Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Thursday submitted a briefing [report, PDF; press release] to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [official website] detailing the failure of the Mexican government to protect women from torture, killings, sexual violence and other ill-treatment. On July 17 the UN Committee is expected to examine its combined seventh and eighth periodic report of Mexico, submitted under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [official website]. AI reported that the violence against women in the country has risen, including murders. For example, in the state of Chihuahua the homicide rate of women went up sharply from 218 in 2009 to 584 in 2010. Women are also subject to sexual violence such as rape and other forms of sexual assaults by public officials, especially in detention facilities. Pregnant women are criminally sanctioned for abortions, even resulting out of rape, which constitutes a criminal offense in the country. AI provided several recommendations including holding officials responsible for irregularities during initial investigations, ensuring an effective search mechanism for women and girls reported missing, as well as training law enforcement officials and health professionals to take sexual violence seriously.
Mexico is not the only country that has failed to protect women's rights. Women Under Siege [advocacy website] on Wednesday reported [JURIST report] finding 81 instances of sexual assault and rape by military forces in Syria since anti-government demonstrations began in March 2011. In June Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that Syrian forces are sexually abusing men, women and children who have been detained during the ongoing conflict. In January, a UN expert on violence against women urged [JURIST report] Italy to stop the violence against women. The US has also been criticized [JURIST report] for its continued prevalence of violence and discriminatory treatment of women by UN Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo [official profile, DOC]. In March 2011 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called [JURIST report] Tunisia and Egypt to ensure the protection of women's rights guaranteed by their constitutions.