At least ten women and girls are murdered every day Mexico, according to a new report which says that the families of the victims often have to leave their own murder investigations.
The sharp report, which was released on Monday Amnesty International, documents both the scale of the violence and the worrying lack of interest from Mexican authorities in preventing or solving the killings.
“Mexico continues to fulfill its duty to investigate and therefore its duty to guarantee the lives and privacy of victims and to prevent violence against women,” the report said. Justice at trial.
“Feminicidal violence and failures of investigation and prevention in northern Mexico are not anecdotal, but rather part of a broader reality in the country,” the report adds.
Femicide killings have occurred in Mexico for decades – most notorious in an epidemic of murder which killed about 400 women in the border town of Ciudad Juárez in the 1990s. In recent years, a growing feminist movement have held massive street protests against the violence, but authorities have shown reluctance to take action to stop the killing.
“It’s always a matter of political will,” said Maricruz Ocampo, a women activist in the state of Querétaro.
Ocampo has been part of teams lobbying state governors to issue a warning when feminism reaches outrageously high levels – a move to raise awareness and mobilize resources. But officials often oppose such moves, she said, because governors worry about their states’ images and investments.
“They refuse to realize that there is a problem,” she said.
The president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has also downplayed the problem. He branded the women who protested on March 8, International Women’s Day, as “conservative” and claimed that a dark hand was manipulating the demonstrations.
Asked last year about increasing violence against women, he replied: “Tell all Mexican women that they are protected and represented, that we do everything to ensure peace and quiet and that I understand that our opponents are looking for ways to confront us. ”
Mexico registered the murders of 3,723 women in 2020. About 940 of these murders were investigated as femicide.
The Amnesty report focused on State of Mexico, a large collection of gravel suburbs surrounding Mexico City on three sides. It has become notorious for feminism in the last decade – and for the way former President Enrique Peña Nieto, a former governor of Mexico, ignored the problem.
The report found cases where families carry out their own detective work, which was ignored by investigators. In many cases, the authorities contaminated crime scenes or false evidence. They often did not even track wires as geographic location information from victims’ cell phones.
In the case of Julia Sosa, whose children believe she was killed by her partner, two daughters found her body buried on the suspect’s property – but had to wait hours until the police arrived and processed the crime scene. One of her daughters recalled the subsequent interview process, in which “the police fell asleep”.
Sosa’s partner hanged himself and got the police to close the case, even though family members said there were more steps to track.
In states that are full of violence against drug cartels, activists say that cases of femicide are not investigated because impunity is common.
“Authorities say it is organized crime and so it is,” said Yolotzin Jaimes, a campaign for women’s rights in the southern state of Guerrero. “Many of these attackers find refuge under the pretext of organized crime.”
The persistence of feminicide is a sharp contrast to the recent movement of women in Mexico. The country’s highest court decriminalized abortion earlier this month. A new congress that has recently been sworn in has gender equality and seven female governors will be installed at the end of the year – up from just two before the election in June last year
The decriminalization of abortion “released some steam” from the pressure driving the protests “because some of the demands were over the right to choose”, says Ocampo. “But when it comes to violence, we still see it everywhere.”