Latin America is world’s most violent region for women, UN says

A group of people disguised as zombies hold a protest asking the population not to vote for presidential candidates unaware of the violence against women in the country in the upcoming election, in Tegucigalpa on November 17, 2017. (AFP / ORLANDO SIERRA)
Updated 23 November 2017

Latin America is world’s most violent region for women, UN says

PANAMA CITY: Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region in the world for women, the United Nations said Wednesday, highlighting Central America and Mexico as particularly dangerous.
In a report presented in Panama, UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) found assaults on women persisted in the region despite severe laws aimed at curbing the phenomenon.
“The issue of violence against women in Latin America is critical. It’s the most violent region in the world against women outside of conflict contexts,” Eugenia Piza-Lopez, head of UNDP’s gender mission in Latin America, told AFP.
The rate of sexual violence against women outside of relationships is the highest in the world in the region, and the second-highest for those who are in, or were in, a couple, the report stated.
Three of the 10 countries with the highest rates of rape of women and girls were in the Caribbean, it said.
Femicide — the killing of women — occurred on a “devastating scale” in Central America, it said, explaining that two out three women murdered died because of their gender.
“In some countries it has become a severe crisis. In the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Mexico the problem of femicide and violence against women has reached epidemic levels, in many cases with links to organized crime,” Piza-Lopez said.
Central America’s Northern Triangle is considered the most dangerous area in the world outside war zones, mainly because of rampant gangs and drug cartels.
The UN report noted that 24 of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have laws against domestic violence, but only nine of them have passed legislation that tackles a range of forms of other violence against women in public or private.
It also said that 16 of the countries had femicide on the books, and a few punished newer types of crimes, such as cybercrime, political violence, or acid attacks.
Despite those advances, though, the “plague” of violence continues to be a threat to human rights, public health and public safety, it said.
The UN recommended strengthening institutions and policies in the region, and allocating resources to empower women. It also advised that “patriarchal” cultural norms that maintain gender inequality needed to be addressed.
The report added one third of women worldwide have been a victim of violence in their relationship or of sexual violence by people outside their relationship.


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 29 min 43 sec ago

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”