Social Peace and Violence Against Women

Mexico City, Mexico, 11 September 2004

Declaration

Violence against women, in its various forms and degrees, is a reality as universal as it is ancient. There is no corner of the world which is exempt. In every country, in every culture, violence against women is part of both traditional cultures and everyday reality. It is one of the clearest manifestations of women's oppression and inequality, of the way in which women are considered as human beings not enjoying full rights, half-human, second-category human beings.

The health and physical and mental integrity of every person depend on the right to a life of dignity and free from violence, on the right to security and social peace and on the promotion of equal opportunities. Measures against discrimination should be considered fundamental legal rights to be safeguarded under various laws.

Although some efforts have been made to fight violence against women, these have proved to be insufficient, since this scourge is still being dismissed as a private matter and not a serious crime which bears witness to the discrimination and exclusion on grounds of gender and age to which women are subject.

Officially recorded data and statistics still fail to reflect the magnitude of this problem, even though the facts show that violence against women affects at least one woman in three, and that for every crime reported there are at least another six which are not made public.

Actions of women's organisations both at national and international level have played a fundamental role in raising and debating these issues and placing them on the agenda of governments.

It is recognised today that violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights and is one of the factors which make the family, the home, which is supposed to be the safest of places, a breeding ground for crime.

Violence against women in its various forms, including femicide, which is the most aggressive and grievous form of violence against women, is an expression of a society in which discrimination against women and unequal power relations derived from a patriarchal system are still a reality.

Violence against women has a negative impact on and impedes the construction of social peace. Action is required from governments and the international community to eradicate it.

Therefore Socialist International Women:

  • Calls on all governments to comply with all the commitments deriving from Conventions, Treaties and Conferences on the Human Rights of women and children, and to ensure that their actions are reflected in equality plans, public policy, legislation and measures in favour of equality and parity between the sexes;
  • Calls on governments at local, national and regional level to promote comprehensive legislative reforms in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to attend to, prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women and girls;
  • Stresses that states must provide for easy access to legal justice and for specialised services in government agencies and courts of law which are suited to the needs and the cultural diversity of Mexico and other countries, as well as information on international legal jurisdictions;
  • Urges the government of Mexico to develop the policies and actions established in the Programme for Action on Violence Against Women, in order to prevent illegal and criminal behaviour in society and to promote the establishment of adequate support bodies at state, municipal and community level and
  • Encourages journalists and the media in general to work in every possible way to promote the transmission of messages free of gender stereotyping and to develop harmonious and egalitarian relationships between women and men, with respect for human rights.

Furthermore Socialist International Women, deeply concerned and shocked by the femicides in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and elsewhere in Mexico, as well as other such murders committed in other parts of this continent, strongly requests expeditious justice, reparation for harm and the severe punishment of perpetrators and those who have passively colluded with them and urges the Mexican government to give an account of the work of the Special Prosecutor for the investigation of the femicides and of the Special Commission for Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua.

Finally Socialist International Women wishes to state that its stance in relation to the government of Mexico and of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean participating in this meeting, will be one of ongoing condemnation and struggle against actions of discrimination and social exclusion at whatever level of government, in different authorities and different areas of society.

 

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