Monday, March 5, 2012

Report: Latin America and Caribbean Tops Femicide List

Pink Crosses
Latin America and the Caribbean is the world’s most dangerous region for femicides according to data gathered by the Small Arms Survey (SAS).

The SAS report found that a whopping fourteen of the twenty-five countries with the highest femicide rates come from Latin America and the Caribbean. El Salvador, with twelve femicides per 100,000 people, is the worst of the worst and is followed by Jamaica (10.9 per 100,000) and Guatemala (9.7 per 100,000). Honduras, Colombia and Bolivia where also among the top ten on the SAS list with at least seven femicides per 100,000 individuals.

The SAS report concluded that the countries with the highest rates of femicides, or homicides where the victims is girl or woman, also generally have high rates of “lethal violence”. Therefore, in countries with very high femicide rates women are reportedly more likely to be “attacked in the public sphere, including by gangs and other criminal groups.” As a result, “femicides often take place in a general climate of indifference and impunity.”

The study also found that the femicide rates could vary within countries such as Mexico where the national rate was 2.5 per 100,000 in a four-year span while the rate was an astronomical 19.1 per 100,000 in Ciudad Juarez in 2009. In addition, countries like Brazil and Venezuela interestingly have high femicide rates though “men are up to ten times more likely to become victims of homicide.”

Femicides and violence against women made headlines in several nations in the Americas over the past few days:
  • Argentina
The trial of Eduardo Vásquez, a former musician accused of killing his wife by setting her on fire, continued with prosecution witnesses claiming that the defendant was a “horrible person and a monster.”
  • Chile
According to a local study the number of femicides in the first two months of this year grew by 60% compared to the same period in 2011.
  • Guatemala
Citing the need to ensure equal rights for women, the country’s Constitutional Court upheld a legal challenge against an anti-femicide law that was approved last year.
  • Mexico
Officials in the state of Mexico have come under fire after a bus driver accused of murdering at least eight women escaped from custody and was on the lam for six days before being recaptured.
  • Puerto Rico
The commonwealth’s special prosecutor for women gave her approval to a measure that would legally recognize the crime of femicide.

Image Source – Flickr via Miami Workers Center (Pink crosses that serve as memorials to women murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico). (CC BY 2.0)

Online Sources - Small Arms Survey, La Nacion (Argentina and Chile), LAHT, Prensa Libre, El Nuevo Dia

No comments: