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Third periodic report  submitted on 18 July 1997 (E/1994/104/Add.18)


Estados Unidos de México — the United States of Mexico — is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, with 93.7 million inhabitants.  The population is 60 mestizo (mixed indigenous-Spanish), 30 percent indigenous or predominantly indigenous, and 9 percent white. Although Spanish is the official language, several indigenous languages are also used.  In recent years,  the country has gone through much internal turmoil, including assassinations of politicians, scandals related to former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, an indigenous Zapatista insurrection, and the peso  (Mexican currency) crash in 1994. [1]


Human Rights

Mexico boasts one of the most comprehensive constitutional guarantees of human rights in the world, but these rights are commonly violated. [2]   According to Amnesty International, the violation of human rights in Mexico has increased in the last six years. This increase in violence is especially significant in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero, where guerilla groups and the military are actively operating.  The incidence of torture, extrajudicial executions and “missing” people has increased in the last few years.  At the same time, victims have not been given adequate legal representation.  For instance,  it is common for lawyers not to attend interrogation, or fail to intervene when the imprisoned is tortured.  This problem is especially serious with regard to indigenous people who do not speak Spanish and who are denied a translator in the process. [3]  In the last four years, Mexico’s human rights record was criticized by several international organizations, including Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch.  The International Federation of Human Rights, AI, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations (UN) all sent delegations to investigate the human rights situation. [4]   AI claimed that abuses were committed by members of the security forces against both political and criminal detainees, and criticized Mexican authorities for doing little to prosecute the perpetrators.  According to an April 1997 AI report, despite thousands of complaints filed, no one had been sentenced for the crime of torture and ill-treatment. [5]  President Zedillo acknowledged in an October 1997 speech that the perception of insecurity had reached such a high level that people in the capital and other parts of the country fear the police as much as they fear criminals. [6]


Attacks Against Journalists

In recent years the Mexican press has become more independent and more critical of the government. Journalists have taken on drug traffickers and exposed government wrongdoings.  At the same time,  attacks and harassment of journalists have increased, and there is often a link between the authorities and the murderers. [7]   Mexico has one of the highest numbers of journalist assassinations in Latin America— since 1970, more than 100 reporters, editors and publishers have been killed. [8]


Economic Situation


Even though the 1997 Asian financial crisis affected most of the Latin American countries, Mexico along with other Central American countries did not suffer heavy consequences because of the close trade relationship with the United States. [9]  Despite an improvement in the overall income distribution during the 1990s, [10] the level of poverty has increased.


Economy and NAFTA

The 1994 peso devaluation threw Mexico into the worst economic recession in 60 years.  Within a year, the peso’s worth declined from US$.26 to US$.13, and prices on basic items jumped.  At the same time, some 20,000 businesses were closed, and more than 1 million people lost jobs.  Interest rates soared and inflation shrank savings and incomes.  With the impoverishment of the population, crime in the capital increased by 36 percent in 1995 and another 14 percent in 1996. [11]


In 1994, Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and the United States.  Some commentators say NAFTA has benefited Mexico by creating jobs and helping its economy recover quickly after the peso crash.  While in 1995, Mexico’s GDP dropped 6.2 percent, only a year later it grew 5.1 percent. [12]    But NAFTA’s critics argue that it has had a considerable social and environmental cost.  Some human rights commentators warn that NAFTA has wiped out small Mexican corn farmers in favor of huge US agribusiness, accelerating migration from rural to urban areas, depressing wages and increasing labor violations.  Moreover, they maintain that NAFTA-related business harms the environment, since production tends to be shifted to areas with  “lax environmental enforcement.” [13]   Opposition politicians and parties that recorded success in the July elections, including the PRD Cardenas, have called for a “review” of  NAFTA to make it more just and fair to people. [14]  


Since the ratification of NAFTA, the number of maquilas  has increased dramatically. Maquilas (or maquiladoras) are export-oriented assembly plants concentrated along the border with the United States employing about 900,000 workers. [15] Their output represents approximately 40 percent of the nation’s exports. [16]  Most of these factories receive 98 percent of their inputs from the United States or Asia.   Many environmental, human rights and labor groups accuse the sector of exploiting workers, who are pressured to work long hours under poor working conditions for meager wages. Labor rights groups have also alleged that maquila workers are routinely prevented from organizing. [17]


The following report was originally prepared for the 18th session of CEDAW in January 1998. The present report was adapted to the CESCR format and updated based on information received from women’s human rights activists in Mexico.

