Washington DC. Last Friday, March 15th 2019, the Inter-American Model Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of the Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls (Femicide/Feminicide) was officially launched, a document that seeks to create or update legislation in the region, as well as strengthen comprehensive action on prevention, protection, care, investigation, prosecution, punishment and reparation to guarantee the right of all women and girls to a life free of violence, as established in the Belém do Pará Convention, an international instrument signed and ratified by 32 States of the region.
The meeting was opened by Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, who stressed the importance of redoubling efforts to combat femicides in the region. Rita Segato, a well-known Argentinean anthropologist who gave a keynote address on the origin of gender-related killing of women, said that «the training of law and publicity students is fundamental to combat femicides and contribute to cultural change.» Later, Sylvia Mesa, President of the Committee of Experts of the MESECVI, and Paula Narvaéz, Regional Adviser of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, presented the Model Law and the joint work among the mechanisms to bring this instrument to life.
Noelia Diaz Esquivel, Secretary General of the Union of Journalists of Paraguay, and Arlette Contreras, lawyer and inspirer of the Ni Una Menos movement in Peru, shared their testimonies and the situation in their respective countries. Both, in addition to being prominent activists and defenders of human rights, are survivors of attempted femicide that have had to face media exposure, impunity in judicial processes and revictimization as a result of institutional and media violence.
The event was also attended by Liriola Leoteau, Executive Director of the National Institute for Women of Panama (INAMU) and President of the MESECVI; Carmen Moreno Toscano, Executive Secretary of the CIM; Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero, Technical Secretary of the MESECVI; and Rosa Celorio, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies and Lecturer, George Washington University Law School
Femicide is the most extreme and irreversible expression of violence and discrimination against women, radically opposed to all the rights and guarantees established in international and national human rights legislation. This has been reiterated by the Committee of Experts of the MESECVI, through the Third Hemispheric Report on Prevention.