Violence Against Women in Uruguay

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Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Some policies introduced to improve the status of women are: Article 8 of the Constitution of Uruguay upholds the equality of all citizens, but does not specifically refer to gender equality. Uruguay has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and, in 2007, passed a law on equal rights and opportunities for men and women. The country’s law against discrimination provides a precise definition of discrimination that is in line with international conventions. By legal doctrine, all human rights recognised within international treaties that Uruguay has ratified become constitutional rights within the country. Violence against women, particularly domestic violence, remains a significant issue. The Montevideo city hall's hot line for victims of domestic violence received 4,785 complaints in 1998 and 4,927 in the first 10 months of 1999. Persons calling the hot line are provided counseling, free legal advice, and may be referred to NGO's that can provide further social services. The Criminal Code covers spousal abuse and spousal rape, although criminal charges rarely are initiated for those crimes. Similarly, although the law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, few complaints are ever filed under this provision. The Government has established an office of assistance for victims of domestic violence that trains police how to resolve complaints of violence against women. A new directorate within the Ministry of Interior instituted a public awareness campaign about domestic violence and founded community assistance centers where abuse victims receive information and referrals to government and private organizations in their area that aid abused women. Both the Ministry of Interior and...
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