COVENANT ARTICLE 3: Equal Rights of Women and Men

According to a report by Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP),  despite constitutional guarantees of equality between men and women in many Mexican states, legal codes contain provisions that are clearly discriminatory towards women.  In some states, women are required to obtain authorization from their husbands to work or sign a contract.  CRLP also reported that in some states, Chiapas for instance, an animal theft receives a harsher punishment than rape. [18]

Marriage Law

Even though Mexico City (the Federal District) civil code grants wives and husbands equal authority over their children and financial resources, civil codes in some states define the husband as the head of the household, with total authority over his wife and children. [19]   According to several human rights reports, women in some states have limited ability to sue to establish paternity and receive child support, except in cases of rape or cohabitation; when the child resides with the father; and where there is a written proof of paternity. [20]


According to Judge Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, in cases of divorce on the grounds of adultery, the law clearly favors men, justifying men’s adultery to a certain degree.  If the wife does not meet her husbands “conjugal rights,” the husband may be seen as justified in seeking satisfaction of his “natural instincts” through extramarital sexual relations.  He is not held responsible for the divorce as he is considered to have been “pushed” into adultery.  On the other hand, a woman is always condemned for adultery since her extramarital affair can result in an “illegitimate child.” Moreover, such conduct is considered a “provocation” for her husband’s adultery, which makes her guilty and ultimately responsible for the divorce.  The person who is declared responsible loses forever the right to receive alimony from the other.

Right to Work and Right to Just and Favorable Conditions of Work

Workers Conditions: Maquiladoras

In some maquila sectors, such as electronics and garment-assembly plants, up to three-quarters of workers are female, [21] and they come from nation’s lowest-income sectors. [22]  Human rights groups have criticized the poor working conditions, such as ten-hour shifts and highly repetitive work.  In addition, workers in the maquila industry face particularly strong management resistance to organizing.  The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) reported that employers, often with support from local officials, have harassed and threatened workers who attempted to start trade unions. [23]   

Wage and Wage Differential

Real minimum wage decreased by 6.1 percent during the period 1990-1996.  The wage disparity between men and women has increased during the period 1984–1996. The average ratio of women’s income compared with average income for men declined from 80 percent in 1984 to 73 percent in 1996. [24]   Women with the least education have seen the greatest decrease. For women with zero to three years of education the ratio of women’s wages to men’s fell from 71 percent in 1990 to 67 percent in 1996, and for women with four to six years of education it decreased from 73 percent to 69 percent during the same period. [25]


According to a 1999 UNDP report, only 19.8 percent of administration and management position are held by women. Women occupy 42.2 percent of professional and technical position. [26]   Most women work in commerce (19 percent), domestic service (11 percent), secretarial services (11 percent), financial services (4 percent), nursing (3 percent), and education (3 percent).  In any industry, however, few women occupy the high-level positions: for every 100 men in administrative or managerial jobs, there are only 24 women in comparable positions.  Only 3 percent of Mexican working women are business entrepreneurs. [27]

Pregnancy Testing

Mexican employers are required by law to provide a paid maternity leave to their female employees. [28]   Employers have tried to circumvent this requirement by administering pregnancy tests to female job applicants and repeating the test before extending work contracts.  Although measures against pregnancy are strictest in the maquiladora industry (see Maquilas above), multinational corporations such as Coca-Cola, as well as Mexican government offices such as the Education Ministry and the State Workers’ Social Security Institute, have also used pregnancy testing.  In addition, women applying for jobs with the Education Secretariat reported that they had to fill out questionnaires about their sexual activity.  According to Human Rights Watch World Report 1999, women working in maquiladoras  suffer discrimination no only at the time of hiring, but  they also have to provide urine samples for pregnancy analysis periodically after they have been hired as a condition for maintaining their employment.  In some factories, women are required to show their used sanitary napkins to factory medical personnel  as a proof they are not pregnant. [29]   Moreover, human rights groups report that women who are refused jobs because of pregnancy or forced to have an abortion to get a job, do not have any legal recourse.  The labor tribunal accepts complaints only in cases where the contractual relationship of employment already exists. [30]

