Colombia: Government Responds to Rising Femicide Rate

Lawmakers have introduced a new bill in the Colombian congress that would criminalize femicide and punish offenders with at least 30 years in prison. In addition, the Colombian National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences will implement new protocols for the autopsies of women in order to improve the collection of evidence and identify indicators of violent femicides such as torture or rape. The protocol will also require forensic doctors in Colombia to detail the circumstances of each woman’s death, including the presence of domestic or sexual violence, armed conflict or organized criminal activities.

Supporters say the new bill and forensic protocols are necessary "to ensure femicide, which has particular characteristics, is distinguished from other violent deaths of women.” According to U.N. Women, femicide, or the killing of women because of their gender, is a "particularly critical" problem in Latin America. The Colombian government has identified 83 femicides out of 637 women killed in 2014. El Salvador has the highest rate of femicide in the world. 

Compiled from: Moloney, Anastasia, Colombia wants more convictions for violence against women, Reuters (September 19, 2014).