Womens Justice Center

News Round-up ~ Resumen de noticias


This paper examines the current state of knowledge on the impact of domestic and family violence (DFV) on parenting. It considers how often DFV occurs among parents; the impact of DFV on parenting; the methods and behaviours used by perpetrators to disrupt the mother-child relationship; and interventions used to strengthen and support a healthy mother-child relationship.

The paper finds that approximately one third or more of parents in the general community experience DFV, but there is limited evidence on DFV among marginalised parent populations such as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), rural, disabled and same-sex parents. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children suffer considerable DFV, but the true prevalence of abuse among parents is hard to determine due to a lack of reporting, limited screening for DFV, and methodological issues.

Most evidence suggests that DFV during pregnancy can result in poor pregnancy outcomes and reduced attachment. It also impacts on an abused woman’s ability to parent effectively; women will attend to their abusive partner’s demands and needs, and control and discipline children to keep them safe. Attachments/relationships can improve over time, and parenting and child health outcomes also improve once DFV stops.

There is limited information on the parenting style of abusive fathers, but researchers and victims have characterised them as authoritarian, under-involved, self-centred and manipulative. They aim to isolate, control and undermine women’s authority to parent and have meaningful relationships with their children. The paper recommends supportive care for mothers experiencing DFV and their children as an alternative to reporting all DFV to child protection services.

Home visiting programs have been shown to be effective in reducing child maltreatment, improving parenting skills and children’s behaviour, but not necessarily effective in preventing or reducing DFV. New programs with an additional DFV focus are currently being assessed. Victims of abuse need more intense and targeted therapy; the paper recommends psychotherapeutic interventions with combined mother-child sessions as they have shown good results. Interventions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families show client satisfaction but are yet to show other effective outcomes.


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A Film By Marcela Zamora Chamorro

Mexico/El Salvador, 2015, 60 minutes, Color, DVD, Spanish, Subtitled 
Order No. W161177


THE ROOM OF BONES follows the passage of four mothers in the Institute for Legal Medicine as they search for their children’s remains in the midst of three decades of social violence in El Salvador. Across Mexico and Central America, the last twenty years have been plagued by a meteoric and troubling rise in desaparecidos, or missing persons. Mass murder has become all too common, and the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown as the relationship between governments, gangs, and other criminal organizations is shrouded in mystery. As civil and legal systems have failed to thoroughly investigate the crisis, families of victims are left to seek closure and justice on their own. Salvadoran filmmaker Marcela Zamora profiles a group of forensic anthropologists in her home country tasked with the noble but gruesome work of unearthing human remains and matching them with names of desaparecidos. The result is a harrowing portrait of a region in crisis.

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A film by Alicia Calderón

Mexico, 2015, 74 minutes, Color, DVD, Spanish, English subtitles 
Order No. W161171


More than 20,000 people disappeared in Mexico during the horrifically violent war on drugs waged by former President Calderon. With each missing person, a family is left behind in a desperate search to get answers from a government that is suspiciously ambivalent. Putting a human face on the most harrowing of statistics, director Alicia Calderon courageously captures the stories of three mothers - Natividad, Guadalupe, and Margarita - as they search for their children who have gone missing. One mother constantly retraces the last steps of her son, combing empty fields for his body; another travels all the way to Washington, DC, to plead for US intervention; and the last simply tries to forget the emptiness and raise her now-motherless grandson. In one of the most powerful documentaries about the human casualties of the Mexican narco-wars, these women’s stories are among the many that stand for truth and justice for the 26,000 missing people in Mexico today. With their lives now completely devoted to seeking out the truth, they pursue any avenue possible, in the face of an indifferent government which considers their loved ones to be "collateral casualties" of the drug war.

