CGRS presents expert testimony on femicide in Guatemala before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

April 2015- CGRS Director Karen Musalo presented expert testimony on behalf of Guatemalan femicide victim Claudina Isabel Velásquez Paiz before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The case, Claudina Isabel Velásquez Paiz and others vs. Guatemala, reveals systemic discrimination against women, and provides a unique opportunity to address the roots of gender-based violence.  

Claudina Isabel, a law student and aspiring human rights lawyer, was discovered missing August 12, 2005. Upon realizing that their daughter had not returned home one night, Claudina Isabel's parents promptly reported her disappearance to the authorities. State authorities, however, failed to take the appropriate measures or even accept the report. The next morning, Claudina Isabel's murdered body was found with signs of sexual violence. 

"The State’s botched investigation into the femicide of Claudina Isabel demonstrated a shocking and discriminatory lack of due diligence, from mishandling the forensic investigation to interrupting her funeral to take her fingerprints," states the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights press release on the testimony. 

The government's failure to prevent, investigate, and prosecute those responsible for Claudina Isabel's murder is emblematic of the poor state of women's rights in Guatemala. Femicide across Central American has risen to staggering heights in recent years. Governments' continued lack of political will to address this horrific act of gender-based violence both exacerbates the problem, as well as reveals its root causes. Transnational activism is crucial for pressuring states to uphold their oligation of protecting citizens from this discriminatory violence. By providing expertise on conditions for women in the country and offering recommendations for improving government intervention, CGRS continues to lead the way in this important endeavor. 


See the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights press release on the testimony here.

Learn more about femicide in Central America and our office's involvement with women's rights in the region here