- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Human Rights Watch
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006 at 8:39 AM
In every country in Latin America and the Caribbean, women suffer acute discrimination. Often, the discrimination women face is related to social prejudices regarding appropriate patterns of conduct for men and women.
In every country in Latin America and the Caribbean, women suffer acute discrimination. Often, the discrimination women face is related to social prejudices regarding appropriate patterns of conduct for men and women. This entrenched sex inequality provides the backdrop for the pervasive and widespread human rights violations women face in the region, with little chance of justice. The most pernicious types of women's human rights abuses in the Americas occur in the areas of women's reproductive and sexual health and rights, discrimination and violence against women in the workplace, and violence against women in the home. After decades of dictatorships in some countries, democracy has not meant an end to impunity for violations of women rights. In fact, despite the formal acceptance of international human rights instruments that explicitly define women's rights as human rights, many people challenge this proposition.
This challenge to women's rights is particularly prevalent in the area of sexual rights and reproductive health. Women struggle daily to gain even minimal autonomy over their intimate lives. Women may be subjected to rape, including by their husbands, while many more are denied access to contraceptives and reproductive health services, and refused the possibility to decide to terminate unwanted pregnancies with safe and legal abortions. Across the region, millions of abortions are performed every year, most of them under unsafe, clandestine conditions, and thousands of women die as a result. For example, in Argentina, women face multiple obstacles to obtaining contraceptives and risk their lives through unsafe abortions due to legal restrictions and a failure to implement even their minimal rights under existing law. As an urgent human rights matter, governments in the region must ensure women's access to safe abortions where abortion is already decriminalized, repeal laws that criminalize abortion, work toward explicit legalization of abortion, and ensure women's voluntary access to safe contraceptive methods of their choice.
Women's right to the highest attainable standard of health is also compromised by the manner in which some countries address the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region. Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the second highest HIV prevalence rate after sub-Saharan Africa. Women increasingly constitute the majority of those newly infected. Even so, governments have failed to incorporate respect for women's human rights into their central responses to the epidemic. In the Dominican Republic, for example, women are subjected to illegal HIV testing without informed consent when they seek employment or health care, and those who test positive are routinely fired from their jobs and sometimes denied public healthcare. In addition, public health professionals often reveal confidential HIV test results to women's families without the tested individuals' knowledge or consent, exposing them to a heightened risk of violence and stigma. Other countries in the region, such as Peru, require as a matter of law that all pregnant women test for HIV without ensuring women's confidentiality or consent, and without linking HIV tests and counseling to the pervasive problem of domestic violence.
Women's inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean is reflected in the discrimination they face in the workplace. Since the 1960s, the number of economically active women in the region has more than tripled. Though more than half of these economically active women have entered the informal sector, as domestic workers, street vendors, or other informal employment, women now also occupy positions in the formal workforce in larger numbers, in particular in export-generating industries. With the entry into the formal workforce, abuse suffered by women in the workplace is surfacing as a central obstacle to women achieving economic independence. Sexual harassment, pregnancy-based discrimination, and gender-based violence in the workplace are common and constant threats to working women's lives and livelihoods. Migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse, including trafficking and forced labor. In countries like Mexico, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, the laws fail to adequately protect women workers' rights and governments are turning a blind eye to the abuses perpetrated by private-sector employers. Trading partners with Latin America are also ignoring the widespread abuses. To remedy these violations, governments must act immediately to ensure that labor and other laws adequately protect women's rights, and international trade agreements should specifically prohibit discrimination based on sex.
Despite recent legal reforms, domestic and sexual violence are still rampant in all countries in the region, affecting an estimated 40 percent of women. In most countries, legislation classifies domestic violence as a misdemeanor rather than as a serious crime (felony), and does not explicitly protect women from marital rape and stalking. Discriminatory attitudes of law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges, who often consider domestic violence a "private" matter beyond the reach of the law, reinforce the batterer's attempts to demean and control his victim. Few governments offer battered women a real alternative to staying in an abusive relationship, as shelters either are few or do not allow women to bring their children. Some countries issue restraining orders against abusive partners, but few effectively enforce them, leaving women with little protection against their aggressors after they file a complaint with the police. Journalists and women's groups in several countries have gathered information to suggest that up to 80 percent of female murder victims are killed by their intimate partners or ex-partners. For example, in Peru and Brazil, women have faced and in many cases continue to face multiple barriers in overcoming pervasive impunity with regard to domestic violence, including de facto obligatory conciliation sessions between women and their abusers, and lack of training of police officers, doctors, judges, and prosecutors. International human rights law defines violence against women as one of the most basic and reprehensible forms of sex-based discrimination and governments must do much more to eradicate it.
Despite continued entrenched sex inequality and women's human rights violations, governments in the region have for the most part formally embraced the concept of international women's rights through the ratification of international human rights instruments directed at eliminating and punishing women's rights abuses. This was achieved mostly as the result of pressure from women's groups and organizations. Latin America is the home to prominent women's organizations, advocates and intellectuals with international reputation. Women are active and prominent members of many social movements in the region, including the Movimento Sem Terra (landless peasants' movement) in Brazil and the Piqueteros (unemployed movement) in Argentina. Women also remain the central actors and agents for change in the many organizations of families of the "disappeared" in South and Central America-organizations that continue to be pivotal in the fight for justice for past human rights abuses in the region.
Moreover, organizations that focus specifically on women's rights have been instrumental in generating public debate about women's rights abuses as human rights violations. As a significant achievement for the women's movement in the Americas, every country in the Americas -with the notable exception of the United States-has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the most important international human rights instrument on women's rights. A number of countries-Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela-have also ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. This Protocol enables individual women to file complaints with the United Nations when violations of their rights are not adequately redressed in domestic courts, and also empowers the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to investigate situations of systematic or grave violations of women's rights.
In 1994, the Organization of American States adopted the only international treaty specifically focused on the prevention and punishment of violence against women: the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, the Convention of Belém do Pará. This convention has been ratified by all countries in the Americas, except Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, and the United States.
The overwhelming governmental support-on paper-for women's rights has not yet translated into reality for the vast majority of women in the region. The full implementation of this promise of equality is long overdue.
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety
Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man
Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes
Paraphysique de l'autorité
Two Podcasts on fbi corruption
Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS
EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens
The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally!
Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80
More Breaking News...