Honduras election: Women folk’s rights place on the agenda
Lucia Vijil kilos out a flurry of tweets directed at Honduras’ leading presidential candidates, pressuring them to find relate proposals on ladies’s rights. It’s larger than clicktivism, she says.
Vijil is one of 1000’s of feminist activists with a advantageous message for politicians before Sunday’s election: Honduran ladies won’t vote for candidates who ignore them.
A most up to the moment graduate, Vijil, 21, is the social media mastermind in the reduction of a brand novel Oxfam-funded initiative that targets to position ladies on politicians’ agendas.
The initiative referred to as PoletikaH – a Spanish portmanteau combining politics and ethics – targets to widen the conversation and screech candidates when they fail to upward push to the occasion.
Women folk’s agenda
Uninterested with seeing their concerns sidelined, PoletikaH and larger than 70 ladies’s organisations came together to initiating on September 12 a feminist political agenda to operate a measuring stick with scrutinise the presidential candidates’ focal level on the complications ladies face before the November 26 election.
The complications are grave.
One girl is murdered every 14 hours in a femicide disaster that has reached epidemic ranges in the wake of the 2009 US-backed militia coup, which briefly place Roberto Micheletti in vitality as president earlier than Porfirio Lobo Sosa of the conservative National Occasion won national elections later that year.
Below strict tips outlawing abortion, ladies can face up to 6 years in the reduction of bars for seeking out to halt a being pregnant.
In the most unequal nation in Latin The usa, according to World Financial institution files, ladies also disproportionately suffer the brunt of poverty, a world construction recognised by UN Women folk, the company that gives with gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.
Vijil explains in a phone interview from the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, these and completely various components – akin to rampant home violence and gender discrimination in education – comprise lengthy been left out.
« PoletikaH represents a elaborate predicament, » says Vijil, who works with the Center for the See of Democracy. She highlights the machismo that pervades Honduran politics and society, and the shortage of awareness relating to the gendered dynamics of key components akin to poverty and inequality.
The agenda crucial functions protection requires related to seven components: violence and femicide, feminisation of poverty, institutionality and budgets, non-sexist education, reproductive health, political participation, and indigenous rights.
Amongst completely different proposals, it requires introducing total guidelines on gender violence, sexual education, and agrarian reform with gender equity. It also advocates repealing guidelines that restrict ladies’s access to frequent goods, akin to the controversial Mining Laws and Seeds Laws.
The 2013 Mining Laws lifted a moratorium on mining concessions, opening the door to foreign funding, whereas the 1980 Seed Laws, modified in 2012, imposes certification controls on seeds, limiting their free circulation.
Critics argue every guidelines undermine Honduran sovereignty and threaten peasant and indigenous rights by commercialising natural and natural property.
By a gender lens, loads of the requires highlight systemic components of inequality, impunity, and feeble public institutions gutted by years of neoliberalism, doubled down for the reason that 2009 coup.
The Center for Financial and Protection Examine has reported the submit-coup governments comprise slashed social spending and pursued foreign funding and privatisation of public companies as deficit-reducing solutions.
Stressing that ladies are uniquely exposed to poverty and that gender violence disproportionately victimises terrible ladies, one of Vijil’s PoletikaH colleagues, Alexandra Suazo, shows how intersecting feminist requires also predicament the established state financial mannequin in Honduras.
« As lengthy as ladies can now not get out of these instances [of poverty], » Suazo says, « as lengthy as they scheme now not comprise ensures for a dignified life, improvements in their labour rights, and access to land, skills and credit ranking, the nation is now not going to designate no topic how indispensable foreign funding comes. »
Rising the discuss
By biweekly reviews analysing debates and protection discussions, PoletikaH charges the halt three presidential candidates for their feminist credibility whereas lobbying events to deepen their proposals.
PoletikaH gives the critiques in a web based tracker the utilize of purple, gray, yellow, and inexperienced symbols that enable voters to assess the candidates’ standing with admire to the ladies’s agenda.
Vijil describes PoletikaH as a « confrontational » instrument. Alongside with volunteers, she pressures candidates in accurate time on social media all thru broadcast debates or completely different events. Even when candidates fail to handle the issues, her group of workers creates visibility all thru the components.
The initiative is rarely in fact shrimp to online spaces. Suazo leads PoletikaH’s lobbying efforts, including negotiating with candidates from a feminist level of view to urge them in opposition to more sturdy proposals.
