Law & Governance

Femicide Rate Spikes In Turkey And Mexico, Leaders Cut Legal Protection For Women

BP World Bureau | Jul 24 2020 10:29:44 AM
Image credits: Twitter

Turkey and Mexico have faced flak from social and human rights activists over the increase in violence against women (VAW), mostly in the form of femicides.

Femicides, the intentional killing of women or girls because they are females, is also deemed as a cultural thing because most of the perpetrators are boyfriends, husbands, fathers, or close relatives like an uncle. 

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has launched a swingeing austerity programme as part of his response to the pandemic, cut funds to women’s shelters. He has also proposed to withdraw state funding for women’s shelters operated by NGOs, suggesting that women fleeing violence can be given cash instead. 

As per the reports, the first half of 2020 crimes such as femicides increasing by 7.7%.

He is also known for his insensitive handling of women's safety issues saying that 90% of calls to the emergency services over domestic violence were “false." He added that women were never "this" protected in the country. 

Statistics claimed that during the lockdown, calls to 911 emergency services and helpline operated by the Mexico City government have remained high. 

National Network of Shelters director Wendy Figueroa slammed the president for doubting women's situations. 

The nation also saw a strike against femicides and VAW for the first time in March, but the president dismissed as a right-wing plot against his leadership. 

Despite that, more women were murdered in Mexico in April, during the lockdown, which is also a record number in Mexico. 

In Turkey, the recent murder of a 27-year-old student Pınar Gültekin by her ex-boyfriend Cemal Metin Avci led to outrage. 

The campaign group We Will Stop Femicide, which began tracking murders of women and girls by relatives in the country, especially through honour killings, which is rampant in conservative spaces. In 2019, 474 women were murdered, mostly by partners and relatives. This number is regarded as the highest rate in a decade.

The outrage is happening amidst Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) attempts tried to roll back legislation, saying that it is leading to an increase in divorce rate and affecting traditional families and values. 

Major politicians believed that women don't deserve equal rights to men as "they are not men." 

AKP deputy chair Numan Kurtulmuş slammed the Istanbul Convention, a groundbreaking legal framework designed to protect victims and effectively prosecute offenders, citing the above reasons. 

Fidan Ataselim, We Will Stop Femicide’s general secretary, said that femicide rate is also due to more women earning rights to urban and public spaces as well as them gaining access to universities and workplaces. 

Girls and women are killed for citing their right to work. There are also reported of men killing their wives for not giving birth to a male child. 

A 2009 study on prevention strategies, 42% of Turkish women aged between 15–60 had suffered some physical or sexual violence in their marriage or intimate partnership.