Guatemala: Government Acts to Combat High Rate of Femicide
Friday, February 10, 2012 10:45 AM

On 24 January 2012, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina formed a task force to combat femicide. The task force will be headed by former Prosecutor Mirna Carrera and will focus on intelligence and investigative efforts to prevent more women from being murdered. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world, equaled only by Mexico. According to government figures, 5,200 women were killed in Guatemala as a result of gender-related violence from 2000 to 2010.

Campaigns to combat femicide have been ongoing in the country. Dora Amalia Taracena, a member of the non-governmental organization Convergencia Cívico Política de Mujeres explained, "...civil society organizations…have been at the forefront of the efforts to put the issue on the public agenda; and our patriarchal culture and the reigning machismo has made this a very difficult battle to wage." Thus, activists welcomed the government’s step but also said that better prevention strategies are essential.  Mayra Sandoval, a representative of the non-governmental Observatory against Femicide, explained that without prevention efforts, ”...we'll just be treating the symptoms without ever getting to the root of the problem." Evelyn Curruchiche, of the governmental Ombudsperson for Indigenous Women, agreed, stating that in order to end femicide the root factors of this form of violence need to be addressed. 

Compiled from: Guatemala Heeds the Cries of Femicide VictimsInter Press Service (31 January 2012).