Social Issues

Bolivia’s Arce announces measures against gender violence after women’s march

La Paz, Mar 8 (EFE).- Bolivia’s president on Tuesday announced measures against gender violence, including a structure of services for survivors, after a women’s march organized by the government in the country’s capital.

Luis Arce made the announcements at an official event in the central Murillo square in La Paz, where a march that began in the neighboring city of El Alto on the occasion of International Women’s Day ended.

“Not one less. Stop the violence,” “No more violence against women,” “My fear became strength” and “We do not show up dead, they kill us,” read some banners held by the participants, which included peasant and indigenous women and women miners, doctors, students and officials.

“Today is not a day of celebration, it is a day of struggle, memory and resistance of women internationally,” Arce said.

The president touched upon some regulations that have already been approved by his party, Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), including those that punish male violence and harassment and political violence, in addition to other policies including a subsidy for pregnant women.

Arce pointed out that the crime with the highest incidence in the country is domestic violence and mentioned the “alarming” figures of femicides in Bolivia – 108 cases in 2021, and more than 15 so far this year.

The president recalled that his government has declared 2022 as the “year of the cultural revolution for depatriarchalization for a life free of violence against women.”

He also highlighted the work of the recently created commission to review cases of rape and femicide in which those sentenced for these crimes were released and which is allowing several of them to be recaptured.

One of the president’s announcements was the setting up of structures for the Special Forces to Combat Violence, the police unit in charge of dealing with these incidents.

These structures will focus on providing services to the victims of violence, ranging from psychological, medical and social attention from the units that receive the complaints, to shelter and follow-ups of the progress of the corresponding legal processes.

He also announced a housing program for “female heads of household and victims of violence” and a special certification of public and private enterprises that meet standards for violence prevention.

The Bolivian government’s plans also include a program to strengthen women-led production units and another for construction jobs to give priority in State projects to companies with 50 percent or more women on their payroll.

In turn, peasant leader Flora Aguilar handed over three draft laws to protect women from violence to Arce, including one that expands penalties and sanctions for those committing femicide, infanticide and rape.

There have been several protests by women in recent weeks against corruption in the judicial system after it became known through a high-profile case that many men convicted of femicide have been released, prompting the government to set up a new commission to review these cases.

On Monday, hundreds of women marched to the courts in La Paz carrying photographs of those accused or convicted of violence against women and to protest against impunity in these cases. EFE


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