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ruthannrobsonWith the unanticipated death of Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, the United States Supreme Court has become a more hospitable forum for feminist causes. While Justice Scalia was not alone in his hostility to feminism—remaining Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas are equally unsympathetic—Scalia proved himself particularly rancorous during his three decades on the high court bench. In opinion after opinion, Scalia expressed views inconsistent with women’s equality: he believed that an historically all-male military academy should be able to continue to exclude women; that the constitution did not protect a woman’s right to abortion or her right to be free from domestic violence; and that the constitution should not prohibit attorneys from excusing potential jurors based on their gender. He was an ardent foe of sexual minority rights, contending that the constitution did not protect against the criminalization of same-sex intimacies or the prohibition of same-sex marriages. He believed a state should be able to prevent local laws that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation. He did credit theconstitution as having rights for some: if you claimed to be “disadvantaged” by an affirmative action program; or if you wanted to purchase, own, or use firearms; or if you challenged environmental regulations on your beach front property, then Scalia’s constitution proved most accommodating.


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Document URL: 


Publication Date:  January 2016
Annotation:  In order to determine the effectiveness of efforts to counter human trafficking at the State level, this study examined the impact of various relevant State laws, the effectiveness of prosecutorial strategies for obtaining convictions of traffickers under these laws, and ways to increase public awareness and expectations regarding the countering of human trafficking.


State laws that increase the fiscal and bureaucratic support for anti-trafficking enforcement have increased arrests for human trafficking. Laws that mandate data collection on human trafficking or the reporting of human trafficking have had minimal effect. Most States have criminalized human trafficking, but have not increased their fiscal support or civil remedies to counter human trafficking. It is more important that State human trafficking legislation be comprehensive across all categories rather than being harsh in only one category. Requiring the National Human Trafficking Hotline number to be posted in public places is the most important provision for increasing the number of human trafficking arrests, although this has not been linked to increased prosecutions for human trafficking. The creation and support of task forces to counter human trafficking are the strongest predictors of both State prosecutions of human-trafficking suspects as well as suspects for other types of targeted criminal offenses. Civil provisions are less effective in predicting human-trafficking arrests and prosecutions than State investment measures; safe harbor and civil actions are two civil remedies that strongly predict arrest and prosecutions. When becoming aware of the nature of human trafficking, the public is concerned, but they see no connection between their own attitudes and behaviors and whether they impact human trafficking. This analysis includes an examination of factors that have impacted the outcomes of specific cases of human trafficking.15 tables, 14 figures, 29 references, and appended study instruments

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Entrevista a una de las fundadoras de la primera Asociación de Mujeres Juezas de España (AMJE) que se integrará en la Asociación Internacional de Mujeres Juezas (IAWJ)

Madrid, 11 febrero. 16. AmecoPress. Gloria Poyatos es una de las doce fundadoras de la Asociación de Mujeres Juezas de España (AMJE), creada casi cincuenta años después de la ley (Ley 92/1966), que derogó la prohibición del acceso de las mujeres a la carrera judicial, y que será presentada en Madrid en la jornada ‘No hay justicia sin igualdad’ el próximo 26 de febrero. Casi cincuenta años después de estar legalizadas, las juezas representan ya el 52% de la carrera, aunque no haya ni rastro de ellas en lo que algunas llaman “el olimpo judicial”: cuentan con un escaso 13% de representación en el Tribunal Supremo - 11 mujeres frente a 68 hombres-, y sólo una de las diecisiete presidencias de los Tribunales Superiores de Justicia de las CCAA tiene nombre de mujer. Pero la AMJE no solo busca transformar esta situación, sino que defiende los derechos humanos en general, y especialmente los derechos de las mujeres y las niñas de todo el mundo. Como primera aportación, un total de 12 propuestas de justicia hacia la igualdad, una por cada jueza promotora de este proyecto asociativo, construidas para combatir de un modo claro y directo todas las variedades de discriminación de género que se proyectan, sin pudor, en una sociedad todavía pensada y dirigida en masculino.


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Texas may soon classify two immigration detention centers as “child-care facilities” to circumvent a judge’s 2015 ruling that ordered them shut down. A new rule submittedto the state’s Health and Human Services Commission would create a new category of child-care license that would keep family detention centers open in Karnes City and Dilley that currently house migrant women and their children caught crossing the Mexican border.