Rural Women

The current agricultural production system has had a tremendous impact on women and their families in rural areas.  Since the implementation of the Tratado de Libre Comercio de America del Norte  (North American Free Trade Agreement; NAFTA), the import of grains has increased to a level that has never before been seen. The agricultural production system favors big companies and necessitates the use of high-level technology. [31]   This fact has had a detrimental effect on most of the small agricultural producers. [32]   In order to remain competitive and increase production, peasants have tried to update their technology, use chemical fertilizers, and substitute new “improved” seed for native seed.  This practice has been devastating for some areas, where the new seed proved unable to resist the weather or plagues.  For instance, in Guanajuato, the peasants’ introduction of the new beans has led to breaks in production during certain periods. In this context, according to NGOs, this new production system poses a serious threat to rural families’  subsistence since their traditional jobs are in danger.  This has especially affected women who, because the food supply is not sufficient for the family, give up part of their food to feed their children. [33]



Right to Union Association

Labor Movement

Mexican labor law grants the government the power to stop formation of independent unions, to ban strikes or to declare them “legally non-existent,” which gives strikers no protection from being fired. [34]  In the past, the PRI exercised almost complete control over unions, and most efforts to form independent unions and bargain collectively led to acts of terrorism against independent organizers. [35]

Protection of the Family and of Mother and Children

Maternity Leave

Mexican law establishes that women are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave at full pay. The Mexican Institute of Social Security finances payment during this period. When women return to their jobs, their positions are guaranteed for one year.  Despite the existence of this law, the job guarantee is rarely enforced. [36]

Rural Women

As described under Article 7 of this report, the new agriculture production system has adversely affected rural families, and particularly women. To provide for their families, women have sought new jobs outside the rural areas.  Sources reported that this has had a significant impact on family well-being.  For example, given the lack of daycare centers in rural zones, children have been left unattended in their places of residence.  Some of the effects observed so far are the decrease in the level of nutrition for children, and the increase in drug and alcohol consumption among youth.  Moreover, the changes in food consumption among children from the traditional corn tortilla  to chatarra (junk food) has led to an increased incidence of osteoporosis and dental problems that previously had been uncommon. [37]



Right to an Adequate Standard of Living


The percentage of households living below the poverty line has increased in Mexico from 39 percent in 1989 to 43 percent in 1996. [38]  The percentage of female-headed households living in poverty has increased from 22 percent in 1984 to 32.8 percent in 1994.  Among the total households living in poverty, the percentage of households headed by women has increased during this period from 16 percent to 18 percent. [39]  Furthermore, according to a 1999 UNDP report, 28 percent of the population still has no access to sanitation. [40]



Right to Physical and Mental Health


In 1995 in Mexico City, 1,289 rapes were reported to the police, and the figure rose by 25 percent in 1996.   But the real incidence may be much higher, as it is estimated that, on average, only seventeen percent of all rape victims report attacks against them.  Moreover, approximately 95 percent of all reported cases of sexual abuse go unpunished.  Patricia Olamendi, the director of the Office for Victims of Sexual Crimes of the Attorney General’s Office for the Federal District, attributes this situation to the government’s lack of attention to policies and laws related to sexual violence. This results in poor handling of these cases by the police and the justice system. The law enforcement system tends to discount women’s stories and commonly blames them for the attack. [41]   In addition, women often feel that they cannot trust the police since there have been documented cases of police officers’ participation in sex crimes. [42]


Several recent cases have drawn attention to the discriminatory way the Mexican justice system handles rape cases.  One of them is the widely publicized case of Claudia Rodríguez Ferrando.  In 1996, Rodríguez shot and killed a man who was trying to sexually assault her.  Judges and prosecutors openly blamed Rodríguez for the attack.  She spent a year in jail awaiting trial on homicide charges, and won release in February 1997 only after an energetic campaign launched by feminist organizations and attorneys. [43]   The groups pointed out that in another self-defense case, a major television network’s security chief, who shot and killed a robber who was trying to steal his Rolex watch at gunpoint, was freed within two days.  A women’s rights activist stated: “We can’t have a situation where a woman’s physical integrity is worth less than a wristwatch.” [44]


In August 1997, Mexico was shocked when 16-year-old Yéssica Díaz Cazares committed suicide three months after she was raped by three men in the central state of Durango.  Reportedly, the police asked her to recount her story and tried to pressure her to drop rape charges.  According to press reports, Yéssica’s mother, sister and niece were tortured to pressure her to withdraw the rape claim. [45]  As a result of this case, the police chief and other justice officials were suspended and the Durango state authorities launched a criminal investigation.  State Attorney General Juan Francisco Arroyo Herrera quit his post after the Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) recommended that he be dismissed. [46]

