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                              THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE AMERICAS






          Following is a list of the rights established by the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José) and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.  With respect to each right identified, a series of questions has been formulated to serve as a basis to analyze the compatibility of the legislation and practices of the countries of the hemisphere with respect to the rights of women.  It should be noted, however, that some of the questions are merely for information, in order to analyze the context in which the theme of women's rights arises.


          In the instances where information and statistical data are requested, to the extent possible, please provide these disaggregated by region, ethnic group and social class.  Additionally, where possible such data should cover the current situation since 1990.


                                    RIGHT TO JURIDICAL PERSONALITY [1]





1.       Is the legal capacity of women full or relative?  Document your reply based on the pre­scriptions of law and based on practice and custom.


2.       In what situations may the legal capacity of women be abridged?  For example:


          a.       Are there limitations on women's capacity with respect to inheritance?


          b.       May women act as executors of wills or administrators of estates?


          c.       Do women have the same capacity as men to acquire, administer and dispose of pro­perty within marriage? 


          d.       Are there limitations on the capacity of women to enter into contracts?  For example, in the sphere of work?



          e.       Are there special rules about who shall be considered the head of a household?  Are the rights and obligations of men and women different when the position of head of household is shared between them or when it is held by one or another of them? 


3.       At what age do women acquire full legal capacity? At what age do men acquire full legal capacity?


4.       Are there situations which confer full legal capacity upon girls under the age of majority?  Under what circumstances?  Are these circumstances the same as those for boys?


5.       At what age does the law permit women to marry?  At what age does the law permit men to marry?


6.       To what restrictions is the legal capacity of the person subject?  For example, is it prohibited to bear wit­ness against relatives, or for spouses to testify against each other?


                                                    RIGHT TO LIFE





In the cases in which this segment asks for information and statistics, wherever possible these should be broken down by region, ethnic group and social class, with figures provided for 1990 and 1995.


1.       What is the rate of female mortality?  What are the leading causes?


2.       What is the rate of female morbidity?  What are the leading causes?


3.       What is the rate of maternal mortality?  What are the leading causes?


4.       What are the rates of mortality and morbidity among girl children and boy children by age group?  What are the leading causes of death, per sex and per age group?


5.       What are the average life expectancies of men and of women?


6.       What are the crude birth and death rates for men and women?


7.       What is the average number of live births per woman?


8.       What percentage of women receive prenatal care?


9.       What is the average length of stay, in days, of women for childbirth in health care centers?  What was the average five years ago?


10.     How many deaths have resulted from intrafamily violence in the last five years?  How many persons of each sex have died?  How many criminal proceedings initiated in these cases were completed, and with what result?  Please disaggregate per sex and per year.  What penalties are imposed in such cases as compared with penalties imposed for other kinds of killings?


11.     Is there capital punishment for women?  For men?  If it has not been abolished, for which crimes has it been imposed on women?


                                       RIGHT TO HUMANE TREATMENT





1.       Has the country ratified the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women?  If it has, what measures have been adopted to bring about full compliance?  Can an individual invoke the Convention referred to before national tribunals? 


2.       Is there specific legislation to punish violence against women?  If so, how is that violence defined and what types of punish­ments are provided?  What enforcement mechanisms are provided?


3.       How are the following crimes classified under the applicable legislation:  rape, battery and sexual abuse?  Is rape between married persons codified as a criminal offense?  What other sexual crimes are sanctioned?  How is sexual harassment dealt with in the applicable legislation?


4.       What is the legal interest protect­ed in the classifica­tion of acts as sexual crimes?  Is the protected interest the virtue of the victim?


5.       What responses are law enforcement officers directed to take in cases of violence against women, and in situations of reported or suspected domestic violence?  Are these directives applied in practice? 


6.       What precautionary measures exist to protect a woman who has been attacked?  What precautionary measures exist to keep the attacker away from the victim?  How are such measures obtained?  What obstacles, if any, impede access to such protection?  Are measures of protection enforced?


7.       How many complaints have been presented over the last five years with respect to: rape, battery, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and other sexual crimes?  How many cases were opened?  How many were processed to completion, and with what result?


8.       What is the process a victim must go through to file a complaint in a case of rape, battering or sexual abuse?  How many people must the victim see?  Is a medical exam required?  If it is required, what does the exam consist of?  On what days and at what hours are the foregoing services available to victims?


9.       Is the testimony or report of a medical forensic practitioner a requisite to initiate a criminal or civil action in cases of violence against women?  How many medical forensic practitioners are there in the country?


