Spanish Magistrate Lucia Avilés Writes OpEd on How Fighting Femicide is part of a State’s Due Diligence

Spain | IAWJ Member and member of the Spanish Association of Women Judges (AMJE), Magistrate Lucia Avilés wrote an OpEd for elPeriódico titled “Due diligence“, where she claims that creating and applying policies to eradicate violence against women are an obligation of the state.

Since 1974 women all over the world have been advocating internationally for States to fight gender based discrimination, inequality, and violence. These women have had successes in these areas such as, the organization of an International Tribunal on Crimes against Women in Brussels, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the application of feminist policies throughout the world.

These accomplishments, according to Magistrate Avilés

“materialize … a key concept of international law (environmental and human rights): … <<due diligence>>, which alludes to the international responsibility of states for the conduct of individuals who harm or impair goods or interests internationally protected.”

Due diligence is what can be expected of a State to prevent a crime. It is an obligation of States that can have international implications.

In gender based violence cases, a reinforced standard is imposed in the due diligence. “Femicide is a state crime”, magistrate Avilés writes. A crime that breaks the rule of law and favors impunity. The State is responsible of preventing, treating and protecting women against gender based violence.

In Spain since 2014, “gender based violence is qualified as one of the most flagrant attacks on fundamental rights and public authorities are called upon to adopt positive action measures to make them real and effective.”

In 1993, the UN General Assembly urged states to “proceed with due diligence in order to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish all acts of violence against women, whether acts perpetrated by the State or by individuals.” In Europe, the Convention of Istanbul states that gender based violence goes beyond romantic relationships. It is the violence that affects women for being female or that affects them disproportionately.

For Magistrate Avilés, this is the definition of gender based violence which States must prevent and fight with due diligence.

Read the full article in Spanish at elPeriodico.