Spousal Abuse

In June 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that violently forcing a spouse to engage in sexual relations was not rape, but rather the “undue exercise of a right.”  The court’s decision rested on an assumption that where there is an obligation of cohabitation, “violent imposition of normal copulation on the other is not sufficient for the act to be considered rape, even though the perpetrator has employed methods used in what is defined as rape.”  In the past, offenders faced eight to fourteen years in prison and did not have the right to probation.  Under the new ruling, they will have the option to pay a US$100-$300 fine or spend up to a year in prison.  Mexican women’s human-rights activists have accused the court of  “legitimizing the exercise of violence between spouses,” and of violating the Mexican constitution and international treaties.  They claim that the ruling denied the principle of equality between spouses and violated a clause in the constitution that “no individual can take the law into his own hands nor use violence to demand a real or supposed right.” [47]

Domestic Violence

In Mexico, domestic assault is a crime, but in ten states, “correcting” a wife and children is not a crime unless it involves cruelty or unnecessary frequency. [48] According to an investigation conducted by Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights (MAHR) in 1996, domestic violence is a widespread problem in Mexico, yet the abusers are rarely punished for the crimes.  The cultural more holding that violence in the home is a private matter, not a public issue for prosecution by the state, weighs heavily and impedes victims’ access to justice.  Victims are routinely not taken seriously and many are encouraged to reconcile with their abuser early in the case and pressured to drop the criminal charges. MAHR found that a Mexico City “conciliator” (a person appointed to work with the victim) openly expressed his view that the husband had a right to beat his wife and prosecution of such cases was inappropriate. [49] According to the MAHR report, only five percent of victims who start the criminal process actually see it through to sentencing.


After years of campaigns, domestic violence advocates succeeded in passing reforms to the Civil Code regarding domestic violence. The reform incorporated domestic violence as a delito sexual (or sexual crime; before it was considered only as injuria or injury),  and the violence committed by the husband now is considered a delito.  Domestic violence now can be used as grounds for divorce. [50]   Despite this new law, women ‘s NGOs are aware of the cultural issues involved in the enforcement of this law.  A  battered woman who wants to report the incident to the police, often faces pressure and threats from her husband who reminds her of the effort he has made in “supporting” her financially, and how difficult it would be for her to live without her husband’s support.  Obviously, in cases of women who do not work, this type of pressure is effective, and they typically withdraw charges against their husbands. [51]



Although the Mexican constitution guarantees reproductive freedom and does not explicitly prohibit abortion, most states forbid it.  According to the National Prenatal Institute, approximately 200,000 to 850,000 abortions are performed each year; some international organizations and NGOs say the number may be as high as two million.  Women face six months to five years of imprisonment for abortion, [52] and doctors who perform the procedure face six-to eight-year imprisonment and a loss of their license. 


Every year about 1,500 women die from trying to perform an abortion on their own. [53]   Even though abortion is a serious public health issue and its relatively high incidence is linked to a reluctance to use birth control, which is prohibited by the influential Catholic Church, there is no public debate about it and minimal political and social support for its legalization.  The Catholic Church and pro-life activists have not made abortion a major issue, and anti-abortion demonstrations are uncommon.  According to Marta Lamas, director of the Information Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE), such a pro-life crusade is unnecessary because of the cultural weight of Catholicism in Mexican society. [54]  In fact, politicians, doctors and even Mexican feminists avoid the issue. Asked about abortion, Senator Amalia García, who has fought for women’s rights for 20 years, responded that she would not fight for its legalization.

Reproductive Health

Negligence by medical personnel and coercion at reproductive health-care centers are serious issues in Mexico.  The largest number of complaints to the CNDH in 1995 involved negligence or abuse during childbirth and charges of forced sterilization. [55]   The government’s “Woman’s Program,” designed to monitor the situation, has been receiving an increasing number of complaints since it was established in early 1990s.  Grievances have grown from 14 in 1993 to 49 in 1995, and were estimated to increase to more than 100 in 1997. [56]   One of the most noteworthy cases involves a woman who, following the Cesarean birth of her third child, found that one of her thumbs was stained.  She was subsequently informed that while she was unconscious, her thumb print was used to obtain her “consent” for sterilization. [57] CNDH and several NGOs recommended that the government mandate special training programs for medical personnel and establish medical review boards to eliminate these abuses, but it is unknown whether any such programs have been instituted. While general reproductive health has improved, as indicated by declining infant mortality rates and an increase in breastfeeding, the rate of maternal deaths has remained steady since 1993 at 5.8 per 10,000. [58]   


