March 8, 2007

End the Femicides in Ciudad Jarez

On International Women's Day, Amnesty International USA and Artists Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas Call for Justice and an End to Femicides in Ciudad Juarez
March 8, 2007
Amnesty Interntational Press Release

(Los Angeles) -- Artists Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas joined Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) on March 8th, International Women's Day, in expressing outrage over violence against women globally and calling for justice in the murders of 400 women and girls in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, since 1993.

In order to raise awareness with the international community about the continued violence in Ciudad Juárez, Lopez and Banderas, stars of the film "Bordertown," a drama exposing the murders in Juárez, are issuing videotaped statements on the Amnesty International USA website ( today.

Every year, violence in the home and community devastates the lives of millions of women and girls around the world. Whether it is rape, domestic violence, acid burning, dowry deaths, female genital mutilation, or femicide, women are at serious risk of violence and abuse, no matter who they are or where they live. Worldwide, at least one out of every three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or abused in some way in her lifetime.

Lopez and Banderas expressed outrage about the ongoing femicide in Mexico. "My consciousness has been stirred by one of the world?s most shocking, and disturbingly under-reported, crimes against humanity," said Lopez. "It is my greatest hope that our efforts with Amnesty International will help to inspire, as well as encourage, other people throughout the world to act in ensuring that justice is served."

"Because it is an obligation, I think it is a duty," said Banderas, "to support the victims and all these people who are suffering."

In Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, despite more than a decade of murders of women, perpetrators overwhelmingly escaped accountability. According to press reports, the latest cases occurred on March 1st when four women were killed in Ciudad Juárez. The reports said the victims included a 10-year-old girl, her mother, who was four months pregnant, her aunt, and another young woman.

"These most recent killings are a devastating sign that despite some efforts by the Mexican government to combat violence, perpetrators still think that they are justified in brutalizing women. The international community is awaiting a firm political commitment from President Calderon to eliminate impunity in all its pervasive forms and a visible and vocal position of zero tolerance for violence against women throughout Mexico. The Mexican government must ensure the protection of the most vulnerable sectors of the population such as the women and girls of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua," said Renata Rendón, AIUSA's Advocacy Director for the Americas.

Both artists attended AIUSA's Artists for Amnesty Award Ceremony February 14 in Berlin with Norma Andrade, Marisela Ortiz and Manuela Simental, founders and members of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Bring Our Daughters Home), an organization of mothers and families of the murdered women of Juarez. At this event, the mothers spoke about the deaths of their daughters and demanded justice. "The Mexican government has not listened to us and has tried to diminish the magnitude of this tragedy," stated Marisela Ortiz, co-founder of the organization. "We urge the Mexican government to guarantee the right to life and physical integrity of all its citizens including women."

"On this day, when the world expresses its solidarity and commitment to ending violence against women, it is our hope that these messages from artists, mothers, and human rights activists will remind the world that justice must prevail in Mexico," said Bonnie Abaunza, director of Artists for Amnesty.

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