Femicide, unresolved and urgent task for the new Mexican government

So far this year, a series of femicides in Mexico City and in other Mexican states have caused social outrage, as ten femicides are perpetrated every day in Mexico

Femicide, unresolved and urgent task for the new Mexican government
- Photo: Luis Carbayo/Cuartoscuro.com
English 08/02/2019 16:01 Gabriel Moyssen Mexico City Actualizada 17:36
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So far this year, a series of femicides in Mexico City and in other Mexican states have caused social outrage, as ten femicides are perpetrated every day throughout the country.

While both Mexico City and federal 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 February 10 highlighting Ingrid Escamilla's femicide whose partner had brutally flayed, and dismembered her body in front of his autistic son, in the Gustavo Adolfo Madero borough in Mexico City.

A week later, the outrage sparked by the atrocious femicide of Ingrid Escamilla lingered as the body of 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia Aldrighetti Antón was found inside a plastic bag days after she was abducted in theTláhuac borough in Mexico City.

Since last Tuesday, Mexico City's authorities had been investigating in hopes of finding the two suspects involved in the kidnapping, torturing, abuse, and murder of Fátima Cecilia: Giovana Cruz Hernández and Mario Alberto Reyes Nájera.

In the legal sphere, the criminal justice reform initiative presented by the ruling Morena party to eliminate femicide as a legal term has been widely rejected by feminist groups and experts on the subject, yet on Tuesday, Mexico’s Lower House of Congress—under the control of Morena and its allies—approved an increase in prison sentences for femicide and sexual abuse of minors. 

Lawmakers voted to increase the sentence for femicide to 45 to 65 years in prison, up from a range of 40 to 60 years. They also proposed a fine of MXN $130,000 for the crime of femicide.

Femicide Map

Last year, 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).

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.

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 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.

Mexico City's first elected female mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has said that eradicating gender violence is a priority of her administration. However, the huge dimension of this crime and the clumsy response from the authorities—Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has blamed "neoliberalism" for the deteriorating security situation—is adding pressure to the government.

Editing by Sofía Danis
More by Gabriel Moyssen


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