Press Release

IACHR Expresses Concern over Prevalence of Murder and Other Forms of Extreme Violence against Women in Peru

July 2, 2018

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has expressed its concern over the high rates of gender-based murder and murder attempts against women, girls, and teenage girls in Peru. The IACHR calls on the Peruvian state to implement comprehensive strategies to prevent these crimes, to comply with its obligation to investigate into them and try and sanction those responsible for them, and to offer comprehensive protection and compensation for all victims.

According to information gathered by Peru’s Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, between January and April 2018, there have been 43 femicides and 103 attempted femicides in the country. These figures represent a 26 percent and 39 percent increase in the rates of these crimes, respectively, in comparison with the same period in 2017. The statistics the ministry has made public reveal that 16 per cent of the victims of femicide attempts in 2018 have been girls and teenage girls. In 75 per cent of this year’s cases, the women, girls, and teenage girls in question had already reported the perpetrator to the authorities.

The IACHR observes with concern that, generally speaking, these incidents are characterized by the use of extreme violence and shows of particular savagery against women’s bodies. As is widely known, after being doused in gasoline by a former workmate who then set her on fire while she was traveling on public transportation in Lima, Eyvi Ágreda Marchena died on June 1 as a consequence of her burns. Twenty other people were also injured in the incident. On June 7 this year, Gilda Branz Sol Mujica suffered an acid attack and was then raped and stabbed and is currently recovering in hospital.

The IACHR acknowledges that, in response to the worrying prevalence of femicides and violence against women, on June 8 the Office of the President of Peru ordered that an Emergency Committee be established. The purpose of this multisector committee is to implement 11 immediate, concrete actions to protect women from gender violence, prevent such attacks, and respond to any that arise.

“We welcome the Peruvian government’s decision to establish the Emergency Committee to begin to tackle violence against women and prevent severe acts of violence against them,” said Margarette May Macaulay, IACHR commissioner and rapporteur on the rights of women. “It is essential that there be coordination mechanisms between this Emergency Committee and other authorities and organizations who are responsible for these issues so as to implement a permanent, comprehensive strategy with sufficient means and resources to eradicate all forms of gender-based violence,” she added.

The IACHR urges the state of Peru to adopt immediate, urgent measures to prevent, investigate, try, sanction, and provide compensation for all femicides and acts of violence against women. This implies adopting the comprehensive prevention measures that were drafted in partnership with the women they will benefit, which includes a component that aims to eliminate all gender stereotypes and discriminatory behavior against women, as is established in article 6 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women “Convention of Belem Do Para.”

The prevention measures need to include a gender perspective, taking into account risk factors and historic patterns of discrimination and subordination that continue to have a negative effect on women. The objective of such measures should be not only gender equality but also women’s empowerment and autonomy. If legislation, policies, and services are to be effective, it is fundamental for women to play a part in their design.

Likewise, the IACHR reiterates the need for all femicides to be investigated promptly and exhaustively to prevent any sense of impunity among those responsible for these crimes and for their families to be treated with dignity and respect during these processes.  Finally, the IACHR stresses the need for all states to provide comprehensive redress for such crimes in order to eradicate the structural patterns and causes that discrimination and violence against women accentuate.

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. 

No. 144/18