Organization of American States, OAS
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, called on the countries in the region to redouble their efforts to end gender-based violence and exploitation, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
“Despite significant progress, much remains to be done. The life, security and integrity of the majority of women and girls in the Americas are consistently threatened and at risk from violence, exploitation and trafficking,” said Secretary General Insulza.
The OAS leader recalled that in recent decades there have been several important steps in the right direction in the region. “Eight countries now have comprehensive laws protecting the right of women to live free from violence; twelve countries have data records in the dimensions of violence in health, education and employment; and thirteen States are preparing their budgets with specific items aimed at ending violence against girls and women,” he highlighted.
On the occasion of this year’s commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Convention of Belém do Pará, Secretary General Insulza recalled that the OAS Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) assessed the progress and challenges on the issue in a dozen regional and national fora, in order to strengthen the Monitoring Mechanism (MESECVI) for analyzing the compliance with the obligations assumed by States upon ratification of the Convention of Belém do Pará.
In the area of justice, he said, “there has been progress in the implementation of special procedures, training of judicial officers and adoption of mechanisms for the protection of female victims of violence, including addressing the legal status of indigenous women, female Afro-descendants, imprisoned women, and women of different sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.”
However, the OAS Secretary General said that the region still faces many challenges to ending violence against women. “We need security policies that include a gender perspective and take into account the violence that women and girls suffer inside and outside their homes. We must ensure access to expeditious, timely and effective legal remedies for women in cases of violence,” he said.
“Moving forward on access to justice for female victims of violence and systems of reparation is another major challenge,” said Secretary General Insulza, who noted that in the process of setting priorities for the post-2015 development agenda it is important to “recognize that the elimination of violence against women is essential for their individual and social development and their full and equal participation in all spheres of life, and thus for the development of their countries.”
The head of the multilateral institution said: “Today is an opportunity to renew the commitment to prevent, punish and eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, as was established twenty years ago in the Convention of Belém do Pará. On behalf of the OAS, we are calling on the countries of the region to redouble their efforts to fight this scourge and provide a more effective response to the violence suffered by thousands of women and girls in our Hemisphere.”
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.
Photo: MESECVI (OAS)