In July 2007, Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) and ninety-three of her colleagues in the House of Representatives sent a bipartisan letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderón. The letter asked President Calderón to step up investigations into the murders and disappearances of over 400 women and girls in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua over the past fifteen years. The letter also requested that the new administration strengthen efforts to combat violence against women throughout Mexico.
This letter demonstrates the continued concern U.S. policymakers have for this issue, serving as a follow-up to the 2006 concurrent resolution, also originated in the House by Representative Solis.
The July letter also praised the Calderón Administration’s most recent efforts to combat feminicide and violence against women, namely the February 2007 passage of a sweeping federal law, “La Ley General de Accesso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia” (General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence). This law is the first of its kind in Mexico. However, the letter also acknowledges more must be done to implement the law and fund its initiatives. It urges President Calderón to update both federal and state penal codes to increase punishment for violence perpetrated against women.
Finally, the letter encourages President Calderón to urge state and municipal officials to intensify their efforts to solve several of the older cases. Current laws dictate a fourteen-year statute of limitation for murder, meaning that some of the earliest cases have already been closed. This leaves families with little hope for restitution. Without improved investigatory practices, many of these brutal crimes will remain permanently unsolved and their perpetrators will never be brought to justice. Click here to see if your member of Congress signed this positive letter.