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Senate Clears Resolution Condemning Violence Against Women in Guatemala

On March 10, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, a resolution (S. Res. 178) expressing the sympathy of the Senate to the families of women and girls murdered in Guatemala, and encouraging the United States to work with Guatemala to bring an end to these crimes. The House passed a similar resolution on May 1 (see The Source, 5/4/07).

Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • since 2001, more than 2,000 women and girls have been murdered in Guatemala;
  • most of the victims are women ranging in age from 18 to 30, with many of the cases involving abduction, sexual violence, or brutal mutilation;
  • while the overall murder rate in Guatemala has increased substantially, the rate at which women have been murdered in Guatemala has increased at an alarming rate, almost doubling from 2001 to 2006;
  • from 2001 to 2006, there were only 20 convictions for the murders of women and girls;
  • the special prosecutor for Crimes Against Women of the government of Guatemala has reported that her office has reviewed approximately 800 incidents to domestic violence per month, with some of those cases ending in murder, and that deaths could have been prevented if the legal system of Guatemala provided for prison sentences in cases of domestic violence; and
  • many countries in Latin America face significant challenges in combating violence against women, and international cooperation is essential in addressing this serious issue.

The resolution expresses Congress’ “sincerest condolences and deepest sympathy to the families of women and girls murdered in Guatemala and recognizes their courageous struggle in seeking justice for the victims; expresses the solidarity of the people of the United States with the people of Guatemala in the face of these tragic and senseless acts; and…urges the government of Guatemala to recognize domestic violence and sexual harassment as criminal acts and to provide the resources and commitment necessary to adequately enforce justice for crimes against women.”

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