Guatemalan rights abuses rise sharply
A report from Amnesty International charges that the number of women murdered and sexually abused in Guatemala has risen sharply.
Between 2001 and September 2004, nearly 1,200 women and girls were brutally killed in Guatemala, with 527 recorded killings in 2004 alone.
Guatemalan authorities blame youth gangs called maras, that have been spreading throughout Central America and Mexico, but the Amnesty report suggests other reasons: acute levels of sexual violence in the home, the activities of clandestine groups linked to organised crime and the legacy of Guatemala's long civil conflict.
Above all, Amnesty International blames a general climate of impunity. Lack of investigations and convictions for such killings sends the message that violence against women in Guatemala is acceptable.