Mexico ranks third in the Western Hemisphere in the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases, [59] and women constitute about fifteen percent of all cases. [60]  It is estimated that at least 400,000 people in Mexico carry HIV. [61] While AIDS cases among Mexican women in the mid-1980s were mainly associated with blood transfusion,  sixty four percent of new cases are traced to heterosexual transmission. [62]  In fact, the heterosexually transmitted epidemic has been increasing twice as fast as cases related to blood transfusion in recent years and it is expected to dominate AIDS epidemiology in the future. 


While women are biologically more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS than men, in Mexico their social and cultural status makes it even more difficult for them to defend themselves against the risks of infection. Women’s economic, social and cultural subordination to their sexual partners, the result of machismo, makes it more difficult for them to “assess their infection risk and negotiate taking preventive measures.” [63]  AIDS researchers in Mexico have called for better design of preventive measures that would empower women and enable them to protect themselves, even without their partner’s awareness.  They called for the promotion of education among young heterosexual couples on how to discuss and negotiate sexual issues and preventive measures. But Alicia Molina of the Interdisciplinary Center for Study and Research in Mexico City said the country’s educational system does not have an adequate sex education program, as it is limited to biological and medical topics and fails to deal with important psychological implications and social aspects of sexuality. [64]   Conservative sectors of society, particularly the Catholic Church hierarchy, have been campaigning to make sex education exclusively a parental responsibility — a misguided proposition, since parents themselves often lack adequate information.  Partly as a result of this pressure, there is no sex education program for adolescents, and the 1995-2000 program of educational development does not mention sex education in curricula. [65]  The church and antichoice groups have demanded that condoms distributed through Mexico’s AIDS prevention program carry a warning label stating, “use of this product is harmful to health.” [66]


Rural Women


According to women’s NGOs, contagious illness, inadequate nutrition, and reproductive health problems are 2.2 times higher per inhabitant in rural areas than among the urban population. [67]   The main program for supporting rural women, Progresa, (Program for Education, Health, and Nutrition), gives an amount of money bimonthly for the education of children and for food. Women who receive this benefit are forced to visit the hospital once a month to attend a class about health.  According to NGOs, these classes do not address the reality of rural women and are not helpful.  Moreover, these women are often expected to do favors, such as clean the clinic and cook for the physician.   These women and their families are allocated one day for a consultation with the physician. The appointment is set without regard to their and their family’s health, and the frequency of these appointments varies from every three to six months.  If an illness is diagnosed, they are responsible for buying their own medication, which they often cannot afford. [68]



Right to Education


In 1997, the adult literacy rate in Mexico stood at 90.1 percent. The adult literacy rate for women is 87.9 percent, while for men it is 92.3. [69]  Women comprise the majority of the illiterate population (62 percent). [70]   Even though education is compulsory for boys and girls between six and 18 years old, only 40  percent of women have more than primary education, and 15 percent have no education at all.  This measure is considerably higher for indigenous populations.  For instance, 46 percent of indigenous women compared to 37 percent of indigenous men do not have formal education. [71]


In higher education, there is a clear divide between male and female professions: 45  percent of students in literature and fine arts and 42 percent of history majors are women.  In technical areas, such as engineering, computing, and chemistry, women constitute only 14 percent of the students. [72]


Concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Mexico. 5 January 1994 ( E/C.12/1993/16)


No recommendations concerning women were issued by this Committee.


Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Mexico. 27 July 1999 (CCPR/C/79/Add.109)


Concerns and recommendations:

·        The Committee is concerned about the situation of street children, which is constantly worsening. These are the children who are at greatest risk of sexual violence and who are exposed to the practices of sexual trafficking.  Take effective measures for the protection and rehabilitation of these children in accordance with article 24 of the Covenant, including measures to end prostitution, child pornography and the sale of children.


·        The Committee is concerned at the level of violence against women, including the many reported cases of abduction and murder which have not led to the arrest or trial of the perpetrators and the many allegations of rape or torture by the security forces of women in detention which the latter are fearful of reporting.  Take effective measures to protect the security of women, to ensure that no pressure is brought to bear on them to deter them from reporting such violations and to ensure that all allegations of abuse are investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.


