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In Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of countries with national women protection policies has risen from 24 in 2013 (74 per cent) to 31 in 2016 (94 per cent); yet, the region is still the most violent in the world for women, according to a new UN Development Programme (UNDP)-UN Women report.
The report released in Panama, ‘Commitment to Action: Public Policies to Eradicate violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean’, stresses that although the region has shown great progress in the normative frameworks that recognize violence against women as a social phenomenon that affects women, their families and communities, sustainable development and the protection of human rights, the problem persists, with high rates of violence against women remaining a dire challenge.
In spite of the notable advances in national action plans, the region registers the highest rates of violence against women outside the intimate partner and the second highest within the couple, according to data from the Observatory on Gender Equality in Latin America and the Caribbean, cited in the report. It points out that the number of female homicides is on the rise, with two in every five resulting from domestic violence. Moreover, about 30 per cent of women have been victims of violence by their partner and 10.7 per cent have suffered sexual violence not related to an intimate partner, according to World Health Organization figures.
To halt this problem, the report recommends addressing women’s protection issues at a higher political level, with more investment, a comprehensive approach and greater cooperation as key to eradicating violence against women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The new study also compiles best practices for the eradication of violence against women, identifies critical issues and proposes key actions to achieve qualitative advances and overcome this social scourge of epidemic proportions in the region.
“It is very important to see the approach to violence against women as a catalytic factor for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda as a whole. In addition, it is essential for the achievement of peace, economic productivity, rights, justice and social cohesion”, said Richard Barathe, Director of the UNDP Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean.
UN Women’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luiza Carvalho, said the report highlights several points of great importance: the need to allocate more resources, to better structure the response and to better articulate the work between the different actors.
“In addition, we must work to improve the collection and measurement of data recording violence against women in the region,” she said.
The report calls for generating social pacts among governments, the private sector and civil society to engage all relevant actors; the creation of national plans at the local level and policies with a multidimensional approach; to strengthen victims’ reparation actions, especially those focused on their economic empowerment; and work with men, especially young people, to add them as partners in the fight to end violence against women.
The report is launched as part of the “Unite to end violence against women” campaign, which brings together several UN agencies.