Argentina femicides keep rising after record last year, observatory says


  • World
  • Friday, 01 Mar 2024

FILE PHOTO: A woman of the movement "Not one (woman) less" wears a mask during a march to the Congress to protest against femicides and gender violence, in Buenos Aires, Argentina June 3, 2022. The mask reads: "We want us alive." REUTERS/Mariana Nedelcu/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES(Reuters) - Femicides in Argentina, already at a record level last year, have increased further in the first two months of 2024, a report from a local observatory on Friday showed, with more than one killing per day underscoring the deadly threat to women.

The country saw 61 misogynistic murders of women and girls due to their gender by the end of February, the femicide observatory at the authoritative La Casa del Encuentro non-governmental organization said, up from 56 a year earlier.

The rise, up almost 10%, comes after the South American country saw a record 322 femicides last year according to separate official figures, amid rising poverty, political uncertainty and inflation stoking a cost of living crisis.

New libertarian President Javier Milei, who took office in December, has since dismantled the country's women's ministry as part of a cost-cutting drive, moving those responsibilities under a broader ministry of human capital. Some groups have raised concerns this will hurt protections for women.

"What we are seeing, unfortunately, is that violence against women has been exacerbated," said Ada Beatriz Rico, director of the observatory that carried out the report.

"They are leaving us without tools. We feel like we have gone back in time."

The government declined to comment. Milei is openly anti-feminist, although he says that does not make him anti-women. He wants to re-open the debate over abortion which was legalized by Congress under the previous government, and has ordered that government bodies do not use inclusive language.

Of the 61 victims, 57% were murdered in their home and 20% had made a prior complaint. In turn, according to the report, 77 children were orphaned as a result of the murders.

While official reports are prepared by the Supreme Court of Justice and the Ombudsman's Office, those figures are only published late in the year, meaning NGO data is the best quick indication of trends with femicides.

La Casa del Encuentro, along with 14 other organizations, is pushing the government to clarify its state policies and how it will bolster protections for women against gender violence.

(Reporting by Candelaria Grimberg; Editing by Nicolas Misculin, William Maclean)

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