Mother Jones: The Border Patrol is the second largest police agency in the country after the New York City Police Department, and the rapid growth in numbers has seen an exponential increase in the number of sexual assault and abuse cases against detainees.
"In line with its "enforcement only" approach to immigration, the Obama administration has increased the number of border patrol agents, most recently as part of a $600 million border bill that passed without much ado this summer. But the rapid expansion appears to have come at a cost. The Los Angeles Timesreports that there's been a surge in sexual misconduct and assault cases against Border Patrol agents—a development that some attribute to the increased militarization of the border and greater numbers of inexperienced officers.
In the last 18 months, writes the
, 'five Border Patrol agents have been accused or convicted of sex crimes, including one agent who pleaded guilty in January to raping a woman while off duty, and another who is accused of sexually assaulting a migrant while her young children were nearby in a car.'"
CNN: Because of the high rates of femicide in their home counties, Guatemalean women may be able to seek asylum in the United States. The women face an uphill battle and will have to prove that their lives are in danger, that the systematic killing of women is widespread, and that their safety is threatened.
"An appeals court ruling has raised the possibility that Guatemalan women will be able to seek asylum in the United States because of the high rates of femicide in that country.
A Guatemalan woman seeking asylum based on her belief that she would not be safe in her native country will have her case reviewed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
Lesly Yajayra Perdomo, a native of Guatemala who entered the United States illegally as a teenager to join her mother in 1991, was facing deporation in 2003.
She requested asylum "because she feared persecution as a member of a particular social group consisting of women between the ages of fourteen and forty," according to the court document. In particular, Perdomo argued that women in Guatemala "were murdered at a high rate with impunity."
According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2006, more than 1,900 Guatemalan women and girls were killed. Many of those killings involved sexual violence and "exceptional cruelty," the organization said.
New York Times: Women in Guatemala make up about 15% of murder victims, in a country which has a murder rate of about 49 per 100,000 inhabitants. A federal court is now considering political asylum claims from a Guatemalan woman who claims that being female makes her a target in her country. This ruling could open the door to asylum claims from women from other South American counties, such as Honduras, which also has a high murder rate.
"A United States federal court ruling this week could unleash a wave of political asylum claims from applicants who say being a woman from Central America is reason enough to fear for their lives.
The ruling concerns an application by a Guatemalan woman, but activists say hundreds of thousands of women from throughout the region could use it to argue that the United States should let them immigrate.
In the ruling on Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ordered immigration judges to reconsider whether Guatemalan women constituted a “particular social group” that might be persecuted. Courts have granted such status to women who fear genital cutting and to victims of domestic abuse, but two lower courts have said that Guatemalan women constituted too broad a category."
Lucinda Marshall is the Director of the Feminist Peace Network (FPN) which she founded in December, 2001 as a virtual ‘room of our own’ where women concerned about how the impending U.S. invasion of Afghanistan (and later Iraq) would impact women’s lives could share their thoughts and ideas for action in a safe, supportive space. While initially focusing on militarism, the network, with participants from around the world, has expanded its vision to also address what Marshall calls the other terrorism, the systemic global pandemic of violence against women.
MSNBC: Due to a government sterilization campaign, Uzbec women are being pressured to have surgical sterilization, and in many cases, are operated in without their consent. Government workers urge women of childbearing age to have hysterectomies or fallopian tube ligations. Rather than focus on family planning or birth control, the government is seeking to curb population growth by promoting uteral secetions as "the most reliable form of contraception."
According to rights groups, victims and health officials, hundreds of Uzbek women have been surgically sterilized without their knowledge or consent in a program designed to prevent overpopulation from fueling unrest. Human rights advocates and doctors say autocratic President Islam Karimov this year ramped up a sterilization campaign he initiated in the late 1990s.
In a decree issued in February, the Health Ministry ordered all medical facilities to "strengthen control over the medical examination of women of childbearing age." It did not specifically mandate sterilizations, but critics allege that doctors have come under direct pressure from the government to perform them: "The order comes from the very top," said Khaitboy Yakubov, head of the Najot human rights group in Uzbekistan.
In 2007, the U.N. Committee Against Torture reported a "large number" of cases of forced sterilization and removal of reproductive organs in Uzbek women, often after cesarean sections. Some women were abandoned by their husbands as a result, it said. Tradition plays a strong role in this male-dominated society, where a large family is seen as a blessing from God, and women are often blamed for childless marriages."
The United States remains one of only seven countries that have not ratified CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). CEDAW is an international agreement on basic human rights for women and the most broadly endorsed human rights treaty within the United Nations, having been ratified by over 90% of UN member states. CEDAW outlines human rights such as the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system.
Before CEDAW there was no international legal mechanism in place that called on states to assess gender inequalities in their country. The Convention draws attention to 30 articles that deal with discrimination on the basis of being a woman. The treaty is divided into six parts - all related to ensuring that women are able to enjoy their “fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,” as stated in the preamble of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].
NCRW asked leading research and policy expert Linda Tarr-Whelan to weigh in on the status of CEDAW. In addition to her responses, below is an excerpt from a previously published commentary from Linda featured on Women’s eNEws and The Huffington Post.
On Dec. 18, 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, making it a watershed day for women around the globe.
In those heady days, I was deputy assistant to President Jimmy Carter for women's concerns. We expected speedy action after he sent the treaty to the Senate.