No more! The right of women to live a life free of violence in Latin America and the Caribbean
The report No more! The right of women to live a life free of violence in Latin America and the Caribbean1 is the result of a joint effort by specialist United Nations organizations and entities in Latin America and the Caribbean. To fulfil this mission inspired by resolution 58/185 of the United Nations General Assembly of December 2003,2 the organizations represented in the thirteenth meeting of specialist bodies and other organizations of the United Nations system on the advancement of women in Latin America and the Caribbean (Mar del Plata, Argentina, September 6, 2005) agreed to implement an inter-institutional study on violence against women in all its forms under the coordination of ECLAC. In the same manner as the Secretary General's report relating to the in-depth study of all forms of violence against women, the eradication is sought of one of the most widespread crimes along with an end to the accompanying impunity. Its dissemination and debate throughout all levels of society will help to raise social awareness providing authorities with the resources and instruments needed for its elimination.
Just like the Secretary General's report, the regional report will make it clear that to eradicate violence it must unequivocally become a central objective of public agendas: as a human rights issue in the first place, and as an obstacle to development in the second. Advances must be made toward public policies which underline the States's duty of diligence to protect women from violence. The political will must be accompanied with sufficient human, technical and financial resources to articulate and deepen existing efforts for prevention, attention and sanction alike.
It is not lack of experience, lack of models or social indifference that explains the weaknesses analyzed in the present document. The principal obstacles lie in the vacillating will of the institutional sphere. The three powers of the State show weakness and a lack of technical, financial and human resources. Secondly, there is the persistence of cultural factors which invade all the spheres of social life, legitimating violence.
The negative synergy between institutional violence and the patriarchal culture encourage and promote situations of impunity. These factors are both cause and consequence of the lack of power of women, adolescent girls and female children. Good practices identified in the region show that this circle of impunity can be broken thanks to the establishment of multi-sectoral strategies and with the full participation of women as citizens. The exponential growth of reports, the greater social visibility of forms of violence - including gender violence - added to the low legitimacy of the public institutions mean the programmes that were successful in the early stages of the battle against violence, today require a firm change of direction based on a strong political commitment to bring about institutional reforms in the realms of justice and security and public policies framed in the international legislation on the human rights of women.