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As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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From time to time, the killing of a woman at the hands of a male partner or an ex outrages Brazil. If there is video, the murder may climb to the top of the headlines. Such was the case of Tatiane Spitzner, the 29-year-old…
Tatiane Spitzner
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Domestic Violence in Brazil

Last Sunday at 6:30 a.m., Cláudia Zerati was killed in her apartment in a building with a pool, gym, and sauna in Perdizes, an upper-middle class neighborhood in São Paulo. About 34 hours later, Siria Silva Souza was killed in a wooden…
Demonstrators attend a protest against rape and violence against women in Brasilia, Brazil, May 29, 2016.
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I met Taise Campos, a 38-year-old schoolteacher, last February, when I traveled with a Human Rights Watch colleague to Roraima to try to understand the state’s off-the-charts rate of killings of women. Taise’s life changed radically 11 years…
Veículo da Patrulha Maria da Penha em Roraima, Brasil
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“Maria Laura, some women actually like to be beaten up,” a well-off businesswoman told me. And a well-educated male acquaintance said: “These are abusive relationships, women beat up their husbands and boyfriends and then they get beaten up themselves…
Women hold pictures of victims that died of domestic abuse against women, during a march to celebrate International Women's Day in Sao Paulo March 8, 2014.
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Summary Roraima is the deadliest state for women and girls in Brazil. Killings of women rose 139 percent from 2010 to 2015, reaching 11.4 homicides per 100,000 women that year, the latest for which there is data available. The national average is 4.4…
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The authorities in the Brazilian state of Roraima are failing to investigate or prosecute domestic violence cases, leaving women at further risk of abuse. The serious problems in Roraima, the state with the highest rate of killings of women in Brazil,…
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State of Roraima Fails to Investigate, Prosecute Abusers

(São Paulo) – The authorities in the Brazilian state of Roraima are failing to investigate or prosecute domestic violence cases, leaving women at further risk of abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The serious problems in Roraima,…
Marchers hold pictures of women killed violently to mark International Women's Day in São Paulo on March 8, 2014.
News
Sixteen days of global activism against gender-based violence ends today, on Human Rights Day. The confluence is no coincidence. It is intended to emphasize that women’s rights are human rights. That may sound obvious now, but it has not always been so.…
"Rita", a woman victim of domestic violence, holding a protective order issued by a judge in Pernambuco. October 2016.
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The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
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“If I looked nice, he hit me,” Ana L., a mother of five in Colombia, told me. Ana (not her real name) detailed years of abuse by her partner. He beat her when she was pregnant, and hit her head so hard that she suffered permanent vision damage. She sought…
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Ensure Perpetrators Prosecuted, Health Services for Victims of Rape, Domestic Violence

(Washington, DC) – Colombia’s laws on violence against women are not adequately protecting victims displaced by the armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Approximately two million internally displaced women and girls face…
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It’s the Americas’ largest reunion. Happening every three years, the Summit of the Americas brings together the heads-of-state of the region to talk about pressing concerns. Over the weekend in Cartagena, Colombia, the theme will be “Connecting the…
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Bill Enhances Protection for Victims, Penalties for Perpetrators

(Istanbul) – Turkey’s parliament should adopt a strong, comprehensive law to curb domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament is debating a draft bill and is likely to vote on March 7, 2012. The draft law would replace Turkey’s existing…
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Tweet As told by Gauri van Gulik, researcher and advocate, Women's Rights Division Unlike some of the other women I spoke with, Hamiyet was not injected with poison, thrown from the roof or stabbed by her husband. But her story seemed just as desperate…
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Abolishing Women’s Ministry Harms Women’s Rights Efforts

(Istanbul) - The Turkish government's changes to the current Ministry for Women and Family is a step backward in its struggle to combat gender inequality and violence against women, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan…
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New European Convention Sets Out Stiff Measures to Fight Violence Against Women

(Istanbul) - European foreign affairs ministers gather this week in Istanbul to sign a ground-breaking new Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The treaty, open to all 47 countries of the…
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Gaps in Law, Police Response, Put Urgently Needed Help Out of Reach

(Istanbul) - Turkey's flawed family violence protection system leaves women and girls across the country unprotected against domestic abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Life-saving protections, including court-issued protection…
Report
  “He Loves You, He Beats You” Family Violence in Turkey and Access to Protection Selvi T. Summary Law on the Protection of the Family Excluded from Protection Lack of Implementation…