Guatemala: Information on spousal violence, including police intervention, legal recourse and support groups for abused women
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 April 1994|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GTM17064.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guatemala: Information on spousal violence, including police intervention, legal recourse and support groups for abused women, 1 April 1994, GTM17064.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab7fc.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Please find attached three documents that describe women's organizations in Guatemala that provide different forms of support, and a 1993 report on the situation of women in Guatemala that includes a section on sexual and domestic violence.
The United States Department of State's Country Reports 1993 provides the following information on the requested subject:
CONAVIGUA [a widows' organization, described in detail in the attached special issue of the Human Rights Internet Reporter] reported that violence against women, including domestic violence, remains common but receives little attention. There is no specific law against domestic violence, although it is considered to fall under other statutes. Criminal sexual violence often goes unreported by victims, and relatively few rape cases come to court. The ombudsman's office has only recently begun collecting statistics on this problem (Feb. 1994, 455).
According to one report, "a number of organizations specifically centred on women's issues have been created within some of the major union federations and within the popular movement, addressing issues of discrimination and violence against women" (IWRAW Dec. 1993, 5). The same report adds the following:
Since 1988 several women's organizations have formed around gender issues, particularly the problem of violence against women. One of these groups studied the gender violence reported in daily newspapers. They concluded that without a transformation of the political violence in Guatemala, reality for women will continue to be conditioned by gender violence in the home, the workplace and public institutions (ibid., 8).
According to the Mexico-based Centro Exterior de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala (CERIGUA), in 1992, 67 women were killed, 12 of them minors (Hoja de Datos Aug. 1993, 3). Although the available report does not clarify the source of violence, a press report stated that, according to the Oficina Nacional de la Mujer (National Bureau of Women), approximately 40 per cent of women killed are murdered by their partners (ibid.). In March 1993 a Guatemalan publication stated that "according to a World Health Organization study, 48 percent of all Guatemalan women suffer physical and emotional abuse in the home" (Central America Report 19 Mar. 1993, 79).
The coordinator of the Consejo Nacional de Mujeres de Guatemala (Guatemalan National Council of Women) stated that a telephone "hotline" was recently established to allow women to report cases of domestic abuse or violence (CNMG 11 Apr. 1994). The coordinator stated that seminars and conferences are part of an ongoing effort to educate women on the legal and other possible avenues available to confront domestic violence, and that the matter is increasingly subject to public debate in Guatemala (ibid). The source was unable to specify by telephone the precise legal provisions and government or non-government support available to women who suffer domestic violence. She stated, however, that legislation that can be applied to this type of crime does exist, and a number of organizations work to assist or educate women on the subject and advocate change in society (ibid.).
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Central America Report [Guatemala]. 19 March 1993. "Women in War and Peace."
Consejo Nacional de Mujeres de Guatemala (CNMG), Guatemala. 14 April 1994. Telephone interview with coordinator.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993. 1994. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.
Hoja de Datos [Santiago]. August 1993. "Guatemala."
International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW). December 1993. 1994 IWRAW to CEDAW Country Reports on Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Japan, Libya, Madagascar, New Zealand, Norway, Senegal, Zambia. Minnesota: Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Encyclopedia of Women's Associations Worldwide. 1993. Edited by Jacqueline K. Barrett. London: Gale Research International Ltd., pp. 131-33.
Human Rights Internet Reporter-Special Issue: Human Rights Directory: Latin America and the Caribbean. January 1990. Laurie S. Wiseberg et al. Massachussets/Santiago: Human Rights Internet/Programa de Derechos Humanos de la Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, pp. 307-08.
Barry, Tom. Inside Guatemala. 1993. Albuquerque: The Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Center, pp. 161-68.
Women's Movements of the World: An International Directory and Reference Guide. 1988. Edited by Sally Shreir. London: Longman Publishing Group, pp. 115-17.