía Express, 16 de junio de 2014)

Incrementan agresiones contra defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas (Yancuic, 16 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Every other day a woman is killed in the state (June 12, 2014)

Oaxaca: the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists (June 10, 2014)

Guerrero: Harassment and attacks on individuals and organizations in favor of the decriminalization of abortion and the right to decide (June 12, 2014)


Guerrero: Harassment and attacks on individuals and organizations in favor of the decriminalization of abortion and the right to decide

June 12, 2014
Womens' Rights are also Human Rights

Women’s Rights are also Human Rights

Organizations and human rights organizations have denounced the harassment, insults, and aggressions suffered by feminist groups, activists, and government agencies that have positioned themselves in favor of the proposed initiative to decriminalize abortion in the state of Guerrero. This initiative was sent by Governor Angel Aguirre to the local Congress in May.

The director of the Guerrero Institute of Human Rights, Silvia Castillo, explained that women who defend their right to decide have been physically and verbally attacked by conservative groups. For example, at a recent forum, one female member of the Institute was beaten for expressing her support to the initiative.

Moreover, Rosario Herrera Ascencio, Secretary for the Women in Guerrero (Semujer), reported having been threatened by local members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN), who have also disqualified the Secretariat: “There is a struggle against the secretariat both by Congress members and people of Provida (…) They can not silence our voices with their threats; I will be very respectful of the decisions of the Congress, but I will defend the initiative that aims to ensure equality, life, and safety for all the women of the entity whom I represent. “

Finally, local media reported that workers at the service of PRI and PAN deputies have impeded interviews with activists and experts who attended the forums in the framework of the Congress debates, so as to prevent the spreading of information about the importance of decriminalizing abortion.

For more information (in Spanish)

Amenazan a promotores de la despenalización del aborto en Guerrero (Proceso, 4 de junio de 2014)

Hostigan PRI y PAN a quienes apoyan despenalización de aborto (CIMAC Noticias, 4 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Guerrero: State government presents initiative to legalize abortion (May 18, 2014)

Guerrero: State government presents initiative to legalize abortion

May 18, 2014


Ángel Aguirre, governor of the state of Guerrero, has presented a legal initiative to present to the state congress that would legalize abortion in Guerrero.

The measure has been supported by a number of civil and human-rights organizations which favor the idea that women have the power of decision over their bodies and reproduction, as is outlined in different international agreements on sexual and reproductive rights, as well as over the right to safely abort.

“That the interruption of a pregnancy be decriminalized does not mean that pregnant women must abort.  The idea is that they enjoy guarantees and conditions so that they can interrupt pregnancy if they desire to do so,” noted María Luisa Garfias, from the Guerrero Institute for Human Rights (IGDHAC).

According to data provided by the state government of Guerrero, between 2000 and 2008, 141 women died and 100,000 were hospitalized due to unhealthy or clandestine abortion attempts.  In 2010, 5000 were hospitalized in the state over badly performed abortions, notes the IGDHAC.  For the members of the organizations Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Mexico (Ddeser) and Zihuame Xotlametzin, “What is least desired is that women engage in abortion, but if they do it, they should be able do so in adequate conditions.”

Human-rights and women’s organizations have accused the Catholic Church of having launched a disinformation campaign on the question that has produced conflict among citizens of Guerrero.

Libni Dircio, from Zihuame Xotlametzin, exhorted local deputies charged with deciding on the bill to choose from a standpoint of public good rather than religion, thus affirming secularism, human rights, and the sexual and reproductive rights of women: “They are public representatives and for this reason cannot act from a religious basis.  Religion can be practiced at home.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on health emphasizes that penal arrangements which punish and restrict the voluntary interruption of pregnancies are an unacceptable barrier which impedes women from being able to exercise their right to health and for this reason should be eliminated.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ángel Aguirre busca despenalizar el aborto en Guerrero (Animal político, 06 de mayo de 2014)

Despenalización del aborto, nuevo debate en Guerrero (El Universal, 07 de mayo de 2014)

Confía ONG que diputados del PRD avalen despenalización del aborto (La Jornada, 07 de mayo de 2014)

Guerrero inicia un debate “histórico” sobre la legalización del aborto(CNN México, 09 de mayo de 2014)

Chocan posturas sobre el aborto en Guerrero (El Universal, 13 de mayo de 2014)

La Iglesia presiona a ciudadanos para firmar contra la despenalización: ONG (La Jornada, 13 de mayo de 2014)

National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day

March 16, 2014

Marcha-peregrinación en Chenalhó para el Día Internacional de la Mujer (@SIPAZ)

Pilgrimage-march in Chenalhó for International Women’s Day (@SIPAZ)

Multiple activities were organized in Mexico on 8 March for International Women’s Day.  More than a celebration, these actions became platforms for denunciation: as Amnesty International has stressed, “on International Women’s Day, there is little to celebrate and many challenges to face.”  AI indicated that “in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, women confront a reality of discrimination and injustice every day, including the threat of death for merely belonging to the feminine sex.”  AI added that “the Mexican government should act now to arrest the epidemic of violence that women must face.”

