I wasn’t enthusiastic about it at first, but to my surprise, I met young men and women from the same background as my own, with the same concerns. We started to look together for solutions, read books, make hypotheses, and try to change the world. In 2008, Guatemala passed a law, establishing special tribunals and sentencing guidelines for violence against women. However, violence against women continues as well as flawed investigations, enabling to perpetrators and victims alike that women’s lives do not matter.
- Despite the strength and resilience of women like Juana, gender-based violence is still prevalent in communities around the world.
- In Guatemala, women activists experience at least one attack each day on average, and an estimated eighty-three percent of these activists are land and natural resource defenders.
- This was achieved through creation of local networks (REDMISAR; Network of Indigenous women’s organisations for Reproductive Health, Nutrition and Education) and after receipt of technical and funding support from the USAID funded Health and Education Policy Project (HEP+).
- Since the signing of the Peace Accords, however, economic concerns have come to rival security concerns as the primary motivating factor for Guatemalans to migrate.
She remembers one occasion five years ago when she attended a patient who lived far away from the health centre. The mother’s husband didn’t want his wife and baby to leave the house. Ixcotoyac managed to call the doctor, who came at her request and insisted that mother and baby go to Dating Guatemala City hospital, where both received treatment and survived. The national maternal mortality rate in Guatemala is 140 per 100,000 births, compared to nine in the UK. In the departments of Totonicapán and Quetzaltenango, where the Guardian visited, maternal mortality continues to be an issue.
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See what our community members are saying about our work and learn more about the impact we’re making. WJI’s Adolescent Girls Program works to prevent early and forced marriage through the implementation of community-based interventions and protection mechanisms.
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The problem, however, is that the enforcement of such laws is often weak, owing to a general culture of impunity that characterises the region. Therefore, most of the protection the laws offer remains theoretical and without practical application.
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At the same time, indigenous women around the country have been fighting for justice for the use of rape as a weapon of war by military and paramilitary forces during the armed conflict. Firstly, having existing legislation and mechanisms that required and supported citizen participation including monitoring has been key.
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Those responsible for the planning of Myrna’s murder, General Edgar Augusto Godoy Gaitán, Colonel Juan Valencia Osorio, and Colonel Juan Guillermo Oliva Carrera, all applied for immunity under this new law, and thankfully, their requests were rejected. Finally, on March 3, 2000 Guatemalan courts recognized the government’s role in Myrna’s assassination. On October 3, 2002 Valencia Osorio was convicted of ordering Myrna’s assassination and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Discovering her remains was one of the most important discoveries for Guatemala’s ancient Maya civilization. Historians believe she was the most powerful person in the kingdom of Calakmul, a Mayan community opposed to the influential King ‘El Zotz’ ruling the Tikal kingdom.