IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern over the high rates of intrafamily violence against women recorded in Peru in 2021 and the speeches given by high-ranking authorities that may downplay this situation and render it invisible. In this context, the State must adopt the necessary measures to combat all forms of gender-based violence against women and ensure that these cases do not go unpunished.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 3 women in the world suffer sexual and/or physical violence at the hands of a partner or person close to them. In this regard, while Peru has made progress in its commitment to combat violence against women, the IACHR notes with concern that official records in Peru indicate that assistance was provided in 140,833 cases of intrafamily violence against women in 2021, which represents an increase of 43% compared to 2020. It was also reported that high-ranking State officials referred to reports of intrafamily violence perpetrated by government officials as personal matters.
Comments of this sort reinforce the mistaken notion that intrafamily violence against women is a private matter that lies outside the remit of the State and send a message to society that such violence will be tolerated. It also creates feelings of insecurity and distrust on the part of women toward the authorities, thus hindering access to protection mechanisms and justice.
The IACHR once again noted that most cases of violence against women occur in the private sphere, and the State is thus obliged to adopt measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate it. Public officials must act as guarantors of people's fundamental rights and their statements thus must not disregard this. Discourses that perpetuate discriminatory gender-based sociocultural patterns have a greater impact when they come from public-sector authorities and place potential victims in a situation of greater vulnerability.
Likewise, discriminatory social and cultural practices that place women in a position of inferiority promote, legitimize, and exacerbate gender-based violence against women. In this regard, the IACHR noted once more that it is the State's duty to eradicate sexist, patriarchal cultural patterns and end historical discrimination within a society that fosters social tolerance of all expressions violence against women.
The IACHR therefore calls on the State to combat all forms of gender-based violence against women. To this end, it urges the State to refrain from disseminating messages that minimize and perpetuate violence against women. It also encourages the State to adopt discourses, policies, and programs that contribute to transforming discriminatory sociocultural patterns with the ultimate goal of preventing, punishing, and eradicating gender-based violence against women and girls in both the public and private spheres.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.