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EU & UN Join Mexico to Eradicate Violence against Women & Girls

Antonio Molpeceres is the UN Resident Coordinator in Mexico and Klaus Rudischhauser is the EU Ambassador to Mexico.

Mexico, mother keeps a portrait of murdered daughter in a locket. 2014. Credit: UN Women/Ina Riaskov

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 2 2018 (IPS) - Violence against women and girls is one of the most serious, globally widespread, deep-rooted and normalized human rights violations. The statistics are shocking: at least one in three women worldwide has suffered physical or sexual violence, usually by a family member or an intimate partner.

The diverse types of violence levelled against women and girls are rooted in gender inequality. Violence against women and girls is regular and systematic, occurring in every context of their lives, both in private and out in the open. One such form of daily, systematic and public violence against women and girls is femicide.

Globally, 14 of the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide are in Latin America. Ninety-eight per cent of the femicides in Latin America are not prosecuted. According to the World Bank, this problem is not only destructive for the victims, but it also carries important social and economic costs.

Violence against women and girls in Latin America consumes 3.7% of countries GDPs, more than twice their education budgets. Several studies have shown that boys and girls that witness or experience violence as children are more likely to become victims or perpetrators as adults.

In 2016, more than 2,700 female deaths with “homicide presumption” were registered in Mexico. An average of 7.5 women murdered every day . According to the Mexican Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, from January to July 2018, there have been 484 femicides, not counting the ‟black figure″ (crimes that are not reported).

Tragically, this kind of violence is very common. Recent registered incidents in Mexico have placed femicides in the public agenda, creating and encouraging social movements calling for more and better prevention, investigation, prosecution, punishment and reparation actions against violence. This social and public context has also been useful to push forward the definition and criminalization of femicide and to develop relevant tools and guidelines to sensitively prosecute these crimes.

It is time to break the cycle. As mentioned in the General Assembly Resolution ‟Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development″, it is impossible to achieve the full realization of human potential if half of humanity continues to be denied its full human rights.

We are aware that a world free of violence against women and girls can only be reached through meaningful political and social commitments, supported by appropriate resources. Actions are required at multiple levels to effect change, including to: 1) close political and legislative gaps: 2) strengthen institutions; 3) promote equal gender attitudes; 4) provide high quality services to survivors and reparation for victims and their families; 5) produce and provide disaggregated data; and 6) empower women´s movements, leaving no one behind.

On 27 September 2018, the European Union and the United Nations launched the Spotlight Initiative that will be implemented in Mexico, Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. It is a multi-year partnership that will substantively contribute to eradicating femicide and other forms of violence against women and girls.

Focused on the six pillars noted above, the Initiative positions the elimination of all forms of violence at the core of the efforts to achieve gender equality and empower women, in line with the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development.

Violence against women and girls is a complex phenomenon, deeply rooted in unequal power relationships between women and men and in ingrained social standards, practices and behaviors that promote discrimination at home, in the workplace and in society in general. Action is imperative, not only to ensure respect for human rights, but also to transform the lives of women and girls to attain sustainable development.

The Spotlight Initiative in Mexico will seek to address the problem of femicide from a holistic perspective. Thus, adding to ongoing efforts in the country, the Initiative will underscore the strengthening of the prevention strategies that will accomplish the reduction of risk margins, modify the social patriarchal structures, strengthen equality between women and men, and decrease impunity, all from the life cycle perspective. Sustainable solutions require that we work on a multi-level approach and bring diverse actors on board.

In collaboration with the Mexican authorities and the different branches of the state, civil society, women´s organizations, women, girls, men, young people, private sector and the media, we will join forces to end this pandemic.

(1)Female Deaths with Presumption of Homicide (DFPH, for its acronym in Spanish) are obtained from the vital statistics published by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI, for its acronym in Spanish) and have been used as a proxy for feminicide. See UN Women, SEGOB, INMUJERES. Feminicide violence in Mexico: approaches and trends 1985-2016, December 2017, in:
(2)Because of the typification of feminicide as a crime in the states, the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System began to systematize information from the relevant justice authorities at state level. See

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