Cablegate: Director of the Office of International Women's

DE RUEHME #2382/01 2171659
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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. On 28 July 2008, Andrea G. Bottner, Director of the
Office of International Women's Issues at the State
Department, visited Mexico City. Bottner was accompanied by
Sandra Mayoral Pedroarias, Deputy Director of the Office of
International Women's Issues, and Sue Else, President of the
National Network to End Violence Against Women. During her
one-day visit to Mexico City, Bottner met with civil society
representatives and GOM officials to discuss gender-based
violence, exploitation of women in Mexico and existing victim
assistance programs. Representatives from the civil society
said budgetary constraints hindered their efforts to assist
greater numbers of domestic violence victims while officials
at the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Violence Against
Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) said internal
disagreements regarding jurisdiction severely hindered their
efforts to prosecute cases of gender violence and trafficking
in persons. While in Mexico City, Bottner and her delegation
also met with officials at the National Institute of Women
(INMUJER) and toured a domestic violence shelter. End


2. (U) On 28 July, Deputy Director of the Fundacion Infantia
(the Children's Foundation) Javier Martinez, Regional
Director of the Coalition to Against Trafficking of Women and
Children in Latin America and the Caribbean Teresa Ulloa and
Pilar Vallejo of the National Network of Women in Mexico City
dialogued and exchanged ideas with the Director of the Office
of International Women's Issues (IWI) and her accompanying
delegation. Martinez, Ulloa and Vallejo commented that
women's NGOs in Mexico were severely under-funded, often
stretching budgets suitable for only five or six months of
expenses to cover annual operational costs. In general,
gender-based violence does not receive sufficient attention
from federal and state officials, according to Ulloa.
Existing legislation, she criticized, is vague and places the
burden to prove gender-based violence on the victim. Ulloa
also said societal ills such as poverty and organized crime
fueled gender-based violence throughout Mexico. An estimated
60 percent of Mexican women have experienced some form of
gender-based violence.

3. (U) Despite tremendous financial constraints, women's NGOs
have been vigilant and creative in their efforts to assist
victims. Fundacion Infantia has established partnerships
with local hotels like the Sheraton and JW Marriot in Mexico
City, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta to train women ages 18-21 in
hospitality and tourism. Vallejo mentioned that the National
Network of Women plans to establish specialized shelters
within indigenous communities and to lobby for stronger
legislation to safeguard the human rights of all Mexican
women and girls. Bottner commended the efforts of both
organization, particularly Fundacion Infantia's efforts to
move women from the role of victims to professionals.

--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (U) Generally, cases of gender-based violence fall under
the state,s jurisdiction. For these cases to reach the
Office of the Special Prosecutor for Violence Against Women
and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA), they must either
involve a federal official or there must be proof that the
crime occurred using federal transportation, on the federal
highway system, or in a federal building. However, if these
cases are linked to a larger organized crime network, the
Organized Crime Division (SIEDO) of the Attorney General's
Office (PGR) invokes jurisdiction. FEVIMTRA officials said
internal disagreements regarding jurisdiction severely
restricted their ability to intervene in cases involving
violence against women and trafficking in persons. FEVIMTRA
has no power to investigate state cases of domestic violence
but officials can assist state officials in conducting
investigations. FEVIMTRA officials say they are advocating
new legislation that would allow federal jurisdiction to
supersede state jurisdiction in domestic violence cases.

5. (U) Last fiscal year, the Mexican Congress appropriated
MXP 70 million (approximately USD 7 million) for FEVIMTRA to
build shelters for domestic violence and trafficking victims.
Edith Carbajal, Deputy Coordinator of FEVIMTRA's Office of
Victim's Assistance, said there were no existing shelters but
that her office was finalizing the purchase of a building
with the capacity to house 60 victims. In addition to
offering shelter and psychological treatment, the facility
would also offer individual and group therapy, artistic

MEXICO 00002382 002.2 OF 003

training and a physical fitness program. Sue Else, Head of
the National Network to End Violence Against Women in
Missouri, asked if protection order were available through
the Mexican courts to shield victims from their aggressors.
FEVIMTRA officials commented that the General Law to
Guarantee the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence
authorized protection orders.

