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Feminist Collective demanding their rights in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 28, 2020. Photo by Ramon Tonito Zayas/GFR Media via GDA via AP, FILE
The Feminist Collective demanding their rights in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sept. 28, 2020. Photo by Ramon Tonito Zayas/GFR Media via GDA via AP, FILE

Puerto Rico declares state of emergency over gender violence

Pedro Pierluisi, governor of Puerto Rico, announced a state of emergency due to gender violence on the island through a decree.

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New Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi recently announced a decree declaring a state of emergency on the island due to gender violence, in addition to the creation of the "PARE Comittee": Committee for the Prevention, Support, Rescue and Education of Gender Violence.

Through an official statement, it is said the measure is "to establish, promote and execute protection, prevention and orientation programs against gender violence and to establish victim care programs."

According to figures from the Puerto Rico Police Domestic Violence Division, around 5,517 women were victims of domestic violence from January to December 2020, amid the healthcare emergency, which has put the governor on alert.

Pierluisi's executive order will direct more resources to fight the wave of murders and other violence targeting women and girls in the U.S. territory, and appoint a government representative to oversee the order's implementation.

The creation of a mobile application to request emergency assistance has also been launched, and an information and education campaign against gender violence. A follow-up program for women who have filed restraining orders and educational campaigns in the media will also be launched.

"Gender violence is a social evil, based on ignorance and attitudes that can have no space or tolerance in the Puerto Rico to which we aspire," the order reads. "For too long, vulnerable victims have suffered the consequences of systematic machismo, inequity, discrimination, lack of education, lack of guidance, and above all, lack of action."

It is my duty and my commitment as governor to establish a STOP to gender violence, and to that end, I have declared a state of emergency," Pierluisi said in a press release.

In 2021, news of the murder of a transgender man and a young woman in the first three weeks of the year shocked the population. Both cases are considered gender-based murders by LGBTQ advocacy groups on the island, who warn that the order should explicitly include violence against all LGBTQ people.

In Latin America, the figures on domestic violence and gender-based violence on the streets, even during the coronavirus crisis, are chilling. Revealing that the continent is fighting more than one pandemic at a time.

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