The rule has been in the works since September, as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services grappled with a decision from federal Judge Dolly Gee that came down in July. Gee ruled that the country’s three family detention centers (the third, which is currently being shut down, is in Pennsylvania) release the children they were hold in “deplorable conditions” that “failed to meet even the minimal standard” for a safe and clean environment for children.

The subpar conditions, she wrote, violated 1997’s Flores v. Meese settlement agreement, a class action suit that set standards for how unaccompanied migrant children stopped at the border should be treated—namely, that they must be held in licensed facilities. Gee’s decision applied that standard to children apprehended with their parents, too. At the time, there were about 1,400 children and parents in the country’s three family detention centers.


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The executive directors of the National Network of Abortion Funds and the Abortion Care Network discuss the challenges and opportunities they have faced so far as leaders of abortion access organizations in the context of one of the most hostile cultural and political climates since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The executive directors of the National Network of Abortion Funds and the Abortion Care Network discuss the challenges and opportunities they have faced so far as leaders of abortion access organizations in the context of one of the most hostile cultural and political climates since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. (Yamani Hernandez / Nikki Madsen)

In this exchange, Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and Nikki Madsen, executive director of the Abortion Care Network, discuss the challenges and opportunities they have faced so far as leaders of abortion access organizations in the context of one of the most hostile cultural and political climates since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The two leaders also highlight the importance of working across movements to build momentum around expanding abortion care. “In order to rise above the challenges that 2016 will surely present, we will need to continue to work with and alongside movements like Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15, in addition to lifting up abortion care providers and seekers across the country,” said Hernandez.

Madsen added: “Working in partnership and building bridges across movements for health, rights, and justice, and prioritizing the voices and needs of those who face the greatest injustice, will create the kind of robust and broad movement that may finally be effective in confronting the root of our collective oppression, and actually achieve the goal of true reproductive justice.”


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A member of its commission on protecting children was asked to take a leave of absence last weekend.

Peter Saunders talks during a news conference in Rome on Feb. 6. (Photo: Tony Gentile/Reuters)
The Vatican on Monday announced a new series of policies and projects following a weeklong assembly of a commission aimed at preventing child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. But the ousting from the Pope Francis–appointed panel of one of its most outspoken members has cast doubt on its commitment to reform. 

The Vatican's press statement did not mention its decision on Saturday to suspend Peter Saunders, a survivor of clergy abuse who had been enlisted to join the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Critics say the controversy, which comes amid widespread scrutiny of the appointment of a Chilean bishop accused of concealing abuse, is only the latest example of the church's continued need for increased accountability and external oversight.

"This notion that the church needs new policies and panels and procedures and protocols—it's really just smart PR, but it's also very, very, very disingenuous," said David Clohessy, a survivor of clergy abuse and founder of the national support and advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. The commission's efforts "on paper look great," he said. "It's just that they're never enforced."



*** Despite Zika Outbreak, Catholic Leaders Say Contraceptives ‘Not a Solution’ 

*** Pope Hope? You Be the Judge



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   Grupos civiles exigen visión de género en ley general

CIMACFoto: César Martínez López

Por: Angélica Jocelyn Soto Espinosa

Debido a que en sólo dos años aumentó 255.8 por ciento el número de reportes de mujeres adolescentes desaparecidas en México, grupos civiles recolectan firmas en la plataforma virtual Change.org para que el Congreso de la Unión defina medidas específicas y con visión de género para la infancia, en la nueva legislación sobre personas desaparecidas.
La petición, que empezó a circular esta semana, fue difundida por la Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México (Redim), que criticó que la iniciativa de Ley General para Prevenir y Sancionar los Delitos en Materia de Desaparición de Personas, que envió el Ejecutivo federal el pasado 11 de diciembre al Senado, no reconoce como víctimas a niñas, niños y adolescentes.
Las organizaciones civiles por los derechos de la infancia y que respaldan esta petición argumentaron que se requieren medidas específicas de protección, pues 30 por ciento de las desapariciones en el país corresponden a personas menores de 18 años de edad.
De acuerdo con datos del Registro Nacional de Personas Extraviadas y Desaparecidas (RNPED), entre 2006 y 2014 se reportaron 22 mil 374 personas desaparecidas, de las que 6 mil 725 tienen entre 0 y 17 años de edad.


