Transmissions via the Internet, coverage of events for peace and against violence against women in Guatemala, participation in panels and special forums about the theme, and the organization of a Virtual Observatory in internet all form part of the activities of FIRE in Guatemala during the week of May 10-15 in accompaniment of the actions by organizations of women that share the preoccupation about the escalating violence and impunity that reigns in this situation.
Currently Guatemala shares with countries such as Colombia and Mexico one of the most alarming situations regarding the systematic and extensive violations of the human rights of women including femicide (murder of women for being women) and other types of violence. In 2001, more than 2,500 cases of murder of women were reported to the police in Guatemala, but as of 2006, just 14 had led to a conviction of the perpetrator.
The statistics of violence against women show that also in 2006, there were 825 reports of women who were raped and more than 10,000 women who suffered physical aggression, according to the Red de No Violence Contra la Mujer Network of Non Violence against a Woman. The most recent case of blatant abuse of the rights of women took place in March, 2009 with the abduction and torture of the professor and champion of human rights, Gladys Monterroso.
The global women’s community has organized a series of parallel actions to place this horrendous situation of women in Guatemala in the global agenda and to contribute to ensuring women and their social organizations, as well as human rights agencies working on this issue that they are not alone in their demand to put an end to the impunity of such violation. The global community also wants to provide solidarity for the right of women to a dignified life and an inclusive democracy.
FIRE will participate in this series of initiatives that will take place May 10-15 in this Mesoamerican country. From May 10-12 in Antigua, FIRE will organize live transmissions and special coverage of the international conference, “Women Redefining Democracy for Peace, Justice and Equality,” which is being organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative for Peace.
More than 100 women will participate in the event, coming from public politics, along with activists, specialized agencies, journalists and communicators, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates among others. They will share their visions, actions and challenges to support efforts to increase representation of women and their ability to exercise their rights and participate in a significant manner in the decisions that affect their lives, all as part of a reconceptualization of democracy for all in our societies.
In this same event, FIRE will participate in the panel, “The media and communications as tools of democratization for women,” along with panelists from Guatemala, Zimbabwe and the United States. All the panelists agree that when women are absent in the media or they only appear as victims, and not as active change agents or actors for peace, all of society loses. The panelists will emphasize the role of the media in the hands of the women as an important strategy to recover that loss.
During this time and also in Antigua, FIRE will cover the meeting of the Plataforma Artística (Artists’ Platform) against gender violence, a Spanish initiative that will hold its own conference as part of its tour in Guatemala that has included meetings with the national government, with city halls and organizations of human rights and of women. They are also producing public concerts with the intention to strengthen and provide solidarity for agencies and organizations that work against the violence that women suffer, especially femicides as an extreme form of violence.
Also from May 13-15, FIRE will organize a Virtual Observatory of Feminist Transgressions as part of the Mission and Observation of International Denouncement against Violence toward Women in Guatemala, in Guatemala City. This event is organized by Petateras of Guatemala, in coordination with Synergia Noj, The Cord, UNAM-G, Associates by the Just thing (JASS) and our radio. Sinergia Noj, La Cuerda, UNAM-G, Just Associates (JASS) and FIRE radio.
The Virtual Observatory is designed to document what has happened to women in Guatemala, and to express solidarity with their struggles to eliminate the structural scourge of violence against women within a framework of the escalation of all forms of violence in a country that recently signed Peace Accords. in 1994, The participants in the Virtual Observatory are going to coordinate initiatives at the local, regional, continental and global levels to denounce and develop actions to put pressure to end the impunity regarding actual cases that women have denounced.
The actions of this Mission will be covered by FIRE collaboration with CIMAC, La Cuerda, and other local and international media, and will include launching an international pronouncement against violence toward women in Guatemala; a Forum Against Violence toward Women in Guatemala; a meeting to design alternatives to protect human rights activists; and the presentation of the play, “The Labyrinth Of the Butterflies” in the Theater of Fine Arts on May 12th for the general public.