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If you’d like to post your views on exploitation of women, the use of media to advance women’s rights or any other women’s rights issues please email us to campaigns@cawn.org. We are looking forward to hearing from you! 

The Honduran Women Collective (CODEMUH) and REDCAM have issued statements regarding the current work conditions of maquila workers in Honduras. They raise the lack of compromise of the Honduran government to take action against precarious contracts and long hour shifts which do not meet regulations on the work limit per day. CODEMUH also makes a call to North American and European consumers, trade marks and government representatives, to take responsibility of the physical and psychological deterioration experienced by so many maquila workers.

28 april

April 28 – Workers’ Memorial Day

may 1

May 1 – International Workers’ Day

 

By Louise Morris; translated by Alma Carballo

La producción del arte es quizás una de las más antiguas formas de medios de comunicación alternativos.  El arte es la capacidad simbólica para desafiar el status quo y  comunicar las ideologías políticas a un público masivo, se ha convertido en un medio de gran alcance para el activismo, mientras que sus cualidades emotivas pueden fomentar la solidaridad. Además, el propio proceso creativo también puede generar una  especie de liberación terapéutica.

Si bien esta serie ha examinado las ventajas e inconvenientes de la utilización de la tecnología moderna para el activismo de las mujeres y las iniciativas de desarrollo (de radio, telefonía móvil y Tecnologías de información y comunicación), este último artículo se remonta a las raíces de la producción de medios de comunicación alternativos – la expresión artística. El arte abarca la música, grafiti y actuación, así como la producción artística más tradicional. A diferencia de la tecnología, el arte fácil de accesar y ser producido por  cualquier persona, por lo que es un medio más universal y fácil identificarse. Para muchas personas sin educación formal, el arte es una forma menos intimidante, más instintivo de los medios alternativos a través del cual comunicar y desafiar las normas dominantes. Las mujeres, en particular, han abrazado poderes emotivos del arte como herramienta de comunicación para cuestionar las actitudes sexistas.

Continue Reading »

By Ninha Silva; translated to Spanish by Alma Carballo

Ninha Silva es graduada en Periodismo y tiene un Master en Relaciones Internacionales y políticas democráticas. Nació en Guinea–Bissau, se trasladó a Portugal cuando era muy joven y ahora vive en Londres, donde colabora con CAWN. Este artículo se publicó en la edición de Invierno 2015 de la boletín trimestral de CAWN (página 7).

Hay una impaciente crecimiento a medida que se acerca el juicio de Rios Montt. Inicialmente se planeo para Abril 2014, luego se pospuse para Enero de 2015, se adujo que era debido a un atraso en los casos que eran una prioridad para las autoridades judiciales Guatemaltecas.

Fueron acusados de ser responsables del periodo mas sangriento del conflicto interno guatemalteco (1969-1996). El 10 de Mayo de 2013, el General Ríos Montt, entonces 87 anos, fue encontrado culpable de genocidio y crímenes contra la humanidad perpetrados durante los 17 meses del gobierno, fue sentenciado a 80 anos in la cárcel. Se cree que asesino mas de 200,000 personas, y muchos cientos de miles mas desplazados, violadas, torturadas y por hambruna bajo el régimen de Rios Montt. De acuerdo a Comisión de la clarificación historica de las naciones Unidas, el 83% de las victimas eran indígenas mayas. Continue Reading »

By Shiromi Pinto ; translated  by CAWN

Interview of Morena Herrera, the ex guerrillera, the feminist, and the defender of women’s rights in El Salvador

Recently, the Salvadoran authorities have denied a pardon to Guadalupe, a young incarcerated woman that has been sentenced to 30 years of prison for having an abortion. Morena Herrera is one of her greatest defenders. The ex-combatant for freedom, an ardent feminist, activist and defender of sexual and reproductive rights, tells us here why the ban on abortion in El Salvador needs to end.

‘’I was a guerrillera. I have been an activist for social change since I was young’’, says Morena Herrera. When the civil war ended in 1992 and the Peace Agreements were signed, she knew that her fight was far from over.

‘’Those agreements left a huge empty space when it comes to women’s rights’’, she explains. ‘’I realized that I had to fight differently. Women’s rights are human rights and have to be a priority’’.

Since 2009, Morena has been fighting in a different manner through the Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico, a group she is currently the leader of.

Among the women she has defended, the case of Beatriz is sadly famous. Beatriz almost died because she was denied an abortion to a life threatening pregnancy with an anencephalic foetus. Also well known is the case of the 17 women, including Guadalupe, who are currently launching appeals against convictions for ‘’crimes’’ related to a pregnancy and to obstetric complications.

All those women have seen their lives destroyed by the brutal ban on abortion in El Salvador.

 

Photo: Amnesty International

Acids and Hooks

 It was not always this way. Before 1997, abortion was permitted in three exceptional cases: if a woman’s life was at risk, in case of rape, and in the case of a fatal abnormality.

Continue Reading »

By Quimy De Leon; translated and adapted by Virginia López Calvo

Miguel Ángel Gálvez Judge presides over the court of First Instance located on the 14th floor of the Tower of Courts in the center of Guatemala City.

On Tuesday October 14, 2014, after three hearings with the Public Affairs Ministry, the prosecutor, the plaintiffs and the defense of two accused military officers, Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez decided, following an analysis of the law in light of the evidence, testimony and arguments, that army colonel Esteelmer Giron Reyes and former military commissioner Heriberto Valdez Asij will have to attend an oral and public trial.

Esteelmer Reyes Francisco Girón is accused of crimes against humanity in the form of sexual violence, sexual slavery and domestic slavery, murder and humiliating treatment. Heriberto Valdes Asij is accused of forced disappearances and sexual violence.

The historical truth will be heard at a trial in October 29. Until then, both accused remain in preventative prison.

Justice for victims of rape and sexual slavery

Sepur Zarco is a community in the municipality of El Curtain in Izabal. There, a military detachment was built during the hardest years of war and genocide, in 1982 [1]. There, crimes against humanity were committed, rape and sexual slavery of about 20 women amongst them. Some of these women had their husbands and relatives killed or disappeared too.

Women who dared not to allow these crimes to go unpunished, who dared to speak and go through a series of difficult moments and cumbersome procedures, encourage us to reflect and defend truth and memory.

From the first hearing, the women covered themselves in colourful fabrics to face their perpetrators. They did not come alone, but accompanied by several people, by community women, by women’s organizations that make up the Alliance Breaking the Silence and Impunity. In the last three hearings only their representative arrived to court.

While justice arrives

To get into the Tower of Courts is not a nice experience. Whenever I’ve done it, it has always been to accompany a high-impact case, related to human rights violations.

Knowing and understanding how power operates is creepy. Not less than understanding how the justice system and its laws work. Most times I could see beyond the discourse that works to the benefit of the powerful, and through the patriarchal structures in politics, the military, society, religion and the economy. These hearings are landmarks in Guatemalan collective memory and feminist struggles.

[1] The detachment was closed in 1988.

Read previous articles about the Sepur Zarco case here and here.

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