U.N. recommends Mexico fight violence against women
MEXICO CITY – If Mexico wants to eradicate discrimination against women, it needs to follow up its promises with action, a United Nations report said Thursday.The report applauded Mexico’s 2006 passage of the General Act on Equality between Women and Men, but expressed concerns that additional steps have to be taken before it can be implemented effectively.The authors of the report, members of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, are worried the law lacks the necessary components to bring states and cities across the country on board, said Teresa Rodriguez, U.N. Regional Director of Development for Women.In particular, the committee is concerned that the National Commission on Human Rights, which is charged with overseeing enforcement, does not have “the necessary financial resources and specially trained personnel to achieve this goal.”The report listed 42 recommendations Mexico should follow to eliminate violence against women, including ensuring access to safe abortions as allowed under the law; providing more sex education; outlawing mandatory pregnancy tests at maquiladora, or assembly-for-export, factories; and finding a way to end the disappearances of women in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez.”While noting with appreciation the commitment and efforts of the state to address the cases of violence against women in Ciudad Juarez, the Committee … is especially concerned that these efforts have so far failed to prevent further crimes from being committed,” the report said.The Committee also requested that Mexico’s special federal prosecutor for crimes against women be given jurisdiction over numerous alleged incidents of sexual assault by police against protesters in San Salvador Atenco, 15 miles (25 kilometers) northeast of Mexico City.The Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission recently said police failed to comply with its recommendation to investigate officers who allegedly beat protesters and sexually abused women in the town last May.The alleged abuse took place during violent protests in which demonstrators kidnapped and beat six policemen after authorities tried to prevent street vendors from setting up stands in a nearby city. When police retook the town, 23 female detainees claimed they were sexually abused by officers and others said they had been clubbed.”Crimes against women are an attack on development,” said Paul Hoeffel, U.N. Director of the Center for Information in Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. “They impede development.”Hoeffel said the U.N. also has received complaints from protesters in the conflict-ridden southern state of Oaxaca accusing authorities of using sexual assault to intimidate female demonstrators. But he said the organization has not been able to investigate the claims because the Mexican government has not asked for its involvement.