Monday, September 13, 2010

Report on Mesoamerican Women's Encounter

     On Friday, September 10th, Laura, Tedde and Marina from the SHARE El Salvador office, attended an event hosted by a number of Salvadoran women's organizations as they presented the report of the Mesoamerica and Caribbean Encounter with the UN Expert on Women's Issues, which occured in March. (Read the UN Expert's report on El Salvador). Representatives from various women's organization were present, in addition to a representative from the UN, the Director of Integral Social Development in the Salvadoran Government's Foreign Relations Ministry, and a Representative from the Salvadoran National Women's Institution, ISDEMU.
      Silvia Juarez from SHARE's Counterpart, ORMUSA, presented a summary of the themes that were discussed during the encounter. Those themes were:
  • Domestic and Partner Violence
  • Access to Justice
  • Extreme Violence-- Feminicide/Femicide
  • Other forms of violence in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica
  • Violence against Women in the context of breakdown and weakening of democracy
  • Violation of sexuala and reproductive rights
  • Sexual Violence

     Silvia did a wonderful job of summarizes these seven themes and how they were presented by the various countries present at the Encounter. Some of the disturbing facts that she presented that stood out to SHARE staff were:
  • From January to June in 2010, a woman was killed violently every 12 hours
  • In the first nine months of 2009, there were 13 registered cases of hate crimes against lesbian or transgender women in El Salvador
  • Rates of domestic violence in all of Central America are so high that the home is regarded as the most dangerous place for a woman
  • El Salvador has the highest rate of femicide in the region with 592 reported cases in 2009
  • In the municipality of Soyapango, in greater San Salvador, of 400 reported crimes against women or girls, only 3 cases were brought to justice
     While these few facts alone are disturbing enough, the list of injustices against women in El Salvador and Central America, goes on and on. Yet, along with their reports of the current situation for women, Silvia also talked about the different responses that were taken. In some cases, the government was moving forward, and in many cases there was a serious deficiency in the justice process and protection of women's rights. The most inspiring responses to these injustices came from women's movements and resistences. Whether it be educational campaigns for women and men, marches for women's rights, or working with victims to bring their cases to justice, these women's groups have worked tirelessly to improve the dire situation of women in El Salvador, and all of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean.

SHARE invites you to join us for our Churchwomen Delegation, November 29-December 6. During this delegation, we will work together with ORMUSA to present a forum regarding women's issues in El Salvador and for immigrant women in the United States. For more questions about the delegation or our work with Salvadoran women, please contact

"To live free of violence is a right that women have"

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