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Ending Violence Against Women in Panama
In Panama, where domestic violence is the second most reported crime in the country, the national legislature had three legal initiatives to address the problem of violence against women languish in debate. Long a champion of women’s rights, APLAFA, our Member Association in Panama, took action to bring the issue of violence against women from the background to the forefront of public dialogue.
In 2013, APLAFA organized a forum on violence against women in conjunction with the United Nations, government agencies, and key political actors. Our Regional Director, Carmen Barroso, gave a moving speech at the event that prompted a member of the National Assembly to commit then and there to bring his law to the assembly again. As he initiated the legislative process, APLAFA and other civil society members rallied support and helped lawmakers craft a comprehensive law in support of women’s rights.
The new law passed in October of 2013. Not only does it classify femicide—the intentional murder of women because they are women—as a crime, it establishes a regulatory framework to eradicate all types of violence against women. In a major victory for women’s rights, the law also recognizes that denying women access to family planning services is a form of violence and establishes a regulatory body—which includes APLAFA—to monitor the implementation.