6. (U) FEVIMTRA officials estimate at least half of the
country's PGR officials have completed a mandatory
certification program covering gender violence and
trafficking in persons. The certification program is
conducted through a partnership with the National Autonomous
University and is expected to extend its partnership to
Iberoamerican University and the University of Guadalajara in
the near future. In addition to PGR officials, Federal
police, state level prosecutors and legal experts are also
certified through the PGR's program. Although a few state
police officials have taken the course, it is not obligatory.
FEVIMTRA officials mentioned they were lobbying state
authorities to make their certification program a mandatory
part of law enforcement training. Independently of the PGR,
The Coalition to Prevent Trafficking of Women in Latin
America and the Caribbean currently trains state police
officials through its partnership with Mexico's 23 Jesuit
universities, which includes Iberoamerican University.


7. (U) Like their civil society counterparts, shelter
directors complain that their capacity to assist victims of
domestic violence is constrained by financial factors.
Because of budgetary limitations, it is often difficult for
shelter administrators to keep up with the demand for
assistance and at times, victims are turned away. On
average, a female victim comes to a shelter with three or
four children. Shelter rules are outlined by the facility's
director, and the victim's personal effects are searched for
hazardous items. In the shelter visited by Bottner and her
delegation, program participants are not permitted to leave
the facility for the first 45 days; not even to maintain
employment. After the 45 day risk assessment period has
concluded, shelter administrators determine if it is safe for
the victim and her children to venture outside of the
compound's walls. If it is determined that the victim's life
or that of her dependents are in danger, the risk assessment
period is extended, the victim is restricted to the shelter
and her minor children are educated inside of the facility.

8. (U) Both private and government-funded shelters nationally
do not release information regarding their locations.
Director of the National Network of Domestic Violence
Shelters in Mexico City Margarita Guille and local shelter
director Conchita Martinez disagreed about whether or not
police authorities were familiar with the locations of these
facilities. In Mexico City, municipal police officers are
generally knowledgeable of the location of domestic violence
shelters but in other states, these locations are retain
their anonymity, according to Martinez. Guille countered
that police throughout Mexico typically knew where domestic
violence shelters were located. She also mentioned that when
information regarding the whereabouts of a victim is leaked
to a spouse or boyfriend, the National Shelter Network works
quickly to relocate the individual and her children out of
harms way


9. (U) The National Institute for Women (INMUJER) holds a
cabinet-level advisory role within the Calderon
Administration and receives its funding directly from the
Mexican government. Officials at INMUJER explained that each
year the organization solicits projects from civil society
organization that promote women's issues. On average,
financial assistance grants range from USD 3k to USD 30k, but
INMUJER officials say the awarded grants are generally closer
to the $30k maximum. In an effort to ensure equal funding
opportunities for all women's NGOs, organizations funded
during any fiscal year must wait for two years before
submitting another proposal for funding consideration.
INMUJER not only works closely with women's NGOs in Mexico
but throughout Latin America to promote gender equality and
victim's assistance programs.

10. (SBU) COMMENT: The root causes of gender-based violence
in Mexico city run deep, so deep that it is impossible to

MEXICO 00002382 003.4 OF 003

discuss the issue of violence against women without
considering the effects of poverty, cultural mores, or
increased national insecurity and instability. Not only do
these factors fuel violence against and exploitation of women
and girls but also a host of other societal problems,
including human trafficking. Although officials appear
genuinely interested in protecting the human rights of
Mexican women, the GOM's war against the drug cartels and
organized crime elements have forced civil society concerns
to take a back-seat to more pressing national security
issues. Both the GOM and civil society's efforts to combat
gender-based violence are commendable but without a more
coordinated effort to eradicate domestic violence at the
national level, it will be difficult for even the best
efforts to keep up with increasing demands for victim
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at and the North American
Partnership Blog at /

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