Delegation Traveling to Guatemala to Address Rampant Femicides
A delegation led by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA, a non-profit organization, will travel to Guatemala later this summer to address violence against women. Guatemala has faced a rash of murders of women over the past five years. Estimates of the number of women murdered between 2001 and 2006 range from 1,800 to 2,400. The delegation plans to meet with local women’s rights activists, as well as government officials.
In May, 115 members of Congress, led by California Democratic Representatives Hilda Solis, Barbara Lee, and Tom Lantos, sent a letter to the US State Department urging diplomatic measures to curb the killings, as well as technical assistance and support to solve the crimes. Of the murders that have been reported, a mere 14 have been solved, according to Women’s eNews.
While, according to Center for Legal Action on Human Rights, the murder rate for both men and women in Guatemala has increased since the nearly four-decade long internal conflict ended in 1996, the murder of women often includes torture, sexual violence, or mutilation that is gender-based and which often goes unreported or misreported.
Amnesty International reports that the investigations that do take place are often marred by a lack of communication between governmental agencies, incomplete work, and the improper collection of evidence. Speaking to Women’s eNews, Amnesty International’s Women’s Human Rights Program coordinator Alyson Kozma noted, “Violence against women is acceptable not just in pop culture, but also in how the police and government respond or fail to respond to these murders.”
Media Resources: Amnesty International Report 6/9/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 10/27/05; GHRC/USA press release 6/12/06; Women’s eNews 6/12/06; Barbara Lee Press Release 5/10/06
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .