Peruvian women protest gender violence, call for stringent law

November 26th, 2008 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Lima, Nov 26 (IANS) Hundreds of women in this Peruvian capital staged a march demanding punishment to the perpetrators of violence against women and stringent law to curb the social scourge, EFE reported Wednesday.About 200 women marched Tuesday in central Lima to demand that those who perpetrate sexual violence be punished and the state push for appropriate measures to curb it.

The protesters dressed in black to symbolise their march on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, carried banners saying slogans like “Careful! Machismo kills!” and “Denounce Sexual Harassment.”

“The state does not protect women from violence. The public policies don’t have adequate budgets and the cases that are reported are not brought to justice,” Beatriz Ramirez, the representative of the Flora Tristan collective, one of the 41 groups which took part in the demonstration, told reporters.

The demonstrators on their march halted in front of the Peruvian Congress, where they demanded the beginning of debate on a law defining sexual violence as a crime against humanity.

During the 1980-2000 armed conflict between the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas and the Peruvian army, thousands of women were raped on military and police bases, Ramirez said.

“A murder, an extrajudicial execution is understood as a human rights violation, but not rape,” she added.

The systematic forced sterilization of women, carried out by the 1990-2000 Alberto Fujimori government, also could become a crime and be judged accordingly if Congress approves the law in question, she said.

Meanwhile, More than five million people have signed a petition to support the UN campaign to end violence against women, a programme spearheaded by Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, the UN has said.

The petition was presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to mark Tuesday’s International Day to End Violence Against Women.

“We thought that the more names we collected, the stronger our case to make ending violence against women a top priority for governments everywhere,” Kidman said at a press conference at UN headquarters in New York.

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