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Displaying image001.jpgDisplaying image001.jpgDisplaying image001.jpgDirect Link to Full 6-Page Document: http://ella.practicalaction.org/wp-content/uploads/files/130915_GOV_GenVio_SPOTKNOW3.pdf

This Spotlight presents some of the most important publications documenting the various manifestations of violence against women in Latin America. In particular, these publications provide an overview of gender violence in different spheres (domestic, urban, etc.), the impacts of violence on women’s lives, and different measures adopted by Latin American countries to prevent, address and eradicate violence against women.


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Limited information exists on the relationship between sexual violence victimization and health among African American women. Using data from a community sample of African American women, we examine the association between current health and lifetime experiences of sexual violence. In-person interviews were completed in 2010. Among interviewees, 53.7% of women reported rape victimization and 44.8% reported sexual coercion in their lifetime. Victims of rape or sexual coercion were significantly more likely to report depression and posttraumatic stress disorder during their lifetime. Among victims whose first unwanted sexual experience was rape or sexual coercion, perpetrators were mostly acquaintances and intimate partners, and over one third were injured and needed services. More attention is needed on the health needs of African American women and their association to victimization status.


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From 21 to 27 January 2016, the confirmation of charges hearing in the Dominic Ongwen case was held at the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is an important case for many reasons, one of which is this post’s subject: the case includes a high number of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) charges, which, if confirmed, would be the broadest range of such crimes ever to come to trial at the ICC. It would certainly illustrate that the positive trend in this respect that started with the Ntaganda case continues, and would consolidate important case law on these crimes.

Dominic Ongwen, an alleged senior commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is charged with responsibility for 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the LRA in various locations in Northern Uganda from at least 1 July 2002 to 31 December 2005. Importantly, the charges include eight counts of SGBV: rape, torture, and sexual slavery as both war crimes and crimes against humanity, and forced marriage and enslavement as crimes against humanity. This makes it an important case for gender justice at the ICC. The case has the highest number of SGBV charges to date.

However, if the Court’s track-record for sexual violence charges is something to go by, we are in for a rainy day. With Ngudjolo’s acquittal in 2012, and Katanga’s partial convictionin 2014 excluding sexual violence crimes, there have thus far been no successful convictions for SGBV crimes at the ICC. This is a disappointing record for a Court that was heralded as a “model for gender justice” when its Statute entered into force.


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For this week’s Feministing Five, we spoke to Swapna Reddy, current law student and immigrant rights’ advocate. She recently co-authored a letter to the Obama Administration that calls for an end to the government mistreatment of Central American immigrants. Feministing, along with many others, endorsed the letter, so we were especially keen to learn more about one of its co-authors!

Swapna_Reddy_2The letter specifically addresses how a high proportion of Central American mothers targeted by ICE raids have suffered severe sexual abuse and violence. The resulting trauma that these women and their children have experienced, Swapna and others argue, makes them eligible for protection under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:

These women and children were traumatized both in their home countries and then here in the U.S.—detained at our border under inhumane condition. As such, many of them are suffering from the effects of this trauma, including anxiety, PTSD and depression. They are an extremely vulnerable population and should be treated as such.

When we checked back in with Swapa two weeks after our initial interview, we were thrilled to learn that her letter and work had already generated awareness and initial action in the federal government. You’ll see that exciting update in the interview below.

And now, the Feministing Five with Swapna Reddy!

Suzanna Bobadilla: You’ve recently co-authored a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch decrying immigration raids that started earlier this month. Could you describe the letter’s details and the story behind its creation? 