·        The Committee is concerned by information to the effect that Mexican women seeking employment in foreign enterprises in the frontier areas of Mexico ("maquiladoras") are subjected to pregnancy tests and required to respond to intrusive personal questioning, and that some women employees have been administered anti-pregnancy drugs. It is also concerned that those allegations have not been seriously investigated.  Take measures to investigate all such allegations with a view to ensuring that women whose rights to equality and to privacy have been violated in this way have access to remedies and to preventing such violations from recurring.


·        Approve measures to ensure equality of opportunity for women, their full participation in public life in conditions of equality and the removal of all remaining discriminatory provisions in regard to marriage, divorce and remarriage.


Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Mexico. 14 May 1998 (A/53/38).


Suggestions and recommendations:

·        Continue efforts to reduce poverty among rural women, particularly indigenous women, and to work together with non-governmental organizations, making special efforts to promote education, employment and health programs conducive to the integration of women into the development process, both as beneficiaries and as protagonists.   In view of the relatively high growth levels of the Mexican economy that have been mentioned, the Committee would welcome a more equitable redistribution of wealth among the population.


·        Evaluate areas, such as the private sector, that are not covered by affirmative action and, in its next report, submit a consolidated evaluation of all affirmative-action initiatives.

·        Provide more information about existing mechanisms to enable women to seek redress from the courts on the basis of the Convention.


·        Continue to monitor compliance with labor laws in the factories and pursue the work of raising awareness among factory employers.


·        Continue its institutional intervention to persuade public land (ejido) assemblies to allocate to women the parcels of land to which they are entitled.


·        Consider revising the legislation criminalizing abortion and weigh the possibility of authorizing the use of the RU486 contraceptive, which is cheap and easy to use, as soon as it becomes available.


·        Give information in the next report on the impact of programs to reduce and prevent teenage pregnancy.


·        Introduce training for health personnel with regard to women's human rights, and particularly their right, freely and without coercion, to choose means of contraception.


·        Continue to work for the adoption of nationwide legislation on all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, adjusting state laws to national laws.


·        Consider the possibility of implementing an integrated, long-term plan for combating violence. Such a plan could include taking legal action, training judicial, law enforcement and health personnel, informing women about their rights and about the Convention and strengthening victims' services.


·        Take strong action against persons who commit violence against women, and that it should be made easier for women to bring court action against offenders.


·        Address the matter of whether it intends to legalize prostitution and whether this issue has been subject to public debate in its next report. New legislation should not discriminate against prostitutes but should punish pimps and procurers.


·        Amend legal penalties for rape and ensure their implementation.  Conduct rape awareness campaigns for non-governmental organizations and legislators.


·        Take action against employers who discriminate against women on grounds of pregnancy. The women concerned should be supported, and society sent a clear signal that such discrimination is not to be tolerated.


·        Provide information in the next report on the avenues of appeal open to women who, upon a division of property in divorce, suffer economically despite their contribution to the family's assets.


·        Provide information in the next report on women who migrate abroad, where they go and whether any authorized agency regulates such migration.


·        Provide comparative data on men's and women's access to pensions and the minimum amount of such pensions.

·        Provide information on whether homosexuality is penalized in the criminal code.


·        Provide information on women heads of rural enterprises and on programs for the economic advancement of rural women.


·        Introduce education programs on the provisions of the Convention and the rights of women for judicial personnel, law enforcement officers, lawyers and others who are responsible for applying the law. Take further steps to increase the numbers of women at all levels of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.


·        Conduct campaign to educate women about the content of the Convention, alerting them to their economic, political, civil and cultural rights.


·        Include systematic statistics in future reports in order to facilitate a dialogue with the Committee on women's de facto situation. In particular, the Committee requests data on the implementation of the information system that is beginning to be applied.


·        Pay special attention to safeguarding the human rights of women, including indigenous women and women in conflict zones, especially where police and armed forces are operating.


·        Review legislation in all states of Mexico so that, where necessary, women are granted access to rapid and easy abortion.


·        Disseminate widely the present concluding comments, in order to make the people of Mexico, and particularly its government administrators and politicians, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de facto equality for women and the further steps required in this regard.   Continue to disseminate widely, and in particular to women's and human rights organizations, the Convention, the Committee's general recommendations and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Mexico. 2 May 1997 (A/52/44.)


No recommendations concerning women were issued by this Committee.

Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: Mexico. 22 September 1995 (A/50/18).

