THE IACHR RAPPORTEURSHIP ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN CELEBRATES THE ADOPTION IN BRAZIL OF A SPECIFIC LAW TO PREVENT AND ERADICATE DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE
The Rapporteurship on the Rights of Women of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) celebrates the adoption, in Brazil, on August 7, 2006, of Act 11,340, which consists of a series of government actions to prevent, investigate, and punish all forms of domestic and family violence against women. The Rapporteurship recognizes the adoption of this law, known as the Maria da Penha Law, as a vitally important step toward full compliance with the recommendations issued to the Brazilian state in the Commission’s decision on the Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes case and with the principles enshrined in the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, "Convention of Belém do Pará."
The Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes case, brought by a victim of domestic violence in Brazil when physical abuse and murder attempts by her husband mad her paraplegic, emphasizes the obligation of states to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish, and redress acts of domestic violence. In the inter-American system, the Convention of Belém do Pará reflects concern throughout the Hemisphere over the severe problem of violence against women, its relationship to the discrimination suffered by women throughout history, and the need to adopt comprehensive strategies to prevent, punish, and eradicate it, including violence within the family or household unit.
The Rapporteurship recognizes the participatory process that led to the development of this law, including the essential role of civil society organizations working to defend and protect women’s rights. The Rapporteurship celebrates the adoption of this law and urges the Brazilian state to continue taking measures to facilitate its effective application, including the design of multisectoral, preventive government policies, appropriate enacting legislation, allocation of the resources needed to translate their content into reality, and measures to train and sensitize government employees.
Washington, D.C., August 11, 2006