Violence against women and girls is currently one of the most widespread and devastating violations of human rights. In the world, 1 out of every 3 women has experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. In Argentina, despite progress made in prevention, every 32 hours a woman is a victim of femicide.
This reality led the European Union and the United Nations System to work jointly on meeting the challenges of violence against women and girls, and particularly of femicides worldwide.
The Spotlight Initiative is so named because it brings focused attention to this scourge, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of all efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Argentina is one of the five countries selected in Latin America, together with El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and will be the only one in South America to benefit from Spotlight. This Initiative will have the State work hand-in-hand with civil society, to focus on eliminating femicides. The Spotlight Initiative will be implemented in two stages: the first will end in December 2020, with a funding of approximately 5,270,000 Euros, and the second, in December 2022. Apart from the national level, actions will be carried out in the provinces of Salta, Jujuy and Buenos Aires.
The official launch of the Initiative took place in the Argentina Room, at the Centro Cultural Kirchner with the participation of the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri and the first lady, Juliana Awada. Also assisted the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Jorge Faurie; the Minister of Health and Social Development, Carolina Stanley; the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica; the European Union Ambassador to Argentina, Aude Maio-Coliche; the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Achim Steiner; and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Argentina, René Mauricio Valdés. The Governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal; Vice-Governor of Salta, Miguel Ángel Isa; Governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales; and the Executive Director of the National Institute for Women (INAM), Fabiana Tuñez, were also among the participating authorities.
"It´s a joy to be here to share with everybody the launch of Spotlight in Argentina. I want to thank the European Union and United Nations for bring this initiative to our country, this represents a recognition to our advances to put an end to violence", said President Macri. And added: "It´s not just about women being able to leave a dangerous situation, it´s about eliminating violence for ever and for that we need to work in our children´s education. The challenge must be to make a better effort for equality. Inside and outside our homes. We need to give the example because violence is a transversal issue and we can not longer look away. We need a cultural change to reduce gaps and inequality in every area where they are. We have to face the Violence against women together and there are no doubts that we are making progress and there is no going back”.
“We are pleased to support Argentina’s efforts to involve everyone, women and men, to end gender-based violence. Together we can achieve true equality and build better societies. With a total investment of eight million Euros in Argentina throughout four years of implementation, the Spotlight Initiative will enhance efforts and strengthen institutions to ensure women and girls will never again live with fear”, said EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Neven Mimica.
In his turn the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program, Achim Steiner, said that "from the United Nations we recognize the efforts of the Government of Argentina to confront and end violence against women and girls. This launch shows that, with the highest level of political commitment, and with strong national and subnational alliances, we can confront and put an end to violence against women and girls".The launch was also attended by civil society representatives working on prevention and response to femicides, who shared their experiences in a Panel moderated by Mabel Bianco, chairperson of FEIM (Foundation for Research and Studies on Women). Panelists included Mariana Reuter, coordinator of the Sordas Sin Violencia (No Violence against Deaf Women) of FUNDASOR (Non-profit organization of Parents and Relatives of the Deaf for their Integration); Ana Alvarez, responsible for Avon Promise to Eradicate Violence against women and girls, Avon Foundation; María José Alvarez, coordinator of the Gender Office, Juanita Moro Foundation (Jujuy), and Héctor Mario Suárez, father of Natalia Rocha, a victim of femicide.
About Spotlight in Argentina
The presentation this afternoon was the last step of a process that started over a year ago and that convened national and provincial authorities from across the country, as well as civil society organizations, private sector representatives, trade unions, academia and the women’s movement to identify the most urgent needs and define compelling actions that the country should undertake to face the problem of violence against women and girls.
A working schedule was thus outlined to reinforce data collection on femicides, improve violence prevention, support victims through accessible and reliable care services, render support to civil society in their initiatives to eradicate violence, strengthen State and institutional capacities to design and implement public policies to address violence, develop a new legal framework with specific laws, in line with international conventions and standards, as well as change the attitude and perception of violent episodes, among other topics.
On femicides in Argentina
• Every 32 hours, a woman is a victim of femicide in Argentina.
• In 2017, there were 274 femicides, apart from the travesticides / transfemicides (6) and associated femicides (13 women and 15 men), taking the total figure to 308.
• 64% of female victims of willful murder were the victims of femicide.
• The national ratio of women, victims of femicide in 2017, was 1.31 every 100,000 inhabitants
• The following provinces have a higher ratio per 100,000 inhabitants than the national average: Salta, 3.32; Santiago del Estero, 3.15; Jujuy, 2.92; Formosa, 2.36; Catamarca, 1.98; Córdoba, 1.61; Neuquén, 1.56; Santa Fe, 1.52; Tucumán, 1.45; Chaco, 1.35.
(Source: Subsecretaría de Estadística Criminal del Ministerio de Seguridad de la Nación y el Observatorio de Femicidios del Defensor del Pueblo de la Nación- Under-secretariat of Criminal Statistics, Argentine Ministry of Security, and Observatory on Femicides, Ombudsperson’s Office of Argentina)
Information on Spotlight: