A delegation led by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA, a non-profit organization, will travel to Guatemala later this summer to address violence against women. Guatemala has faced a rash of murders of women over the past five years. Estimates of the number of women murdered between 2001 and 2006 range from 1,800 to 2,400. The delegation plans to meet with local women’s rights activists, as well as government officials.
In May, 115 members of Congress, led by California Democratic Representatives Hilda Solis, Barbara Lee, and Tom Lantos, sent a letter to the US State Department urging diplomatic measures to curb the killings, as well as technical assistance and support to solve the crimes. Of the murders that have been reported, a mere 14 have been solved, according to Women’s eNews.
While, according to Center for Legal Action on Human Rights, the murder rate for both men and women in Guatemala has increased since the nearly four-decade long internal conflict ended in 1996, the murder of women often includes torture, sexual violence, or mutilation that is gender-based and which often goes unreported or misreported.
Amnesty International reports that the investigations that do take place are often marred by a lack of communication between governmental agencies, incomplete work, and the improper collection of evidence. Speaking to Women’s eNews, Amnesty International’s Women’s Human Rights Program coordinator Alyson Kozma noted, “Violence against women is acceptable not just in pop culture, but also in how the police and government respond or fail to respond to these murders.”