Amnesty says Zapatero is not protecting women

12th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 May 2005, MADRID — Amnesty International's Spanish branch called on the Spanish government to get tough on domestic violence, citing some two million cases of abused women, nearly all of which it says go unreported.

12 May 2005

MADRID — Amnesty International's Spanish branch called on the Spanish government to get tough on domestic violence, citing some two million cases of abused women, nearly all of which it says go unreported.

"Authorities must act effectively now to protect women's rights in the home," said Amnesty's section director Esteban Beltran, who said the organisation calculated that only some five percent of victims approach the authorities for help.

"The Spanish state has a responsibility to prevent violence, investigate abuses, punish those responsible and compensate the victims, and must do so without delay using all appropriate means," said Maria Naredo, the Spanish section's women's officer.

Beltran told a news conference that the government of prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who on coming to power last year made sex equality a top priority and unveiled a cabinet comprising eight men and eight women, was not doing enough.

"The Spanish authorities are not giving sufficient priority to this scourge of violence against women which had led to more than 200 deaths in recent years, including 19 in 2005," Beltran said.

He added that the government had to act given that many women dared not  
come forward to denounce a partner and believed that even if they did it would achieve little.

"Only five percent denounce them, most knowing that the state will do nothing," said Beltran, who demanded the government "make protection a reality."

Amnesty called on Madrid to adhere to minimum standards for responding adequately to gender-based violence and set in train an action plan to detect the problem in its early stages while also providing health care for survivors.

Amnesty cited the case of Teresa, a 59-year-old, who left her husband after 38 years of insults, beatings and forced sex.

"She does not trust public institutions to protect her," Amnesty said, adding the victim "spent nine months shut in her home with the blinds lowered so that her husband would think she had left the city.

"Teresa's story is far from being rare," Amnesty concluded.

The government has drafted a law designed to crack down on the issue and Zapatero has gone as far as to describe himself as a feminist at heart.

But Amnesty believes that "setting protection measures in motion will continue to fall on the victims".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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