Mexico Enacts Domestic Violence Law
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: July 22, 2005
By E. EDUARDO CASTILLO, Associated Press
Feb 1, 2007
President Felipe Calderon praised on Thursday a new law that obligates
federal and local authorities to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against
women, and he promised a “relentless” fight against gender-related abuse.
The law — enacted with its publication in the federal register — does not
drastically change how violators are currently punished. But it symbolically
underscores the government’s recognition of a scourge that is widespread but
often ignored in this traditionally macho society.
Officially, the law is the first federal measure combatting domestic violence
and other abuse against women, though similar statues were already on the books
in many cities and states.
The law aims to guarantee women’s “access to a life free of violence, that
favors their development and well-being according to the principles of equality
Among its objectives is to have the government-backed National Women’s
Institute conduct education campaigns focusing on women’s rights and informing
women of the institutions and laws they can resort to for protection.
It also spells out authorities’ obligations to issue “emergency protection
orders” to help victims of violence, including removing aggressors from homes in
domestic violence cases, suspending attackers’ visits to children and freezing
assets to guarantee alimony payments.
The law was initially proposed in 2005 by a legislator from the opposition
Democratic Revolution Party of presidential runner-up and former Mexico City
Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Earlier this year, the leftist Convergence Party, which also supported the
law, accused the president of dragging his feet on the measure and expressed
fear that it ultimately would be killed.
But Calderon, who took office in December after winning election by the
slimmest of margins, praised the measure on Thursday.
“I said it during my campaign and I repeat it today that I will be a
president who is relentless in the fight against gender-related violence,” he
said during a ceremony at the presidential residence. “I am worried and hurt by
intrafamily violence and, of course, murders for reasons of gender.”
Mexico has drawn international attention over the past decade with the
murders of hundreds of women whose bodies were found in the desert outside
Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
A special investigator appointed by Calderon predecessor Vicente Fox
concluded that 379 women had been killed from 1993 to 2005, for reasons ranging
from sexual violence, intrafamily violence, revenge, robbery and fights.
The law also calls on states and cities to modify their criminal and civil
codes to impose harsher punishment on those who perpetrate violence against
Associated Press writer Lisa J. Adams contributed to this
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