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Mexico: UN experts say proposed budget cuts could hurt vital services for women

GENEVA (16 October 2020) – UN human rights experts* today urged Mexico against making further budgetary cuts to programmes dedicated to preventing and supporting women who are victims of violence, as well as maternal, sexual and reproductive health.
“If the budget bill is approved in its current form, significant cuts would be made to policies to end discrimination and violence against women and girls, women’s sexual and reproductive health and to promote indigenous women’s rights,” the experts said.
The 2021 budget bill includes 10 to 20 percent cuts to such programs compared to the 2019 and 2020 budgets. The cuts are even more significant for indigenous women.
A programme to promote equality between indigenous women and men in the context of the economic strengthening of indigenous peoples and communities would suffer cuts of up to 53 percent, and a programme to promote indigenous women’s participation would be eliminated altogether.
“These cuts will worsen the funding crisis that has been affecting services for women in the last few years,” the experts said.
The National Institute of Women (INMUJERES) and the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), which fund shelters and centres for indigenous and afro-Mexican women, have experienced cuts. This has impacted sexual and reproductive health care services for indigenous women, as well as women who are victims of violence.
“Governments must ensure that essential services, such as those on violence against women and sexual and reproductive health, remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” the experts said. They urged Mexico to fully implement the 2020 budget and to prevent services from being discontinued.
“Mexico has made significant progress in the last couple of decades in promoting budgets with a gender perspective at the federal and state levels,” the experts said. “This should be continued and strengthened in the 2021 federal budget.
“A gender-sensitive budget should preserve those actions and programmes that are key to eradicating discrimination and violence against women, not undermine them.”
* The experts: Dubravka SimonovicSpecial Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; members of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girlsElizabeth Broderick (Chair), Melissa Upreti (Vice Chair), Alda FacioIvana Radačić, and Meskerem Geset Techane and José Francisco Cali Tzay, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
For further information and media requests, please contact:  Renata Preturlan (+41 22 928 92 54/ rpreturlan@ohchr.org) or write to vaw@ohchr.org  
For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org), Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 7578 / jlaurence@ohchr.org) and Kitty McKinsey (kmckinsey@ohchr.org)
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