10.     What is the legal significance of a medical report of rape/battering/sexual abuse?  Which medical practitioners are deemed competent to provide expert testimony in such cases? 


11.     Is torture classified as a crime in your country?  If so, does it include rape?  Under what circumstances?


12.     What statutes of limitation apply to the crime of rape or statutory rape?  Is there a deadline for the presentation of a complaint by the victim?


13.     Is the crime of rape prosecutable by the public attorney and/or may a private complaint be filed?  What are the procedures in the latter case?


14.     When the rape victim is a minor, who may file a complaint for the opening of criminal proceedings?  If the rapist is a member of the victim's family, who may file the com­plaint?


15.     What means of proof are re­quired to prove the crime of rape and other sexual crimes?  What legal weight is attributed to the testimony of the victim?


16.     Does the victim have to demonstrate that she resisted in order to meet the definition of the crime of rape?  Is the defence of absence of resistance admissible in a rape case?  What is the legal definition of consent in a rape case?


17.     Is the "honesty" of the victim (her moral reputation in the community) considered in the typification of the crime of rape or statutory rape, or in the determination of the penalty?  In the prosecution of rape and other sexual crimes, is the previous behav­ior of the victim taken into account or are questions asked about it?


18.     Does marriage between the aggressor and the victim cause the criminal action or the penalty to become extinguished in the case of rape?


19.     Does the victim­ of violence or a sexual crime have access to a civil ac­tion for the recovery of damages?  Are there public legal services to assist a victim in filing such civil actions?


20.     What public or private programs exist to train law enforcement, judicial, medical, and other public personnel on how to treat women who have been subjected to violence?  Where such training has been carried out, please describe the programs, and the type, number and sex of the personnel trained.


21.     Are physicians required by law to report injuries presented by patients which they believe to have arisen from violence?  If so, is the requirement enforced, and what sanctions are imposed for the failure of the doctor to report?


22.     Are there measures to provide the victim in cases of sexual crimes with some degree of privacy?


23.     Are there obstacles which have not been addressed which stand in the way of eradicating violence against women?


24.     Are there provisions guaranteeing informed consent to women in medical treatment?


25.     Are there situations in which compulsory sterilization is practiced?  Under which provi­sions and conditions?


26.     Is the voluntary interruption of pregnancy permissible for therapeu­tic reasons?


27.     What legal or cultural obstacles might women experience in terms of their access to health care, including family planning?


28.     What are the most common methods of contracep­tion?  Are there norms regarding methods of contraception?


29.     Are there education campaigns for the preven­tion of HIV/AIDS and care for those already infected?  Are there differences in such campaigns and attention for men and for women?


30.     Are there education programs designed to provide women with information on specific health issues of importance to them?  How are such programs directed to women of different ages?


31.     Are male and female detainees maintained in separate facilities?


32.     Among female inmates, are minors kept separately from adults?


33.     What provisions are made for the health needs of women prisoners, and for gyne­cological services in particular?


34.     Under what conditions are female prisoners subjected to full body searches?  Who is authorized to perform them?  For what reasons and under what conditions are the cavities of the body examined, and who is authorized to do this?


                                           FREEDOM FROM SLAVERY





1.       Do the practices of servitude by contract (indentured servitude) or the obligation to work off debts (debt bondage) exist?  If so, how many men and women are affected; in what regions of the country; and what legislation applies?



2.       Is unpaid domestic work contracted for in exchange for food and lodging?  Are there regulations to govern unpaid domestic employment?  Does the practice of sell­ing/purchasing girls for domestic service exist?  In what parts of the country?  How widespread are these practices (please disaggregate by sex)?  What legislation or policies exist to protect women from these prac­tices?  Are these enforced?  What sanctions are applied?


3.       Is there legislation governing conditions for domestic workers?  What protection does it provide? 


4.       What is the status of servitude/personal service in the legal order of the country?  Is the servitude/personal service of minors prohibited?  How does the law define slavery? 


5.       Do men have the "right" to restrict the personal freedom of their wives?


6.       What are the laws on the exploitation of prostitution in the country?  If prostitution is legal, how are female sexual workers and their customers treated under the law?  Are female sexual workers issued licenses, or are they regulated in any way?  Are there laws on child prostitution?  Is the sale of sexu­al ser­vices by third parties illegal?  If prostitution is illegal, is the law en­forced?  Are sanctions imposed against pros­titutes, cus­tomers or both? 


7.       Is trafficking in women classified as a criminal offense?  How many cases involving trafficking in women have been initiated in the last five years? 