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from feministlawprofessors.com

Allison Anna Tait (Richmond) has posted to SSRN her essay, The Return of Coverture, 114 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions (2016).  Here is the abstract:

Once, the notion that husbands and wives were equal partners in marriage seemed outlandish and unnatural. Today, the marriage narrative has been reversed and the prevailing attitude is that marriage has become an increasingly equitable institution. This is the story that Justice Kennedy told in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which he described marriage as an evolving institution that has adapted in response to social change such that discriminatory marriage rules no longer apply. Coverture exemplifies this change: marriage used to be deeply shaped by coverture rules and now it is not. While celebrating the demise of coverture, however, the substantive image of marriage that Justice Kennedy set forth subconsciously uses conventional, historical tropes that construct marriage as a relationship of hierarchy, gender differentiation, and female disempowerment. In this Essay, I describe the ways in which Justice Kennedy used coverture as a positive example of marriage transformation while simultaneously invoking coverture ideals to inform his portrayal of marriage as a fundamental building block of government, the keystone of civil society, and a transcendental, lifelong commitment.

The full essay is available here.

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Premio Nobel de la Paz hace dura crítica a Evo Morales y dice que rebaja de la edad de trabajo de los niños en Bolivia “se opone a leyes universales”

“se opone a leyes universales”

"Es irónico que, a pesar de todo el progreso y el avance de la globalización, a millones de niños todavía se les niega su infancia, su libertad, su futuro, se les niega la educación y la salud. Y es por eso que cuando uno ve a un niño y llega a saber que el niño está siendo esclavizado, asesinado, prostituido, todo eso es más que suficiente para enojarse. Pero la ira debe ser un sentimiento personal y no un sentimiento egoísta: no debe generar violencia, o una especie de venganza u odio a nadie, sino debe generar energía y poder para luchar por la justicia y la libertad", indicó Kailash Satyarthi.

En el marco de una invitación al Congreso del Futuro, el Premio Nobel de la Paz (2014), Kailash Satyarthi, habló con América Solidaria sobre la ira, la infancia y su lucha a favor de ella. La siguiente entrevista fue realizada por la periodista de América Solidaria, María José Hess:


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Graffiti in Bogota, Colombia, calling for the decriminalization of abortion.

(WOMENSENEWS)—Governments in Latin America are drawing criticism for issuing directives at women in Latin America to avoid pregnancies as a means of curbing the Zika virus.

"Once again, governments put the burden on women to protect themselves from any risks," Paula Avila-Guillen, a programs specialist at the U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. She said health ministries should also be addressing men's roles in the problem.

Monica Roa, vice president of strategy and external relations at the international rights group Women's Link Worldwide, which has regional offices in Latin America and Europe, said the burden should not rest on women alone.

"Women who are pregnant should have information about the possibility of interrupting the pregnancy if the law allows it in that country," Roa said in an interview with NPR on Jan. 27. "In the countries where the law doesn't allow for [abortion], I think the debate [about reproductive rights] should be on the table and discussed in the context [of the Zika virus infections]."


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On February 1, in a courtroom in Guatemala City, an historic trial will begin. Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios – the same judge who presided over the Rios Montt genocide trialin 2013 – and her two colleagues will hear evidence against two former military officials for sexual violence, sexual slavery and domestic slavery as crimes against humanity. According to the Prosecutor, for up to six years Qek’chi Mayan women of rural communities were forced to take turns every two or three days washing, providing tortillas, cooking, cleaning and being raped at the military outpost of the community of Sepur Zarco, located on the border between the townships of Panzós and El Estor.  Fifteen of the survivors, backed by a coalition of women’s groups, brought a complaint in 2011 against the commander of the base, retired colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón, and Heriberto Valdéz Asij, the former military commissioner (the Army’s local representative in rural areas) in the region. In addition to the crimes against humanity charges, Reyes is charged with murdering Dominga Coc and her two young daughters on the base. Valdez will face additional charges of forced disappearance.


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Sarah Deer is a law professor at William Mitchell College and a 2014 MacArthur Fellow (submitted photo)

Author Sarah Deer

Despite what major media sources say, violence against Native women is not an epidemic. An epidemic is biological and blameless. Violence against Native women is historical and political, bounded by oppression and colonial violence. This book, like all of Sarah Deer’s work, is aimed at engaging the problem head-on—and ending it.

