By JUAN REARDON – VENEZUELANALYSIS.COM
Merida, September 16th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Thursday Venezuelan General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz formally inaugurated the country’s Offices for the Defense of Women, a new national department dedicated to defending the rights of women. According to Diaz, the new department will focus its efforts on both preventing crimes against women and on investigating, prosecuting, and penalizing all those who violate women’s rights in the country.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Diaz explained that some 43 public prosecutors have been assigned to the new department so as to “provide the necessary follow-up to the legal mandate given by the Organic Law of the Rights of Women to a Life Free of Violence.”
Venezuela’s National Offices for the Defense of Women, part of the Public Affairs Ministry, will maintain 15 national dispatches to both educate and field complaints by women of rights violations and will be supported by at least one public prosecutor in each of Venezuela’s 23 states. Staff will be dedicated solely to protecting women’s rights.
Placing violence against women into a historical context, Diaz explained that, “the crimes committed today continue to be the same; what is different now is that women are no longer controlled by fear, fear of filing complaints. Today the Venezuelan State has established a series of laws and institutions to defend women and this has provoked a greater engagement by women in the pursuit of knowledge, wanting to know their rights, wanting to know which institutions they can count on so as to guarantee their own rights.”
Some of the concrete advances made by women in Venezuela in recent years include the Law on the Rights of Women to a Life Free from Violence (2007), the establishment in 2009 of the Ministry of Women’s and Gender Equality, and the creation of BanMujer, a national development bank dedicated to financing micro-loans to economically disadvantaged women.
“We must guarantee the full exercise and enjoyment of the rights of women, under equal conditions, and that is what we are working towards,” Diaz concluded.