8.       What obstacles stand in the way of eliminating the exploitation of prostitution and trafficking in women?


9.       What type of hard labor is authorized to be imposed on female convicts?


                                         RIGHT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY





1.       Does the remedy of habeas corpus apply only to restrictions on personal liberty imposed by the Government?  Is it possible to utilize this remedy in situations in which a deprivation of liberty is imposed by a family member, employer, teacher, spouse or companion, hospital or proprietor of a place of prostitution?


2.       What rights do women, who have been deprived of their liberty but have not been sentenced, possess in relation to their minor children?  How many women in detention, both accused and convicted, have their minor children housed with them in the detention facility?


3.       How many prison facilities exist; where are they located by region; and which facili­ties are used for the impris­onment of wom­en?







1.       Do men and women experience distinctions in the processing of their cases, either as claimants or defendants, in terms of access to justice; speed of proceedings; ability to receive legal counsel through the State, or other aspects?


2.       What particular prob­lems confront women as defendants in criminal processes?  What problems confront women who seek to utilize the criminal justice system to bring a complaint?


3.       Are there statistics, disaggregated by sex, on the commission of crimes?  If so, please include those for the last five years.


4.       Are there statistics, disaggregated­ by sex, concerning the severity of penalties applied for similar crimes?  If so, please include those for the last five years.


5.       Is there access to State appointed legal representation for the accused in a criminal matter?  Is there access to State appointed counsel for litigants in family, labor, civil or agricultural processes?  And for victims of sexual crimes or domestic violence?


6.       What is the total number of judges for each of the distinct levels within the administration of justice?  How many women serve as judges in each level?  Please provide the same information for the Prosecutor's Offices (Ministerio Publico).


7.       How many lawyers are there in the country?  How many are women?


                                 FREEDOM FROM EX POST FACTO LAWS





          See questions at Article 8.


                                           RIGHT TO COMPENSATION





1.       Is the right to be compensated in the event that one is sentenced by a final judgment through a miscarriage ­of justice protected by law?  How many claims have been filed over the last five years seeking such compensation, and how many have been decided?  Please disaggregate by sex.




                                                RIGHT TO PRIVACY





1.       What is understood by "honor" in the legal context?  For women?  For men?


2.       Are penalties reduced or terminated where a defendant claims defense of his "honor"?  For what crimes?  Is "honor" a grounds for aggravation or reduction of the seriousness of certain crimes? What justifies the use of "honor" as a grounds for aggravating or reducing the seriousness of a crime?


3.       Is "honor" used as a grounds to restrict the rights of women?


4.       How many men have been sentenced for "dishonor" and in what situations?


5.       How many women die for reasons of "honor"?


6.       Does the law protect individuals from arbitrary interference with their home or personal lives in the form of conduct such as "stalking?"


                               FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION





1.       Are men as well as women able to choose and freely express their religion?


2.       Are there religious educational programs financed by the Government?  If so, would such programs be compatible with human rights standards, including those concerning the rights of women?


3.       If a mother and father have different religious beliefs, how is the religion of the child determined?


                               FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION





1.       What is the percentage of women who occupy positions of management or decision in relation to the oral and written means of communication of the country?


2.       Does the State develop activities for the promotion of human rights?  If so, do such activities include information about women's rights? 


3.       Are there norms or mechanisms in place to prevent the supporting of ("apología del odio") or inciting of violence or other illegal actions against women?


4.       Do there exist means of challenging modes of communication which emit stereotypes and denigrating images of women?  Have sanctions been imposed?  What type of sanctions and under what circumstances?


5.       Are there laws against infant and child pornography?  Is the use of the wom­en for advertising purposes regulated?


6.       Does the Government permit access to information about the family, health, and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases?


                                      RIGHT OF CORRECTION OR REPLY





1.       Do there exist methods by which women may use the right of correction when they have been offended as a group?  Have they used these methods?  What is the procedure for exercising the right of correction?


                                               RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY





1.       Do women experience restrictions on their right of assembly (legal, social or family)?


                                          FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION





1.       Are there associations dedicated to the promotion and protection of women's rights which are recognized by the State?  Is so, please include a list of women's organiza­tions and mixed organizations?  Do any of them receive state support?  Which?


2.       In the last 5 years, has the right of association been denied to any women's organiza­tion?  How many?  Which are they?  Why?


3.       Is there legislation in place which limits the freedom of association of women?  When a family member or spouse has erected an impediment against participation in an organization or movement, may a woman present a complaint to some forum?  Have cases of this type been presented?  What has been the result of the action? 


4.       What protection does the Government provide for associations, organized groups and other social organizations?  For those in which women participate?  

