Amnesty International Denounces Violence Against Women in Guatemala
Amnesty International made an urgent appeal to Guatemalan authorities on International Women's Day. They called on the government to act to stop the high numbers of women being killed across the country and to find justice for the victims.
According to Amnesty, 685 women were killed in Guatemala in 2010 alone. Women there have become targets of brutal attacks such as murder, rape, mutilation and dismemberment.
Amnesty also reports that less than 4 percent of all homicide cases in Guatemala result in convictions.
Norma Cruz, director of the foundation "Survivors," points to hundreds of unpunished cases involving female victims.
[Norma Cruz, Director, Survivors Foundation]:
"As we celebrate International Woman's Day's 100th anniversary, Guatemala has an average of between 600 and 800 murdered women per year with a very high percentage of impunity. We are talking about 98 percent of cases with impunity. We are talking about more than 46,000 reports about physical violence against women."
Maria Isabel Franco was raped and brutally murdered in December 2001 at the age of 15.
Her mother, Rosa Franco, has been fighting for justice for her daughter.
But so far Guatemalan authorities have not punished those responsible for her death.
[Rosa Franco, Mother of Murder Victim]:
"I love my country but it's not possible women are still being murdered. My daughter was murdered in a vile way. She didn't have to be killed. Saying no to a man does not mean he can kill her."
Franco has even been harrassed by unknown individuals as she struggles to find those responsible for her daughter's death.
[Alberto Herrera, Executive Director, Amnesty International Mexico]:
"What does a woman in Guatemala have to put up with when she approaches a prosecutor's office to report a crime, the disappearance of a daughter or any other relative? She is faced with a bureaucratic system, an enormous institution that is terribly inefficient. We are talking about a double process of victimization."
On Tuesday, hundreds of women took to the streets of Guatemala City to demand justice for female victims.
The pattern of violence has continued in Guatemala after the 1960-96 civil war.
Guatemala's internal armed conflict left 200,000 people dead and led to hundreds of thousands of human rights violations.