According to the UN, 98% of all femicides and acts of violence against women go unpunished

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Source: Noticias Aliadas | The Dawn News | December 1, 2016.

Protest against violence towards women in Mexico City. Photo: AFP
Protest against violence towards women in Mexico City. Photo: AFP

On average, 12 women are victims of femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean every day. This statistic was reported by Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the opening of the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, held from October 25 to 28 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

“We need our countries to be free from gender-based violence, femicides, and women dying at the hands of their partners”, said the Minister of Social Development of Uruguay, Marina Arismendi, during the event.

Bárcena made a call to “finally end gender violence in our countries”. “Reality hits us when we read the scandalous figures of sexist violence in Latin America and the Caribbean where, on average, 12 women die every day merely because of their gender,” she said.

In 2014, according to the ECLAC’s Observatory for Gender Equality in Latin America and the Caribbean (OIG), 2,089 women were victims of femicide in the region. Honduras tops the list with 531 deaths.

Femicide is defined by the Organization of American States (OAS) as “the violent death of women based on gender, whether it occurs within the family, a domestic partnership or any other interpersonal relationship; in the community, by any person, or when it  is perpetrated or tolerated by the State and its agents, by action or omission”.

Although there are already 15 countries in the region that have laws that punish femicide, it is still very difficult to know the magnitude of the problem, because “in most countries in the region it is not possible to have quality data to discriminate the cases in which the aggressor ended the life of the woman on the basis of gender, that is to say, the femicides”, according to the study “Mexico, Approaches and Trends 1985-2014” published in April 2016 by UN Women, the Secretariat of Interior and the National Institute of Women of Mexico.

According to UN Women, 14.4% of the 324 million women of Latin America and the Caribbean have been victims of violence by their partners at least once in their lives. They also report that out of the 25 countries in the world with the greatest number of femicides and others forms of violence against women, 14 are in Latin America.

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