Serious and widespread violations of the basic rights of women, including violence, are longstanding and commonplace throughout the Americas.
In 1979 the United Nations adopted a treaty which aims to end the discrimination at the heart of the human rights abuses that are the daily reality for women around the world. The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women optimistically notes that “the establishment of the new international economic order based on equity and justice will contribute significantly towards the promotion of equality between men and women.” The UN has gone on to finalize a Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. The Organization of American States has adopted the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women. But serious human rights violations and pervasive violence against women continue in every corner of the Americas.
A complex web of factors fuels violence against women, including gender discrimination, impunity, poverty and racism. Amnesty International is concerned that inadequate attention has been paid to the degree to which trade and investment policies can contribute to increasing economic inequality and vulnerability of women to violence. Far from realizing the UN’s hope of an economic order based on equity and justice, new economic policies are a backdrop to ongoing, serious human rights violations and violence for women throughout the Americas.