In Chiapas, hundreds of women marched in the Teopisca and San Cristóbal de las Casas municipalities to demand a cessation of violence and discrimination against them.  The organizations and individual members of the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas asked “How many more women will die for the State to consider there to be a wave of violence against the women of Chiapas? […] Of the 51 deaths that the State Attorney General’s Office has registered as violent, it recognized only 47 as femicides and clarified that 37 of them had led to penal action, though only 2 cases have ended in condemnatory sentences [implying incarceration].  The efficacy presumed in Chiapas is shameful, for it recognizes that in reality there has been no resolution of the more than 90% of cases of femicidal violence.”  In light of the official rejection of a request for a gender violence alert, as presented on 25 November 2013, these women declared a “POPULAR PERMANENT ALERT.”

In Chenalhó, the Las Abejas Civil Society organized a pilgrimage-march.  In a communique, women from this organization emphasized that “More than 16 years since Acteal, we have not forgotten that our female comrades were murdered by the bad government.  This massacre brought us great sadness, fear, and illness; our pain has been great, but greater still are our memory and hopes.  Our massacred female comrades died organized; they died saying the truth; they died rejecting the violence sowed by the bad government in our community of Ch’enalvo´.  Now we will continue this brave and dignified example of our massacred sisters.”

In Oaxaca, Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE and social organizations held a march; the declaration of a gender alert for the state is another demand made by civil society in the state.  In what has passed of the administration of Gabino Cué Monteagudo, there have been seen a total of at least 268 femicides and 734 cases of gender violence in Oaxaca.

In Guerrero, Rosario Herrera Ascencio, head of the Ministry for Women (SEMUJER) in the state, stressed the need to legalize the decriminalization of abortion because many women die annually performing this in a clandestine manner.  With the slogan “without memory there is no justice; they will die when we give up struggle; let us honor them,” the social organizations of Atoyac commemorated International Women’s Day, reporting that the state occupies the eighth most violent state in terms of gender in the country.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado: “!En el Día Internacional de la Mujer hay poco que celebrar y muchos retos por enfrentar(Amnistía Internacional , 8 de marzo de 2014)

Frenar epidemia de violencia contra las mujeres, exige Amnistía Internacional(La Jornada, 8 de marzo de 2014)

Nada que festejar, dicen mujeres en su día; feminicidios, violencia, partos mal atendidos(La Jornada, 9 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de la Campaña contra los feminicidios: “Nos declaramos en alerta popular de género (8 de marzo de 2014)

Comunicado de las mujeres de Las Abejas en el Día Internacional de la Mujer (8 de marzo de 2014)

Reclaman ONG que Aguirre no cumpla su promesa de lograr la igualdad de género (La Jornada de Guerrero, 8 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Request of activation of Gender Alert amidst increase in number of femicides (2 March 2014)

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero: Activities to observe International Day of Non-Violence toward Women (8 December 2013)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Conmemoration of femicides during Day of the Dead (13 November 2013)

Chiapas: Women declare alert over gender violence (20 July 2013)

Oaxaca: March of releatives of victims of feminicide and members of human rights organizations for women (22 April 2013)

Oaxaca: More feminicides under Gabino Cué than in the final years of Ulises Ruiz (24 January 2013)

Day for the decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean

October 7, 2011

In 1990, during the Fifth Feminist Meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean held in Argentina, 28 September was chosen as Day for the decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean, toward the end of bringing about actions so that women of the region have access to legal and safe abortions.  In these terms, on this 28 September, several organizations such as Global March of Women, the Mercedes Olivera Feminist Collective, and the Global Fund for Women released a press-release.  “30 years after the entrance into law in Mexico of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), CEDAW has requested that the Mexican State revise the legislation to penalize abortion, as well as that of the states of the Republic, so that when it occurs rapid and easy access to abortion be guaranteed; moreover, that actions be undertaken to reduce the mortality provoked by illegal abortion.”

The bulletin continues: “In a contradictory manner, Article 77 of the Constitution of Chiapas refers to ‘implementation of public policies with the goal of achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, included within which is objective 3 which obliges the State to promote equality among genders as well as objective 5 which demands that maternal health be improved, such that it is indispensable to promulgate the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy so as to respect the autonomy of women regarding the right to decide about their bodies, their sexuality, and reproductive lives.”  The communiqué ends by demanding that “Chiapas standardize the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy (ILE), which has existed since 2007 in Mexico City.  [In so doing] the state government would send a positive sign for the observance of international conventions and agreements that favor women, including the Millennium Development Goals, which form part of the Political Constitution of the Chiapas state.”

For moer information (in Spanish):

Comunicado 28 de septiembre (28 September)