By Cintia Garcia
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
Montevideo, Uruguay—The Uruguayan Senate with thirty-one votes has unanimously voted in a favor of a bill that will make femicide a criminal offence. The bill is accompanied with two penal codes that will now be submitted and voted on in the House of Representatives. Furthermore, the senate is also working to approve a project that will target gender violence by modifying the penal code.
If a femicide is committed, an individual will be sent to prison for thirty years. The bill is a result of the increase of femicides in Uruguay. In February alone, there were five recorded femicides in a 37-day period. The rise in femicides led to large demonstrations in Uruguay. In addition to condemning the killings, demonstrators called for a femicide law that would make the killings a crime. The chairwoman of the Gender Equity and Diversity Commission at the Association of bank Employees stated, “We can’t say violence is over and decree it. We will not end the violence with law. But, we do understand every grain of sand, every decision we can make, and every unit of organization is a step towards a better society.”
The Frente Amplio and the National Party, two of the nations leading political parties that make up 80% of the Uruguayan parliament, called for action. They revisited a bill that was written in and sent to the senate in December of 2015 addressing Femicides—the bill has been dormant ever since. The gender violence bill was also submitted to the senate in April of 2016 with no action. Neighboring nations, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil, have all instituted a penal code that criminalizes femicides. In many of these nations, femicides have been considered a crime of passion which is treated in a lesser degree. School teacher, Mary Nunez, stated, “We want femicide to be a specifically enshrined in our law, because in our law, there is only homicide. And homicide, as a word says, comes from man. And we are not men, we are women and men kill us.”
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