Violence Against Women Increases in the Department of Cauca

Network for Life and Human Rights in Cauca

(Translated by Susan Tritten, CSN Volunteer Translator)

 All organizations belonging to the Network for Life and Human Rights in Cauca are sounding the alarm and condemning the increase of violence against women this year in a state where armed conflict is getting worse, militarization of the territories is growing and the presence and pressure of legal and illegal armed groups in the communities is deepening.
 The Network for Life and Human Rights has been informed of a new act of violence against women.  A community mother [a woman who cares for children who no longer live with their families, but in a government home] and leader in the district of El Hoyo in the municipality of El Tambo, VICTORIA EUGENIA MOSQUERA MOSQUERA, 35 years old, mother of three sons and one daughter, all minors, was brutally assassinated by unknown assailants, who sexually violated and tortured her.  They left her with about 25 wounds from a machete and beheaded her.  The lifeless body of Victoria Eugenia, wrapped in black bags, was found by a countryman from the area on September 12, 2010.
 The above-described event occurred in an African-American community that has been working on their Community Council charter and has registered complaints on several occasions about the social and ecological impact of large-scale mining in their region and the presence of armed groups.
 The data recorded by the Network’s Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Observatory, show that 30 women have been assassinated this year.  The majority of the bodies show signs of torture and sexual violence.  One was assassinated by the National Colombian Army; 4 were victims of confrontations among armed groups; 23 were killed by hired assassins and in gang fights, and 2 died at the hands of partners.  Compared with those recorded in 2009, these numbers show an increase of 43%.  
 Also this year they recorded the sexual violation by a paramilitary of a young girl from a rural area who was subsequently threatened and displaced.  There were four threats against the life and personal safety of women leaders:  1 by the FARC, 1 by the group “Los Rastrojos ” [a narco-paramilitary group], and 2 by unidentified perpetrators.  There have also been collective threats, issued by the Central Bloc of the Black Eagles [paramilitaries], on victims belonging to the Association of Women Miners of Palo Blanco, and the women’s groups “Country Flower” of Balsa and “The Orchids of Cascajero” of the municipality of Buenos Aires.  
 This situation in which rural and urban women and underage girls live makes clear that the degradation of armed conflict exacerbates violence toward women.  For this reason, the Network calls upon the state and national governments and institutions charged with guarding human rights and women’s rights to assume their responsibilities and to implement Resolution 1325 of the United Nations Security Council for the protection of women in areas of armed conflict.
 Likewise, the Network calls upon national and international human rights organizations that work to defend the human rights of women, to declare their opposition to these events and to continue monitoring the situation in which women live in the department of Cauca.
 Popayan, September, 14, 2010     
 -Weaving Together Life and Dignity for the Cauca Region
 *CIMA  – Center for the Unity of the Colombian Massif (Centro de Integracion del Macizo Colombiano)
   CRIC – Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca)
   ANUC  U.R. – National Farmworkers’ Association   Unity and Reconstruction (Asociacion Nacional de Usuarios Campesinos   Unidad y Reconstruccion)
   CODESCO – Association of the Dispossessed of Cauca (Corporacion de Destechados del Cauca)
   MCC – Farmworkers’ Movement of Cajibio (Movimiento Campesino de Cajibio)

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