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Mexico: Failing to end women's murders - Amnesty

Mexico has fallen short in probing hundreds of murders of women on its US border, and the violence has continued, Amnesty International said.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2004 13:59 IST

Mexico has fallen short in probing hundreds of murders of women on its U.S. border, and the violence has continued with 43 killings last year and another body found this week, Amnesty International said on Friday.

The body of a woman around 35 years old was found on Wednesday in Chihuahua state with hands tied and signs she had been raped, said Amnesty investigator Yanette Bautista.

"The discovery of more mutilated bodies tells us the problem is still there," she told a news conference.

With some 414 women murdered since 1993 in and around Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, the government has failed to end the violence, to solve many of the crimes or punish public officials who trampled the rights of victims' families, Amnesty International and local rights groups said.

Amid rising public pressure after 10 years of shoddy local police work, the federal attorney general stepped in last year to get to the bottom of the Ciudad Juarez murders, and a special prosecutor was named in January.

But as part of a worldwide campaign to fight violence against women, Amnesty International asked Mexican President Vicente Fox on Friday to take stronger steps to end the "total impunity" surrounding the Ciudad Juarez murders.

Some killings are related to domestic violence. Others are believed to be the work of serial killers, drug gangs, even a group of prominent local men killing for sport. All show a pattern of discrimination and brutality, Bautista said.

The attorney general's office declined to comment on Friday and a special commissioner on Ciudad Juarez was unavailable.

In a report last year Amnesty slammed Chihuahua police as bungling and corrupt, accusing them of tampering with evidence and torturing suspects for confessions.

The federal attorney general's office last year promised to "start from scratch" in its own investigation, reviewing and reopening cases even where suspects were convicted.

While that was a positive step, federal authorities' role is unclear and the investigations are hampered by questions of jurisdiction, Bautista said.

The federal government has not investigated torture claims against officials or reviewed those cases, she said. And the special prosecutor needs more resources, she said.

Meanwhile, state and local agents continue to belittle, harass and even threaten victims' families and rights activists, Bautista and Mexico rights workers said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2004 13:59 IST