Suazo – who works with one of Honduras’ predominant feminist organisations, the Center for Women folk’s Examine – explains the outcomes, though various between events, are undeniable.
« We’re privy to the fact that the field of girls has never been talked about so indispensable, » she says.
PoletikaH’s critiques of the candidates comprise critically improved in the weeks leading up to the election.
Suazo says the opposition alliance agreed to consist of a total chapter in its platform on ladies’s rights, whereas the Liberal Occasion and governing National Occasion are expected to incorporate now not lower than a paragraph of PoletikaH’s suggested wording on ladies’s rights.
On the tracker, opposition alliance candidate Salvador Nasralla has secured largely certain assessments, but incumbent National Occasion candidate President Juan Orlando Hernandez calm lacks specificity on most components, whereas Liberal Occasion candidate Luis Zelaya’s efficiency falls between the 2 frontrunners.
Both Hernandez and Zelaya comprise failed fully to handle indigenous rights, the ladies’s agenda item that Suazo says has been most excluded.
While there’s calm work to abet out, Vijil argues that correct getting candidates to sit down down on the table with feminist activists is a step in the finest route.
Against the grain
Despite being revolutionary, PoletikaH has now not evaded controversy. Vijil explains the feminist worn guard, which has fought crucial human rights battles in the streets, has been proof in opposition to spy social media as a marvelous instrument for social replace.
Nonetheless she functions out digital activism has a confirmed note file of boosting political engagement in Honduras, highlighting let’s command weeks of anti-corruption protests in 2015, convened on social media, that demanded an halt to authorities fraud and institutional responses to the corruption disaster.
« We now must spy PoletikaH now not as competition in opposition to struggles in the boulevard, » Vijil says. « Nonetheless rather it represents one other instrument to beef up the construction of a feminist and political scurry. »
The social media focal level has also been effective in attracting childhood, with younger americans making up a foremost piece of the initiative’s volunteers, according to Suazo.
Other critics refused to help PoletikaH over disagreements in strategy.
The Center for Women folk’s Rights (CDM), one other eminent feminist organisation, maintains that PoletikaH legitimises an « illegal » election and diverts energy remote from grassroots « get up ».
President Hernandez is the predominant sitting or extinct president to ogle a second timeframe in plight of work after a contentious 2015 Supreme Court docket ruling changed the constitution to enable re-election. Critics command handiest the Honduran americans comprise the vitality to change the constitution, rendering Hernandez’ candidacy illegitimate.
CDM’s Neesa Medina argues grassroots feminist actions must calm transcend electoral politics. « Our bet continues to be on strengthening and accompanying social actions in their struggles from inner and doing so with feminist values, » she says.
Nonetheless Vijil believes with Sunday’s vote assured to scuttle forward, it be better to wage a confrontational advertising and marketing campaign to predicament the candidates than to enable the election to scuttle by undisturbed by feminist evaluation.
« We now mustn’t ever lower than strive and position ladies on the agenda, » Vijil says.
Suazo is of the same opinion. She adds that ladies’s agenda is something historic. Now not handiest became it developed collectively by feminist groups, but it with out a doubt also sets an example of severe evaluation and engagement in the advertising and marketing campaign – functions which comprise been lacking in Honduran electoral job.
Navigating fragile democracy
Final polls released earlier than the one-month pre-election ban on novel polling files gave Hernandez a 15-level lead over Nasralla, his closest competitor, The opposition alliance has warned of a fraud characteristic to steal the election in Hernandez’ favour.
In spite of the , activists notion to proceed the utilize of PoletikaH to note the novel president and abet him guilty for his advertising and marketing campaign guarantees.
Vijil functions out voters who felt represented by PoletikaH will be properly geared up to find requires of their candidate with additional monitoring. She laments that elections in most cases get diminished to advertising and marketing campaigns but is optimistic that a instrument admire PolétikaH will wait on impose tests and balances.
Suazo hopes that PoletikaH’s work all thru the advertising and marketing campaign opens doorways with candidates so as that ladies’s actions will be in a stronger characteristic to barter requires.
« We’re aware that as ladies’s and feminist actions we can repeatedly must fight for just a few of our rights to be fulfilled, » she says. « Nonetheless we in fact desire candidates and politicians in Honduras to open to trace the significance of girls’s rights and find certain they are respected. »