Mexico: violence against women and activists continues

Mexico has the highest rate of violent deaths for women among countries not at war, the regional director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Ana G├╝ezmes, said in Mexico City on Nov. 23, citing a study of 135 countries by the Queen Sofia Center in Spain. A Mexican organization, the Origin Foundation, announced on the same day that between the ages of 15 and 44 Mexican women are in greater danger of rape or abuse at home than of cancer or accidents. “Every day six women die violently: four by homicide and two by suicide,” the group said, “and 30-50% of abuse victims are under 15 years of age; 20% are under 10.” (La Jornada, Mexico, Nov. 24)

On Nov. 24 Javier Hern├índez Valencia, Mexican representative of the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), said the number of attacks on human rights defenders in Mexico had increased since last year. In 2009 the office reported 128 attacks, while for the one-year period from October 2009 through September 2010 the number of attacks has risen to 165. According to Hern├índez Valencia’s statistics, 51% of the attacks are by unidentified aggressors; 22% by private individuals; 14% by people in the justice system; 8% by municipal authorities; and 5% by the military. Chihuahua, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero were the states with the highest number of complaints. (LJ, Nov. 25)

On Nov. 30 Disability Rights International (DRI) and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) released a report charging that thousands of Mexican children and adults with mental or physical disabilities are locked away in treatment centers where they experience inhuman conditions and are subjected to dangerous medical practices, including lobotomies and incorrect drug prescriptions. After a similar report 10 years ago, the Mexican government promised to improve the situation in six months; it also promoted an international convention on rights of people with disabilities, which was ratified in 2006. But according to the new report, Abandoned & Disappeared: Mexico’s Segregation and Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities, nothing has changed. (LJ, Dec. 1)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 5.

See our last post on Mexico.