The Historical Clarification Commission revealed that among the serious and massive human rights violations committed against the civil population, rape was a systematic practice carried out by the state as part of the counterinsurgent strategy. These women are telling their stories.
Women’s organizations are raising a red flag on Nicaragua. In a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 12, they reported rising violence against women, corruption and abuse of power in government when dealing with the crimes, and the increasing vulnerability of girls and young women.
Undeterred by mounting death threats and intimidation, a group of mothers whose daughters have disappeared from Ciudad Juarez, traveled to Mexico City to mark International Women’s Day with demands for justice for their missing loved ones and to mourn the mounting epidemic of violence toward women in Mexico.
In 2013, Mexican drug war victims joined US victims on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity in New York’s Riverside Church. The testimonies they presented, in the same place where in 1967 Martin Luther King called for an end to the Viet Nam war, revealed the similarities between the two unjust wars and why we should oppose them.
The push to rebrand and re-sell the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez is in full swing. With violence way down as 2012 draws to a close, business and political leaders are extolling the return of security, inaugurating public works and opening new restaurants. According to the electronic industry trade journal maquilaportal.com, upwards of 22,000 workers have been hired this year in the assembly-for-export factories called maquiladoras, with especially strong rebounds in the auto and electronics sectors. But how much of the public relations blitz is hype and how much is real? And who benefits from the new Juárez?
Fifteen brave Guatemalan women from the indigenous qeqchí people testified before the High Risk Court in Guatemala City on Sept. 24-28, as part of the first criminal trial for sexual slavery and rape during the armed conflict. This legal action is historically transcendent, not only for being the first time that sexual violence during the armed conflict in Guatemala has come to trial, but also because it is the first trial for sexual slavery that has been brought to a national court. Previous cases have been presented in international courts.
There are many kinds of war. The classic image of a uniformed soldier kissing mom good-bye to risk his life on the battlefield has changed dramatically. In today’s wars, it’s more likely that mom will be the one killed. UNIFEM states that by the mid-1990s, 90% of war casualties were civilians– mostly women and children.
500,000 women raped in Rwanda. 64,000 in Sierra Leone. 40,000 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 4,500 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Numbers are numbing,” warns Nobel Laureate Jody Williams. “There are women in here who have experienced sexual violence in conflict.”
A secret operation to run guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels — overseen by U.S. government agents — threatens to become a major scandal for the Obama administration. The operation, called “Fast and Furious,” was run out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) office in Phoenix, Arizona. ATF sanctioned the purchase of weapons in U.S. gun shops and tracked the smuggling route to the Mexican border. Reportedly, more than 2,500 firearms were sold to straw buyers who then handed off the weapons to gunrunners under the nose of ATF.
Josefina Reyes began her career as a human rights organizer the way thousands of women across the globe do: defending her family and her community. The middle-aged mother staged a hunger strike to demand the safe return of her son after Mexican soldiers abducted him from their home. She lost another son to drug-war violence that has taken over the Valle de Juarez, where her family lives. Josefina spoke out against the violence and against abuses committed by the army and police. On Jan. 5, 2010, Josefina Reyes was shot to death.