President-Elect, Susan Glazebrook, recently visited the Dominican Republic

On the morning of 25 November 2019, I had the privilege of attending the launch of the impressive best practice guide on dealing with cases of domestic violence at the Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic. In the afternoon, I gave an address at the Judges’ Institute on family violence in New Zealand. We found that we were facing very similar issues in trying to deal with this terrible problem that affects so many women and their children.

The day of my visit, November 25, has a particular significance for the Dominican Republic. It commemorates the day in 1960 that sisters Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal and their driver were brutally attacked and killed by the secret police of the dictator Trujillo.  The sisters (along with their husbands) had been leaders of the opposition to Trujillo and his regime with the codename “Las Mariposas” (“the butterflies”).

Las Mariposas have become symbols of social justice, human rights and feminist resistance and are recognized as heroines in the Dominican Republic and globally. Every year, the anniversary of their murder is commemorated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and it marks the beginning of a 16 day period of activism against gender violence, which culminates in Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

It was an honour to share this very special day with members of the Women Judges Association of the Dominican Republic. I would like in particular to thank Esther Agelan, Sara Veras and Katia Jiminez for arranging my visit and for their hospitality. You have a beautiful country and a judiciary committed to improving the lives of women.

This blog post was prepared by Justice Susan Glazebrook.   The views presented in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the IAWJ.