Guatemala: Number of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights being killed on the rise

The number of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights being murdered in Guatemala has risen for the fourth consecutive year since 2001 as the government fails to effectively investigate and punish those responsible, Amnesty International reveals in a report published today.

More than 2,200 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls have been brutally murdered in Guatemala since 2001. In 2005, 665 deaths were registered and between January and May of this year, 299 killings of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have been registered.

Amnesty International’s Guatemala researcher, Sebastian Elgueta said:

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s murder rate in Guatemala is on the rise because there is no reason for the murderers to stop: they know that they will get away with it.”

According to Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudsman, up to 70 per cent of murders of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are not investigated and no arrests were made in 97 per cent of cases.

In the few cases that are investigated, the process is usually flawed – forensic evidence is not properly gathered and preserved, few resources are allocated to each case and witnesses are denied protection.

Amnesty International's report also highlighted that in hundreds of cases, victims are blamed for their deaths.

On May 5, 2006, Guatemala's Chief of Police stated publicly that in order to prevent the murders of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights it is necessary to “ask them not to get involved in street gangs and to avoid violence within the family, which we as police cannot do.”

Amnesty International’s Sebastian Elgueta said:

“Past governmental initiatives, such as the development of new legislation, have yet to have any real impact on the numbers of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights killed, or the ability of police and prosecutors to effectively investigate and bring to justice those responsible. Meanwhile the killings of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights continue to rise.

“The best prevention campaign the authorities can develop is to improve the quality of investigations: Showing that the lives of Guatemalan Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have real value.”

Amnesty International calls on President Berger to take urgent steps to:

· Improve coordination and cooperation between state agencies

· Strengthen the Public Ministry's Witness Protection Programme

· Guarantee the availability of human and financial resources for the National Forensic Institute.

Background Information

On 4 July 2005, 26-year-old Clara Fabiola García died after being shot in Chimaltenango, south Guatemala.

Two years before, on 7 August 2003, Clara Fabiola witnessed the murders of 15-year-old Ana Berta and 18-year-old Elsa Mariela Loarca Hernández in Guatemala City. Her testimony was key to securing the 100-year prison sentence against gang member Oscar Gabriel Morales Ortiz, alias “Small”, in February 2005.

According to media reports, on receiving his sentence “Small” threatened Clara Fabiola García that she would pay for testifying against him.

No one has been prosecuted for Clara Fabiola's murder.

Amnesty International’s report reviews the development of cases of killings of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights across Guatemala since the publication of “No protection, no justice: killings of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Guatemala” in June 2005 and included 14 recommendations to President Oscar Berger and other state institutions.

Year Number of deaths
registered

2002 163
2003 383
2004 527
2005 665
Jan – May 2006 299

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