Femicide, unresolved and urgent task for the new Mexican government
- Photo: Luis Carbayo/Cuartoscuro.com

Femicide, unresolved and urgent task for the new Mexican government

Gabriel Moyssen
Mexico City
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A series of kidnap attempts in the vast subway system of Mexico City have caused alarm among women this year, in a country where nine femicides are perpetrated every day

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A series of kidnap attempts in the vast subway (Metro) system of Mexico City have caused alarm among women this year, in a country where nine femicides are perpetrated every day.

While Mexico’s capital city authorities still have no evidence to demonstrate the existence of a pattern of abductions from organized criminal gangs, allegations and reports are presented almost on a daily basis, as the story published by EL UNIVERSAL on Wednesday highlighting the case of María Guadalupe “N.”


Women face kidnap attempts in Mexico City's Metro

The city's Investigation Police is looking for men who have allegedly tried to kidnap women inside and outside Mexico City's Metro
Women face kidnap attempts in Mexico City's MetroWomen face kidnap attempts in Mexico City's Metro

In the surroundings of Candelaria Station, near the Chamber of Deputies, the 20-year-old woman was kidnapped by a man and shoved into a car where she was tied with her own shoelaces.

Yet, María Guadalupe was freed by their captors after they noticed she had a C-section scar, according to her deposition before public ministry.

Author of a femicide map which exposes the terrible dimension of this crime in the country, María Salguero Bañuelos told investigative reporter Aurora Villaseñor that between 400 and 600 girls were listed as missing in just two years by Mexico's National Citizen Observatory on Femicide (ONCF).

Metro and Metrobus police do everything in their capacity to avoid reports from victims. The kidnap attempts are barely known by the public,” she stressed.

Salguero, a geophysicist from the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (IPN), generated the map based on press reports as she noticed patterns on the whereabouts and age of missing women; for instance, she said, “it was resounding the increase of cases in the state of Guanajuato, I registered 47 femicides in about a month.”

Her map has been recognized by UN Women and the Mexican Senate; last year UN Women, along with Mexico's National Women’s Institute, released a study warning that women are murdered with greater violence and cruelty compared to men since 2016.

The document also recommended the adjustment of action protocols for the use of justice institutions to combat impunity, improve public attention and services for women and girls victims of violence, as well as investigate all women’s deaths due to external causes with a gender perspective.

Femicide in Mexico drew international attention during the 90s, with more than 370 recorded cases in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Nevertheless, it took almost 20 years for the government to include it in the Criminal Code.

In 2012, Congress approved prison terms ranging from 40 to 60 years for gender-related killings of women and instructed the states to adjust their respective laws in accordance with federal legislation.

Four years before, in a historic ruling regarding the case of three women murdered in Ciudad Juárez, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Mexican State on the grounds of inability to ensure the right to life, personal integrity and personal freedom for women.

Half of the country

Notwithstanding these developments, the situation has aggravated and 18 of the 32 Mexican federal entities representing 56% of the country are formally declared under Gender Violence Alert.

For its part, Mexico's National Public Security System informed that an average of 9.48 femicides a day are registered.

The State of Mexico, Colima, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, and Morelos are among the more dangerous states for women in the country, where 60% of the femicide cases remain unpunished.

Last Saturday, thousands of women protested in Mexico City to demand an end to murders, kidnap attempts, forced disappearances,  and gender violence, remarking that more than 133 femicides have been committed so far this year.

Activists from the ONCF—formed by 43 non-governmental organizations operating in 23 states—accused that the protection and guarantee of women’s rights are not a priority for the Mexican State.

Public policies in this issue have been reduced irresponsibly to a mere speech and not to its real implementation with a positive effect on women’s lives,” they said.

On December, the Senate passed a reform package allowing the inclusion of femicide, child sex abuse, forced disappearances, firearms carrying, and home invasion, as well as the offenses involving electoral crimes, corruption, and fuel theft into the category of serious crimes.

Surprisingly, the Chamber of Deputies confirmed the accusations mentioned above, removed from the law proposal six of the nine serious crimes, including femicide, child sex abuse, and home invasion.

The parliamentary group from President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador’s party, Morena, is ready to debate the inclusion of femicide into the category of serious crimes that merit pretrial detention in the modifications to the 19 constitutional article, declared to the press Wendy Briceño Zuloaga, Head of the Gender Equality Committee in the Lower Chamber of Congress.

In Mexico City’s local Congress, also controlled by Morena, lawmaker Nazario Norberto announced that he would introduce a law proposal to criminalize femicide as a serious crime punishable with 25 years imprisonment and without parole or bail.

If there was a relationship of employment, affective or family subordination between the offender and the victim, the crime would be punishable with 30 to 60 years imprisonment, in contrast to the 20-50 years prescribed by the current Criminal Code, Norberto added.

Mexico City’s first elected female mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has said that eradicating gender violence is a priority of her incipient, three-month-old administration.

Editing by Sofía Danis
More by Gabriel Moyssen

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