Saturday, September 29, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Poland

The notion of femicide has lately been introduced into academic discourse (Grzyb 2014, although its circulation is rather scarce. The only context where the term circulates is in the media coverage of femicide in Latin American countries, especially in Central America and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

1 Sources
To the best of my knowledge, there is no institution, public or non-governmental body, that collects data on femicide. The official criminal statistics on homicides do not disaggregate data according to victim’s sex.

2 Definition
In my paper (Grzyb 2014), I proposed a broader definition of femicide as the killing of a woman because of her gender.
M. Grzyb Kobietobójstwo. Kryminologiczna charakterystyka zjawiska [Femicide. A criminological approach.], [in:] Archiwum Kryminologii, vol. 36/2014, pp. 75-107
(by Magdalena Grzyb) 

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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