Guatemala Heeds the Cries of Femicide Victims

 
ips gender wire
 
By Danilo Valladares
 
Demonstrators demand that the disappearance of Cristina Siekavizza and her children be investigated. 
 
GUATEMALA CITY, Jan 31, 2012 (IPS) - The relentless wave of femicides in Guatemala, which has one of the highest female murder rates in the world, has prompted actions by the government, civil society groups, and two Nobel Peace laureates to try to put a stop to this brutal violence against women, which has reached horrific proportions.
 
According to information from the Presidential Commission against Racism, 705 Guatemalan women lost their lives to gender-related violence in 2011, most of them by gunfire, up from 675 deaths the year before. 
 
This alarming situation has spurred a range of reactions from both civil society and the government. 
 
On Jan. 24, only days after his inauguration as president, right-wing retired general Otto Pérez Molina formed a \"task force to combat femicide\", which is the term used in Guatemala to denote gender- motivated killings. Women\'s organisations define femicide more precisely as the phenomenon whereby women are murdered because they are women. 
 
This task force, created under the Interior Ministry, the body in charge of domestic security, will be headed by former Prosecutor Mirna Carrera and will focus on intelligence and investigative efforts with the aim of preventing more women from being murdered. 
 
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