The Beginning and End of Rape collects and expands the powerful writings in which Deer, who played a crucial role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, has advocated for cultural and legal reforms to protect Native women from endemic sexual violence and abuse. Deer provides a clear historical overview of rape and sex trafficking in North America, paying particular attention to the gendered legacy of colonialism in tribal nations—a truth largely overlooked or minimized by Native and non-Native observers. She faces this legacy directly, articulating strategies for Native communities and tribal nations seeking redress. In a damning critique of federal law that has accommodated rape by destroying tribal legal systems, she describes how tribal self-determination efforts of the twenty-first century can be leveraged to eradicate violence against women. Her work bridges the gap between Indian law and feminist thinking by explaining how intersectional approaches are vital to addressing the rape of Native women.

Grounded in historical, cultural, and legal realities, both Native and non-Native, these essays point to the possibility of actual and positive change in a world where Native women are systematically undervalued, left unprotected, and hurt. Deer draws on her extensive experiences in advocacy and activism to present specific, practical recommendations and plans of action for making the world safer for all.


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Image result for el salvador aborto espontaneo

Para las mujeres salvadoreñas que sufren abortos espontáneos, el trauma físico y emocional de perder a un hijo no es más que el principio de una dura experiencia que incluye un tratamiento medico pésimo, arrestos sin consejo legal y encarcelamientosde hasta 40 años. Mujeres que han sido víctimas de la ley anti-aborto disciplinaria en El Salvador, y que o bien están encarceladas o ya han cumplido penas de prisión, describen sus atormentadas experiencias entre rejas y explicancomo sus vidas han sido afectas para siempre

VIDEO en espanol

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For Salvadoran women who suffer a miscarriage, the physical and emotional trauma of losing a child can be the start of a life-changing ordeal consisting of poor medical treatment, arrest without recourse to legal advice and imprisonment for up to 40 years. Women who have fallen foul of El Salvador’s punitive anti-abortion law, and are either serving time or have completed a prison sentence, describe the torment of life behind bars and reveal how their lives have been altered forever

VIDEO in english

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Las fiscales Claudia Paz y Paz y Ángela Buitrago sufren una campaña de difamación mientras investigan el caso de desaparición de Ayotzinapa 

Claudia Paz y Paz (Guatemala) y Ángela Buitrago (Colombia) son dos fiscales reconocidas a nivel internacional por investigar crímenes de lesa humanidad. Actualmente ambas forman parte del Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes (GIEI, www.giei.info) designadas por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) para el caso de desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa. Durante las últimas semanas, las abogadas han sido objeto de una campaña de señalamientos infundados, calumnias y difamaciones a través de declaraciones a los medios de comunicación, conferencias en universidades y redes sociales. Una vez más, es necesario defender a las defensoras de los derechos humanos.

La campaña contra estas fiscales se lleva a cabo con un considerable despliegue de recursos económicos a 16 meses de la desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa y con el propósito de denostar la ética profesional y la calidad moral de ambas abogadas y mermar la legitimidad y el reconocimiento alcanzado hasta ahora por el GIEI, que en su informe presentado en septiembre de 2015 ofreció nuevas líneas de investigación que cuestionan la investigación oficial del Caso Ayotzinapa.

Claudia y Ángela son expertas en investigar delitos como desaparición forzada, tortura y ejecuciones extrajudiciales, habiendo llevado a juicio principalmente a actores poderosos como militares, narcotraficantes, políticos, abusadores sexuales, entre otros, y logrando sentencias históricas sin precedentes.


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I did not know Janese Talton-Jackson on a personal level. There’s a chance I might have seen her before. And a lesser chance I might have spoken to her. But if I did either, I don’t remember.

But after news of her death began to circulate on Facebook on Friday afternoon, and more and more people spoke of her, I learned that there weren’t many degrees of separation between us. Practically none, actually.

She left behind three children. Twin girls and a 1-year-old son. The father of her daughters is the son of my mom’s best friend, Ms. Debbie. She also lived in a house owned by Ms. Debbie—a house right next door to my dad’s house. They’re separated by two driveways and a line of hedges. My dad was devastated by the news. And if that’s not enough of a connection already, Janese’s brother happens to be Pennsylvania state Rep. Ed Gainey, a man I’ve known for 25 years.

