FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2022
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On International Women’s Day, Mar. 8, women leaders of migrant rights organizations across the U.S. call for policies that address gender violence and end the impunity for gender crimes in Central America and Mexico. The organizations also call on the U.S. government to implement welcoming immigration policies that help migrants fleeing domestic violence seek asylum. Gender violence is a daily threat facing women in Central America and Mexico that drives internal displacement and migration northwards.
Alianza Americas, a network of 55 migrant-led organizations in 18 states, produced a fact sheet on gender-based violence in Central America and Mexico. The fact sheet highlights how the failure of authorities to address gender-based violence, including the lack of justice for domestic violence and femicide cases, forces women to flee their homes and seek protection elsewhere.
According to the World Bank, El Salvador has the highest rate of homicides involving women globally. Honduras and Guatemala rank seventh and eighth in place within the global top ten, and Mexico ranks eleventh. Moreover, impunity for gender violence crimes is widespread. In Guatemala, 97% of gender-based crimes go unresolved or unprosecuted; in Honduras, an estimated 90% of femicides are never investigated; and in El Salvador, only 5% of crimes against women result in a trial. Trans women also see high rates of violence and impunity.
“As seen from the lack of justice for gender violence cases across Central America and Mexico, there is a prevailing culture of tolerance for violence against women and trans women,” said Patricia Montes, director of Centro Presente, an organization that defends migrant communities in Boston. “As long as gender violence crimes go unpunished, without opportunities for due process and support for victims, this rampant impunity will leave women, girls, and trans women under threat with no other choice except to migrate to save their lives. Mexico and Central America need to enforce the rule of law to protect women.”
Last year, the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era policy that made it virtually impossible for those fleeing domestic violence to apply for asylum. But the Title 42 policy remains in place. This means there are still overwhelming obstacles preventing asylum seekers from applying for protections at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Those fleeing domestic violence need a fair opportunity to apply for asylum in the U.S. Right now, the door remains shut,” said Yaquelin López, co-founder of Women Working Together, a group that advocates for women’s rights, including the rights of domestic workers, in Miami, Florida.
“Tragically, cases of violence against Indigenous and Afro-descendant women in Central America all too often remain invisible to the public. This is in part because of the failure of authorities to collect accurate data on survivors and victims of violence,” said Mirtha Colón, director of the Alianza Americas Board of Directors, and a Honduran Garifuna activist who leads advocacy groups Hondurans Against AIDS and the Black Central American Organization (Organización Negra Centroamericana – ONECA) in New York. “Ignoring violence faced by these communities in Central America leaves Black and Indigenous women without dignity and without protection and unprotected. Mexico and Central America should improve efforts in collecting data on gender violence. Otherwise, authorities leave them exposed to threats and extinction, because of their ethnicity.”
Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.
Presente.org is Alianza Americas’ digital organizing powerhouse. As the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group — and the nation’s premier Latinx digital organizing hub — Presente.org advances social justice with technology, media, and culture.