As part of International Women's Day thousands of women including some representing forty women’s rights groups marched today through the streets of Guatemala City. Aside from advocating greater gender equality and increased economic opportunities the demonstrators also called for an end to violence against women. “In Guatemala, violence and repression against women has worsened,” said a statement from the protet’s organizaing committee.
Numerous human rights and women’s rights groups have expressed their worries over Guatemalan “femicides.” "We are deeply concerned that these crimes are not ceasing,” said the head of Guatemala’s commission on "femicide" to AFP. Amnesty International urged the government to do more to combat violence against women such as “initiating effective investigations into killings, improving police training and ensuring prosecutions are effective".
Last year president Alvaro Colom pointed out advances made to protect women such as “tribunals specialized in femicides (and) offices for attention (to women's rights).” But this past Saturday alone eight women were slain including one lady who reportedly “had her hands and feet bound and had been shot several times in different parts of her body.”
Earlier today the national police revealed hat 11,832 cases of violence within the family occurred in 2010 while so far this year there have been over 3,000 cases. Other government figures have been just as disturbing:
According to official figures, 685 women were killed in Guatemala in 2010.Update: On Monday, PBS NewsHour examined the issue of violence against women in Guatemala. It is worth taking a look at this gut-wrenching report.
Guatemala has one of the highest murder rates in the world, but less than 4% of cases end in a successful conviction...
Guatemala's high rate of violent crime is widely seen as a legacy of the 1960-96 internal conflict between the state and left-wing guerrillas, in which more than 200,000 people were killed, most of them by the army.
Online Sources- CSMonitor.com, Prensa Libre, ADN.es, LAHT, BBC News