No recommendations concerning women were issued by this Committee.


Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Mexico. 7 February 1994 (CRC/C/15/Add.13).



·        Adopt urgent measures to combat discrimination against children belonging to the most vulnerable groups, in particular children subject to abuse or violence within the family, children living and/or working in the streets and children belonging to indigenous communities, including measures to eliminate and prevent discriminatory attitudes and prejudices such as those based on gender.



[1] M. Delal Baer, “Misreading Mexico,” Foreign Policy, no. 108 (Fall 1997): 139.

[2] Andrew Reding, Democracy and Human Rights in Mexico, (New York: World Policy Institute, May 1995), 13.

[3] Mexico: Bajo la Sombra de la Impunidad, Amnistia Internacional, 9 March 1999, available at www.derechos.org/nizkor/mexico/informes.html.

[4] Diego Cevallos, “Mexico-Rights: Strained Relations Between Government, NGOs,” Inter Press Service, 14 October 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[5] “Mexico: Widespread Torture and ill-treatment Continues Despite Government’s Professed Commitment to End this Atrocious Crime,” Amnesty International News Release , no. 68/97, 30 April 1997.

[6] Cevallos, “Mexico-Human Rights: Watch Out for the Police, Rights Groups Say.”

[7] “Mexico, Colombia Lead Latin America in Slain Journalists,” Agence France-Presse (check spelling), 4 September 1997.

[8] Mark I. Pinsky, “Living Dangerously; Journalism in Mexico; Includes Report on Imprisoned Journalists,” The Quill  (May 1997), Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[9] “Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1998”. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, (ECLAC), Santiago, Chile, December 1998.

[10] The share of income for the richest ten percent decreased from 36.9 percent in 1989 to 33.7 percent in 1996.  The Gini index decreased from 0.42 in 1989 to 0.39 in 1996, and the ratio between the median income of the extreme percentiles decreased from 15.0 to 11.6.

[11] John Ward Anderson, “In Mexico’s Crime Wave, Police Often are the Cause, Not the Solution,” Washington Post, 30 September 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[12] M. Delal Baer, 146.

[13] Noam Chomsky, “Notes of NAFTA: The Masters of Mankind,” Documents on Mexican Politics, available at http://daisy.uwaterloo.ca/~alopez-o/pol-ind.html/, accessed 31 October 1997.

[14] Sam Dillon, “In Mexico, Balloting Will Test Authoritarian System,” New York Times, 6 July 1997, on-line.

[15] “Maquiladora Jobs Up,” Arizona Republic, 1 October 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[16] “ Mexico/Maquiladoras/Exports Increase to 4,001 million,” Notimex, 17 September 1997, Nexis, 23 October 1997.

[17] Diego Cevallos, “Mexico-Economy: Social and Environmental Costs of Maquila Boom,” Inter Press Service, 15 July 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[18] Patricia Galeana, “La Violencia Intrafamiliar como Delito Tipificado. Un proyecto Pendiente, “ in  Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Memoria de la Reunión Nacional sobre Derechos Humanos de la Mujer Mexicana, November 1995, 16.

[19] Naomi Neft and Ann D. Levine, Where Women Stand: An International Report on the Status of Women in 140 Countries (1997-1998) (New York: Random House, 1997).

[20] U.S. Department of State, Mexico Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996.

[21] “Mexico Labour: Maquilas Put Spotlight on Workers’ Rights, Ethics,” Economist Intelligence Unit, 29 July 1997, Nexis, 31 October 1997.

[22] Cevallos, “Mexico-Economy: Social and Environmental Costs of Maquila Boom.”

[23] International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 1997 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights, 58-59.

[24] ECLAC, “Panorama Social de America Latina y El Caribe, 1998.”

[25] Ibid.

[26] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 1999  (July 1999).

[27] Naomi Neft and Ann D. Levine.

[28] Andres Oppenheimer and Lucy Conger, ”Mexican Women Unite in a Demand for Rights,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 18 August 1997, Nexis, 27 October 1997.

[29] Human Rights Watch , Human Rights Watch World Report 1999 (New York, Washington, London, Brussels:Human Rights Watch, 1998):437.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Blanca Rubio, “Conferencia El Domio desarticulado de la Industria sobre la agriculatura: la fase agroexportadora excluyente” Red Nacional de Promotoras y Asesoras Rurales, Mexico, February, 1999.

[32] Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio. Mexico, 1997.

