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  • Aymara indigenous women Bertha Vedia (L), Dora Magueno (C) and Lidia Huayllas sit in a car in El Alto, Bolivia.

    Aymara indigenous women Bertha Vedia (L), Dora Magueno (C) and Lidia Huayllas sit in a car in El Alto, Bolivia. | Photo: Reuters

Bolivia has the highest rate of intimate partner violence against women in Latin America.

Any Bolivian who wishes to apply for public positions will now have to provide a document proving they have no criminal record of gender violence, according to an agreement signed Wednesday between the Justice Ministry and the Magistrate Council.

Battling the Practice of Patriarchy in Bolivia

The measure includes violence against women, as well as any kind of violence directed against other family members, said Justice Minister Virginia Velasco. This will encompass all public positions, whether they are filled via election or appointment.

President Evo Morales implemented Law 348 in 2013 in order to stop domestic violence and punish abusers with harsher sentences. The law also made femicide, the violent and deliberate killing of a woman, a crime punishable by 30 years in prison.

However, every day increasing numbers of women are dying at the hands of abusive husbands and partners.

According to Bolivia’s Ministry of Justice, every month another 10 women die in cases of femicide.

Monica Novillo, who campaigns on behalf of women, says that unfortunately, Law 348 has been ineffective.

“The law is not being implemented properly,” she told teleSUR. ‘’We are demanding that the government assign a greater budget that’s needed to bring in more staff to help the victims of violence.’’

Fifty-two percent of Bolivian women have reported physical or sexual violence at the hands of a domestic partner or spouse, but campaigners say the figures could be much higher as many are afraid to report incidents and seek help.

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