Inadequate data on violence against women

OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza.
AP Photo/Luis Romero
AP Photo/Luis Romero

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Miguel Insulza, says the lack of adequate statistical data on violence against women, its care and punishment, continue to be a “significant obstacle” to understanding of the depth of violence against women.

In his message on International Women’s Day, Insulza said the inability to address violence against women is also a “significant obstacle.”

“There remain important gaps in the legal framework on women’s rights, particularly in the lack of recognition and protection of sexual and reproductive rights, which continues to be a deep breech in women’s citizenship,” he said.

“Existing legislation on multiple forms of violence – femicide, sexual harassment, rape within and outside the context of marriage, violence against trans persons – is an effective guarantee of neither the rights of the victims nor reparation of the damage done,” he added.

“It is a matter of both concern and shame that the budget dedicated by Latin America and the Caribbean to preventing or combating violence against women remains extremely small – between 01 percent and 0.1 percent of public budgets – while other areas receive much more funding,” the OAS chief continued.

He said the data is “chilling,” stating that it indicates that, “however strong our current international and national legal framework, if it is not applied, it has no relevance for women, nor does it support the full exercise of their rights.”

“We must also recognize however, that thanks to the Belém do Pará Convention (Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women), States have incorporated physical, psychological, sexual and economic violence into their national norms,” he said.

Insulza said the Convention has provided the basis for the organization of campaigns, the implementation of protocols and care services, the issuing of sentences in cases of domestic violence, rape, harassment and other crimes, and numerous other initiatives and activities.

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