Regional conference condemns gender violence in the Caribbean

Marina Arismendi, Uruguay’s minister of Social Development.
http://www.republica.com.uy

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says Uruguayan authorities and representatives of international organizations have strongly condemned violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We need countries free of gender violence, free of femicide, free of women’s deaths at the hands of their spouses,” said Marina Arismendi, Uruguay’s minister of Social Development, speaking on behalf of her government at the XIII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay.

“There is no sustainable development of humanity if we don’t have gender equality, and ensure that no one is left behind,” added Arismendi at the four-day conference, organized by ECLAC and the Uruguayan government, which concludes on Friday.

ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, agreed that “we must put a definitive end to the gender violence that we have witnessed in horror in our countries in recent days.

“Reality today batters us with scandalous figures of sexist violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, where, on average, 12 women die daily just because they are women,” she said. “We don’t want to lose even one more woman. It is imperative that we put an end to violence against women.

“Today, on our continent, poverty still has the face of a woman,” Bárcena added. “For every 100 men in this condition, there are 118 women.”

She said that one third of regional women (29 percent) do not manage to generate their own income, adding that nearly half have no ties to the labor market.

“To these figures, we must add the low level of participation by women in the political arena,” said Bárcena, stating that women’s “presence does not surpass 30 percent in decision-making posts in branches of government.

Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA, recalled that all Latin American and Caribbean countries have adopted the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Belém do Pará Convention.

“We have a facilitating environment; let’s take advantage of it,” said the senior UN official, who warned during her speech of the high adolescent fertility rate in the region. “Girls and adolescents should have access to sexual and reproductive health,” he asserted.

Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, underscored that “this is the first meeting of the Regional Conference on Women since the approval of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” adding that the Regional Conferences have played a key role in emphasizing the need for gender equality as “a prerequisite for development and justice.”

“It is time to firmly uphold the achievements and progress made by women and continue being a progressive global force to irreversibly transform gender relations,” Puri said.

Bárcena presented the main conclusions from the document, “Equality and women’s autonomy in the sustainable development agenda,” prepared by ECLAC as a contribution to the conference.

“Today, we call upon governments and civil society to join forces, to not let their guard down and to avoid setbacks, because even though important progress has been made, there is still a long road ahead to achieving equality,” Bárcena said. “Without gender equality, sustainable development is neither development nor is it sustainable.”

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