Good Practices Regarding Legal Reforms in the Area of Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Flor de María Meza Tananta
Central America
South America

The human right of the American women to live a life free of violence has been
incorporated in article 3rd of the Inter-American Convention to prevent, to
sanction and to eradicate Violence Against Women, -known as the Convention
do Belem do Para. This Convention constitutes the first and only legal
instrument at universal level of a binding characteristic regarding violence
against women. Its introduction affirms that “violence against women
constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental liberties which limits
total or partially the possibility for women to fully enjoy and exercise them”
Art. 1º defines violence against women as “any action or conduct, based on
gender, that causes death, physical, sexual or psychological harm to a
woman, in the public scope as well as in the private one”.
Art. 2º establishes that the violence against women includes the physical,
sexual and psychological violence.
Art. 7º describes the obligations of the States parties with respect to the
protection of those rights, among others.
Presently thirty two out of the thirty four Member States of the Organization of
American States, OAS, have ratified this Convention. Of these, twenty -five
countries have partially observed their commitments in relation to the
Convention promulgating laws on domestic, family or intra-family violence
hiding once again violence against women behind the figure of the family unit.
This constitutes a partial fulfillment of their commitment since the Convention
includes diverse spheres and political demands in order to prevent, to sanction
and to eradicate vio lence against women which go beyond the mere approval
of a law against domestic violence which comprehends different expressions of
violence .
None of the 32 countries that ratified the Inter-American Convention of Belem
do Para has exactly fulfilled its regulations.

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Legal Reforms in the Area of Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean__Flor de María Meza Tananta_May 2008