                                         PROTECTION OF THE FAMILY





1.       What is the legal definition of family under domestic law?


2.       Is there legislation in place governing de facto unions (common law marriages)?


3.       Are family relations governed by civil law, religious law, customary law or a combination of those?  Explain, including discussion of the age required to marry legally, the possibility for a woman to choose her own mate, etc...


4.       Do men and women have the same rights and responsibilities in a marriage?  If not, please specify the differences in law, as well as in practice.


5.       According to law and custom, who is considered "head of the household?"


6.       Does the gov­ern­ment award differ­ent family allow­ances when the household is headed by a woman, a man, and by the two in common?


7.       In what per­cent­age of homes is the woman head of the house­hold?  In what per­cent­age of families or households with income below the poverty line is a woman head of the household?


8.       If divorce exists under the country's laws, what are the grounds for divorce for men and for women?  May a man or a woman seek a divorce on the same grounds?  Who generally retains the custody of the children after a divorce?  Are there statistics?  How is property divided between men and women in the event of a divorce?


9.       How does the State enforce the duty to provide alimony or allowance?  For the past five years, how many complaints a year were presented on the issue of alimony?  How many were resolved?  With what result?  What criteria are used to determine the appropriate alimony amount?  May married persons demand alimony or allowance from one another?


10.     Are there sanctions for those who do not comply with the alimony laws?  How many processes were initiated over the last three years for failure to comply with the duty to provide alimony, and how many were brought to resolution?


11.     How are the rights and duties of guardianship and care of minors exercised?  How are they suspended or lost?  What rights are granted with custody?  Do mothers and fathers have equal rights relating to the rights and duties of guardianship and care of minors?  What is the situation in cases of parents who are not married?


12.     How does the State enforce the duty to pay child support?  What sanctions are imposed on those who fail to comply?  What criteria are used to calculate child support?  Over the past five years, how many complaints were filed before the courts concerning non-compliance?  How many of these were resolved? With what result?


13.     Are children born within a marriage and those born outside of a marriage treated differently?


14.     Do there exist limitations or rules regarding the number of children a couple may have?


15.     Is the legal definition of adultery the same for male adulterers as it is for female adulterers?  Does adultery involve a criminal penalty?  Is it the same for men and for women?


16.     Do the widow and female successors of a deceased person enjoy an equal right with male successors to inherit land and other properties in the absence of a will?  Can a widow or daughter inherit property if provided for in a will?


17.     Are there provisions with respect to maternity and paternity leave?  Are there legal protections in place to prevent the firing of a pregnant women or of women on maternity leave?  Is such firing tolerated in practice?  Does a woman have the right to maternity leave without the loss of employment, seniority, or social benefits?  To maternity leave with payment of salary?  If so, who pays the salary?  How are infractions of applicable provisions penalized?  Are these applied effectively?


                                                 RIGHT TO A NAME




1.       Does a woman have the right to retain her family name or last name after marriage?  May she give that name to her children?


                                              RIGHTS OF THE CHILD





1.       Are male and female children heard in those judicial cases (see the questions relating to the rights of the family) in which matters that affect their interests are at issue?  Are their wishes taken into account?


2.       Are pregnant adolescents able to continue their formal education?  Is expulsion from school by reason of pregnancy possible?


3.       Do norms exist which differentiate between girls and boys born within and outside of marriage?  If so, in which cases?  



                                             RIGHT TO NATIONALITY





1.       Is nationality determined by birth, by nationality of the parents or some combination of these or other factors?  If nationality is determined by the nationality of the parents, which parent's nationality will have priority?


2.       Do women have the same rights as men to acquire, change or maintain their nationality?  What social, cultural or economic factors affect the exercise of such rights by women?


3.       Does marriage to a foreigner or the change of nationality of a spouse affect the nationality of a woman in any way?  Are there different norms for men and women in this area?


                                               RIGHT TO PROPERTY





1.       Do women have full capacity to acquire, administer and dispose of property and to assume rights and obligations by contract under the system of succession, the patrimonial system, and the community property system?


2.       Does the crime of fraud against joint prop­erty exist?­  If so, how many complaints per year were presented during the last five years?  What is the penalty, and has it been applied in practice?  Do legal procedures exist to protect joint property from the acts of one spouse?  If so, have these been utilized in practice (please disaggregated usage by sex)? 


3.       Do women and men have the same access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of credit?


                               FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND RESIDENCE





1.       Are there restrictions on the ability of a married woman to move freely and to fix her residence where she wishes without the authorization of her husband?


2.       Does a married woman require the authorization of her husband to be able to leave the country?  Is so, does a married man require the authorization of his wife?


