Ninety-four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have urged Mexican President Felipe Calderón to step up efforts to fight violence against women in Mexico and intensify probes into the killings of hundreds of women and girls in the northern city of Ciudad Juárez.
The 94 lawmakers made the plea in a public letter dated August 8 to Calderón, the first ever sent by members of the U.S. Congress to the current Mexican leader.
The letter asks Calderón to encourage state and local law enforcement to renew efforts to solve older cases of murders of women in Ciudad Juárez, the largest city in Chihuahua state, before the 14-year statute of limitations expires on more cases. Over 400 women and girls have been killed in the cities of Juárez and Chihuahua since 1993.
“This letter illustrates the U.S. Congress’ concern regarding the continued murders of women in Chihuahua,” states Maureen Meyer, WOLA’s Associate for Mexico and Central America. WOLA has been supporting efforts to bring justice to the Juárez and Chihuahua murders for over three years.
“President Calderón needs to support the state of Chihuahua’s investigative efforts and take more actions to ensure that the perpetrators of these brutal crimes are brought to justice,” Meyer added.
Calderón has already enacted a new federal law to prevent violence against women. In their letter, the U.S. lawmakers commend Calderón for signing that legislation and ask him to fully implement it by updating federal penal codes and encouraging state governments to pass their own laws on violence against women and update their penal codes. The members of Congress also asked Calderón to boost funding for the implementation of the law.
The letter was signed and circulated by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis, Democrat of California, the original sponsor of the 2006 House Concurrent Resolution on the Murders of Women in the State of Chihuahua. It was also signed by Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, Democrat of California, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Chairman Eliot Engel, Democrat of New York, and House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Ranking Member Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana.
For a link to a press release issued by Congresswoman Hilda Solis click here