PBI-Guatemala meets with organizations in Petén that challenge gender-based violence

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On December 4, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted on its Facebook page, “Yesterday we met with the representatives of Women of Petén Ixqik, the administering organization CAIMUS in Petén. We are concerned about the situation of violence against women, as well as the security situation of the members of the organizations that serve victims and survivors of gender-based violence.”

This past September, IM-Defensoras reported, “On Tuesday, August 27, members of the Petén Ixqik Women’s Association arrived at the facilities of the Integral Support Center for Women Survivors of Violence (CAIMUS) in Petén and found the doors of the offices open, with indications of having occurred a raid of them. The Association filed a criminal complaint with the Public Ministry.”

That post adds, “This incident is extremely worrying, as women survivors of violence and relatives of victims of femicide come to CAIMUS to ask for support, finding in their interior sensitive documentation that compromises the safety of both these women and the members of the association.”

CNN has reported, “A 2012 Small Arms Survey says gender-based violence is at epidemic levels in Guatemala and the country ranks third in the killings of women worldwide. According to the United Nations, two women are killed there every day.”

“Military and paramilitary groups that committed barbaric acts during the war were integrated back into society without any repercussions. Many remain in power, and they have not changed the way they view women.”

“In many cases, femicide — the killing of a woman simply because of her gender — is carried out with shocking brutality with some of the same strategies used during the war, including rape, torture and mutilation.”

That CNN article also notes, “According to María Machicado Terán, the representative of U.N. women in Guatemala, ‘80% of men believe that women need permission to leave the house, and 70% of women surveyed agreed.’ This prevailing culture of machismo and an institutionalized acceptance of brutality against women leads to high rates of violence.”

PBI-United Kingdom has noted, “Although we do not accompany in this department, every six months PBI-Guatemala undertakes a visit as a way of following up on the human rights situation.”

It adds, “PBI-Guatemala holds meetings with different social actors, to advocate around various problematic issues: protected areas (evictions, agrarian conflicts illegal detentions, restricted freedom of movement); militarization; women’s rights; megaprojects (tourist and investment projects, hydroelectric dams, etc.); and palm oil.”

Petén is the northernmost department in Guatemala. Its capital city Flores is situated about 485 kilometres north of Guatemala City.

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