3.       What procedure regulates the exit from the country of minors?  Is the authorization of the father and mother required, or only of the father or only of the mother?


                                RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT





1.       Do women have the right to vote in all elections in equality with men?  Since what time?  Is it obligatory to cast one's vote?  What percentage of men and women exercise the right to vote?


2.       Is there a difference in the minimum age required to vote between men and women?  Do other conditions exist with respect to the right to vote (for example, the holding of property, literacy, economic condition and others)?  Do such conditions affect men and women in a distinct manner?


3.       Are there instances of participation and consultation­ with women's­ organiza­tions in the process of taking decisions of development and implementation of laws and programs which affect them?


4.       Are the same requirements demanded of men and women in order to run for elected office and public office?


5.       What percentage of candidates for public office are women?


6.       Please indicate the public offices and high posts occupied by women?  Referring to elected as well as appointed positions for the last two periods:  presidency and vicepresidency of the republic, ministers, governors, senators, deputies, city council and council members.


7.       What percentage of executive positions within state agencies are filled by women?


8.       How many women serve in the foreign service of the country?  How many serve in administrative positions, executive positions, and ambassadorial positions?


9.       Does the state promote the equitable participation of men and women in politics?  Please indicate the mechanisms utilized for this purpose, modifications to the electoral codes, policies and other actions taken in this field in the last five years.


10.     What obstacles, if any, hinder women in their ability to take part in the conduct of "public affairs"?


                                        RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION





1.       Are there constitutional and legal provisions that define discrimination against women?  Please attach texts.


2.       Are there laws or administrative dispositions which discriminate against women?  Are these in the process of being changed or revoked?



3.       What legislative or administrative measures have been adopted to prohibit or eliminate discrimination against women?



4.       Are sanctions imposed, such as fines or loss of government contracts, for discrimination against women?  If so, what are they?  How have they been applied?



5.       Have cases of discrimination against women been heard before courts or governmental administrative bodies in the last five years?  If so, how many cases have been initiated?  How many have been brought to resolution?  What judgments have been issued?



6.       What measures have been adopted to advance or improve the situation of women or to guarantee fundamental freedoms and equality of rights?  Have mechanisms or institutions been established to give these effect?  Please explain.



7.       Are there general programs of public education and school texts which promote the equality before the law of men and women?  Please describe them.



8.       Are there prohibitions on women filling certain work positions which are open to men?  If so, what criteria justify these prohibitions?



9.       What norms exist to eliminate discrimination against women in employment? Are these complied with?  What sanctions are provided for non-compliance?  How many cases of non-compliance have resulted in the application of sanctions in the last five years?



10.     Do women have the right according to the law to receive pay equal to that of men for equal work or work of the same value?  What percentage of the remuneration received by men is received by women? 



11.     Do norms exist with reference to the work realized by women in the home?  Is unpaid farm or other agricultural work included as part of the gross national product of the country?



12.     As a matter of law and of practice, do women have the same right as men to: a pension, to social services for the elderly, to services for disability, to work training, promotions, retirement, vacations or paid annual leave, or other service related to employment?


                                      RIGHT TO JUDICIAL PROTECTION





1.       What type of obstacles, if any, restrict women in their access to the mecha­nisms of justice for protection against acts which violate their fundamental rights?  See questions, Article 8.


                              ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS





1.       What is the average rate of female and male literacy?  Please disaggregate figures by age group and region as well.


2.       What percentage of graduates of primary school, secondary school and university level institutions are women?


3.       What educational programs are available for young people and for adult women who dropped out of school before graduating?  What are the male and female drop-out rates at each distinct level of schooling?


4.       What percent­age of the work force is comprised of women?  What is the rate of unemployment for women and for men?  Are there differences in these rates between urban zones and rural zones?


5.       What percentage of the population has access to health care?  Please disaggreg­ate figures by sex, by age group, and by region. 


6.       What percentage of the population suffers from malnutrition?  Please disaggreg­ate figures by sex, by age group, and by region. 


                                        SUSPENSION OF GUARANTEES




1.       Has a state of emergency or exception been declared by national authorities during the past five years?  If so, what measures or restrictions were adopted?  Did these measures affect men and women equally?  







1.       Please indicate the international and inter-American instruments that have been ratified by the state with respect to the rights of women, and whether these instruments were adopted with reservations, and, if so, what specific reservations were made.

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     [1]   Please Note:


            With respect to all the subjects addressed, it is helpful to refer both to legal provisions and to actual practice.  What measures are being taken to guarantee protection of and compliance with the law for women?  What obstacles are being encountered?