I first became acquainted with Ed through basketball. When my dad would take the 9-year-old me to the courts behind Peabody High School to work on my game, Ed was one of the older teens and early-20-somethings who’d often be there, too. Some days, after I was done drilling, my dad would play with them and I’d watch them play. Then, as I got older and better, I’d play with them too. Today Ed is a popular politician and a friend. And now, as of early Friday morning, brother to a murdered sister: a woman shot and killed in the street by a man because she said no.

According to the police report, Janese was at Cliff’s Bar, located in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. As the bar neared closing, she was approached by Charles Anthony McKinney, who apparently was interested in her. The interest wasn’t reciprocated, and she left. McKinney allegedly followed her outside, was rebuffed again and then shot her in the chest. She was declared dead at the scene. She was 29.

As I write this, my 2-month-old daughter is 10 feet away in one of her bassinets, fussing. I’ve had to pause from writing twice in the last half hour to check on her. To see if she’s making noise because she’s hungry or cold or hot or wet. But, as I suspected, it’s none of the above. She just wants to be played with, 


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As the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision approaches, all eyes are once again on the U.S. Supreme Court, which in March will hear a case that presents the most serious threat to abortion rights in decades. But what is often forgotten in this debate is that safe and legal abortion has long been out of reach for many U.S. women due to severe abortion coverage restrictions. Our new commentary at The Hill’s Congress Blog explores this issue further....more


SEE ALSO: Trailer for TRAPPED, 

TRAPPED is a new documentary from Dawn Porter that follows the progress of Southern reproductive health clinics that are struggling to provide care in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate. The film takes viewers to the front lines of the war on reproductive rights to show the human effects of these politically motivated and medically unnecessary laws.

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Entre los argumentos más sonoros que defienden la prostitución –considerándola erróneamente un “trabajo”– está el que señala que cada mujer es libre de hacer con su cuerpo lo que considere mejor y que, si se trata de una decisión personal, ésta debe respetarse.
Como sabemos, el asunto no es tan simple como parece.
El pasado 11 de enero celebramos el Día de la Concientización sobre la Trata de Personas, a través de la campaña que en redes sociales encabezó la Coalition Against Trafficking Women (CATW), haciendo hincapié en la consigna: “A choice is only a choice if you actually have choices” (“Una opción es sólo opción si tú realmente tienes opciones”).
Así, sólo en el marco del respeto a los Derechos Humanos, especialmente de las mujeres y las niñas, es posible comprender la importancia de no haber contado con opciones para quienes finalmente se encuentran en situación de prostitución.
Para quienes hemos trabajado en el tema de las formas contemporáneas de esclavitud, particularmente en lo que respecta a la trata de mujeres, niñas, niños y adolescentes y su explotación sexual, resulta muy claro el hecho de que la abrumadora mayoría de víctimas no cuenta con un abanico de opciones que les haya permitido decidir en libertad.


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There may not be a simple solution, but something has to change.

new report from Amnesty International suggests that companies including Apple, Samsung and Sony are profiting from child labor in Africa -- and no one should be surprised.

It's been public knowledge for years that electronics are stuffed with minerals that come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a war-torn place rich in must-have materials that are rarely found elsewhere. Less well-known, however, is how these sometimes blood-soaked metals move from the DRC into the supply chains of some of the world's richest and most powerful tech companies. While these companies carry considerable influence and are aware of the controversy surrounding their supply chains, a number of complicating factors make it difficult -- if not impossible -- for them to solve the problem of child labor.

Amnesty says its report, published Monday, is the "first comprehensive account" of how cobalt ore found by children enters the global supply chain. The group focused on cobalt specifically for two reasons: One, it's a key component of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries used in phones. Two, the material stands apart from other "conflict minerals" you may have heard of because it doesn't contribute to armed groups in the country the same way other materials do, and as a result receives less scrutiny.

Why This Matters


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