[33] Rosaaurora Espinosa Gomez, e-mail correspondence with IWRAW correspondence, 4 October 1999.

[34] International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 1997 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights (Brussels: International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 1997), 58.

[35] Andrew Reding, Democracy and Human Rights in Mexico, (New York: World Policy Institute, May 1995), 39-40.

[36] Naomi Neft and Ann D. Levine.

[37] Rosaaurora Espinosa Gomez, e-mail correspondence with IWRAW correspondence, 4 October 1999.

[38] ECLAC, “Panorama Social de America Latina, 1998.”

[39] Ibid.

[40] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 1999  (July 1999).

[41] Diego Cevallos, “Mexico-Women: Suicide of Young Rape Victim Spurs New NGO,”  Inter Press Service, 15 October 1997, Nexis, 27 October 1997.

[42] Julia Preston, “A Woman’s Shooting of Attacker Rivets Mexico,” New York Times, 5 February 1997, A3.

[43] Elena Poniatowska, “Women’s Battle for Respect Inch by Inch; Each Small Victory is Big News in the Struggle for Respect in a Society Where Mother’s Day Means the Gift of a New Mop,” Los Angeles Times, Op-Ed, 8 September 1997, Nexis, 27 October 1997.

[44] Preston, “A Woman’s Shooting of Attacker Rivets Mexico,” A3.

[45] “Mexico Rape-Suicide Causes Fallout,” Associated Press, 29 August 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[46] “Mexico Prosecutor Resigns Amid anger Over a Rape-Suicide,” Chicago Tribune, 31 August 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[47] Eduardo Molina y Vedia, “Mexico: Supreme Court Legitimises Rape of Spouses, Critics Say,”  Inter Press Service, 16 June 1997, Nexis, 20 October 1997.

[48] Naomi Neft and Ann D. Levine.

[49] Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, “Report of Mission to Mexico,” (Minneapolis, MN:Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, April 1996, photocopied).

[50] Rosaaurora Espinosa Gomez, e-mail correspondence with IWRAW correspondence, 4 October 1999.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Centro Legal para Derechos Reproductivos y Políticas Públicas, Mujeres del Mundo: Leyes y Políticas que Afectan sus Vidas Reproductivas América Latina y el Caribe  (New York: CRLP, November 1997), 159.

[53] Louise Palmer, “Mexico; The ‘Double Moral’ that Keeps Abortion Off the Political Agenda,” Los Angeles Times, 24 August 1997, Nexis, 27 October 1997.

[54] Ibid.

[55] US Department of State, Mexico Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 1997).

[56] Zoraida Portillo, “Population: Reproductive Rights Lacking in Latin America,” Inter Press Service, 26 May 1997, on-line.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Molina y Vedia, “Health-Mexico: Maternal Deaths Mar Improved Reproductive Health.”

[59] “World Bank Loan Assists Argentina to Fight AIDS,” Xinhua News Agency, 23 May 1997, Nexis, 31 October 1997.

[60] Aurora del Rio Zolezzi and others, eds., “La Epidemia de VIH/SIDA y la Mujer en Mexico,”  Salud Pública de México , vol. 37, no. 6 (Noviembre-Diciembre de 1995): 581-591.

[61] “Archbishop, Antichoice Group Call for Warning Labels on Condoms,” In Catholic Circles (Washington, DC: Catholics for Free Choice) vol. 2, no. 4 (July-August 1997), 5.

[62] Aurora del Rio Zolezzi and others, eds., “La Epidemia de VIH/SIDA y la Mujer en Mexico,”  Salud Pública de México , vol. 37, no. 6 (Noviembre-Diciembre de 1995): 581-591.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Molina y Vedia, “Health-Mexico: Maternal Deaths Mar Improved Reproductive Health,” Inter Press Service, 25 May 1997, Nexis, 31 October 1997.

[65] Centro Legal para Derechos Reproductivos y Políticas Públicas, Mujeres del Mundo: Leyes y Políticas que Afectan sus Vidas Reproductivas América Latina y el Caribe, 165.

[66] “Archbishop, Antichoice Group Call for Warning Labels on Condoms,” In Catholic Circles, 5.

[67] Rosaaurora Espinosa Gomez, e-mail correspondence with IWRAW correspondence, 4 October 1999.

[68] Ibid.

[69] ECLAC, “Panorama Social de America Latina, 1998.”

[70] Naomi Neft and Ann D. Levine.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Ibid.


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