At least 47 women were killed in the country in the January-February 2020 bi-monthly period. Among the victims were two teenagers, aged 10 and 16, who were murdered in the state of Mérida. The other murders were recorded in Aragua, Carabobo, Delta Amacuro, Falcon, Miranda, Trujillo, Vargas and Zulia. Most of these violent acts were perpetrated by the partners or ex-partners of the victims.
The number of cases of feminicide that have occurred in the country, in addition to the death of a 23-year-old woman whose mutilated and partially charred body was found inside a sack in the El Hueco sector of the Antímano parish in Caracas, is evidence of the lack of protection and vulnerability in which many women in Venezuela find themselves.
Faced with this scourge which claimed the lives of several women in the national territory in 2019, the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights and Victim Care, Humberto Prado, expressed his concern and highlighted the need to make the situation of this particularly vulnerable group visible and indicated that it is imperative to put in place a protection and support mechanism for the victims of growing domestic and intra-family violence, to ensure the life and well-being of potential victims.
“It is clear that in Venezuela there is a context of structural discrimination against women. A situation that is not different from that of the rest of the countries in the Latin American region, with the Venezuelan case being one of the most awful due to the context of complex humanitarian emergency in which the population is immersed,” said the presidential commissioner for human rights.
According to data collected last year in Venezuela, 37.02% of women said they had suffered some kind of violence, while 18.67% reported being victims of verbal and psychological violence. 16.56% of the women claimed to be victims of physical violence and 1.82% reported sexual violence. In 58.6% of the cases the perpetrators were their current partners, in 7.7% the previous partners, in 18.7% were direct relatives, according to Amnesty International data.
The humanitarian emergency has contributed to the increase in sexual violence due to the illegal trafficking of persons, particularly women and girls, in entities such as Anzoátegui, Miranda, Táchira, Vargas and Zulia. In the Venezuelan Guyana region, specifically in the Arco Minero, the sexual exploitation of indigenous people has been highlighted.
Also abroad, Venezuelan migrant and refugee women are at great risk of becoming victims of human trafficking networks (…) In fact, these women, if they go to trial, have only a 4% chance of obtaining a conviction. This means that only 0.000004% of the reported aggressors answer to the judicial system, as explained by Commissioner Prado.
Abroad, the figure was 167 feminicides, of which 57 occurred in Colombia, making it the first on the list of countries where Venezuelan women were murdered. (Of the 57 killed, 9 were minors.)
The commissioner said that, “if the global average in the increase of domestic violence cases is due to the quarantine because of the Pandemic, it is extremely worrying that up to date the debate and the pertinent solutions to stop this scourge have not been promoted.”
On January 29, 2020, the legitimate National Assembly made an agreement which established that it is necessary to demand that the State comply with the mandates of international organizations in relation to gender violence. A joint commission was created between the Permanent Commission on Domestic Policy and the Sub-commission on Women and Gender Equality to monitor feminicide, guarantee support for programs, campaigns and projects related to gender violence, create a line of work with civil society, disseminate and promote the complaints center created by the Sub-commission on Women and Gender Equality in conjunction with the NGO Transparencia Venezuela, and publicize the agreement.
The commission calls for compliance with the relevant reparations in the IACHR’s Lopez Soto vs. Venezuela case, and also demands that the regulations of the Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free from Violence be drafted for effective compliance, including protocols for the investigation and care of women victims of violence. It advises that training and courses be held from a gender perspective on standards of due diligence and prosecution. It also calls for the proper functioning of the courts on violence against women and for the implementation of a system for the collection of data and figures on violence against women by the relevant State body.
Finally, they believe that it would be appropriate to disseminate videos on social networks that instruct on basic self-defence and possible preventive measures, and to coordinate the holding of workshops for the public on gender violence, how to recognize it and report it by appropriate means.