Mexico: A gender violence warning mechanism
By Sara Lovera
Mexico City, November (SEMlac Special). – “The implementation mechanism for Gender Violence Warning (GVW), which has been established in 12 states of the country, needs to be reformed to make it site-specific, sanction those failing to enforce it, properly identify the authorities in charge of taking action, and set reasonable timeframes. It will otherwise make no headway whatsoever,” said Laura Pedraza, a representative of Citizen Articulation for Equity and Development (ACED AC).
She told SEMlac that they are monitoring the situation of women’s murders in six states where GVW is already in place. She added that accountability also needs to be incorporated into these mechanisms.
“We have to make GVW binding not to rely on the will of local authorities only,” she stressed.
Monitoring actions, which are currently being supported by the Institute for Social Development (INDESOL), have revealed that there is an urgent need for process, outcome and impact indicators.
The effective protection of violence-affected women depends, to a large extent, on the mobilization of civil-society organizations.
Strengths and weaknesses
The ACED project entitled Gender-violence observatories in six states of the country (Mexico, Morelos, Michoacán, Veracruz, Nuevo León, and Chiapas) in the 2014-2016 period sought to systematize data collection.
The mechanism was established under the 2007 General Law for Women’s Access to Violence-Free Settings (LGAMVLV). Further details are available at https://goo.gl/4dXPMV and https://goo.gl/RNEbP5.
Its major strengths include the official recognition of the problem and the dissemination of information about its severity.
Its weaknesses have to do mainly with lack of political will.
Progress and setbacks
In Nuevo León, there are political will, resources available, and good coordination for the implementation of actions.
In Michoacán, however, there are not even effective regulations in place.
In Chiapas, there have been some recommendations for action, but the Center for the Protection of Women’s Rights (CMDCH AC) is no longer involved in monitoring because it is of the view that there is lack of coordination and information on gender, human rights, and cultural aspects.
The Center will continue to partner only with the Interinstitutional and Multidisciplinary Working Group (GIM).
In Veracruz, the situation is further compounded by the lack of resources.
In the state of Mexico, authorities agreed to support the GVW mechanism after the National Citizen Observatory on Women’s Murders (OCNF) allocated the resources required for these purposes.
There is still a long way to go, however. The perception that women are under constant threat is now stronger in this state than in Juarez itself.
In Morelos, representatives of the Independent Commission on Human Rights (CIDHM) feel that the measures adopted have not been entirely successful.
This situation contrasts sharply with a declaration that was made along these lines last April (see https://goo.gl/P3TxQ7).
How can the mechanism be improved to effectively address women’s murders in the country?
Specific actions should be implemented, including identifying those in charge and the role to be played by them.
• GVW should be binding and provide for a mechanism to sanction those failing to meet obligations.
• There is an urgent need for process, outcome and impact indicators to make progress visible.
• There is also a need to set reasonable timeframes for the implementation of recommendations.
• It is vital to fix such timeframes under a comprehensive, smooth process.