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April 17, 2024

ABA ROLI Hosts International Conference in Peru on Women’s Empowerment in Justice Systems and Access to Justice

Speakers during ABA ROLI's "Women's Empowerment in Justice Systems and Access to Justice" conference

Speakers during ABA ROLI's "Women's Empowerment in Justice Systems and Access to Justice" conference

March 14-15, 2024, Peru

In Peru, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) commemorated International Women's Day (March 8) and Women Judges' Day (March 10) by hosting the "Women's Empowerment in Justice Systems and Access to Justice" international conference on March 14 and 15. Facilitated through ABA ROLI’s Justice Sector Support Project II, this event was conducted in collaboration with the Gender Justice Commission and the Permanent Commission for Access to Justice for People in Vulnerable Conditions and Justice in Your Community. The conference brought together over 100 representatives from justice sector institutions, civil society, and non-governmental organizations dedicated to advocating for women’s rights and gender equality. 

The event began with remarks from the members of the table of honor including John McNamara, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of the United States in Peru; Francisco Ciampolini, Regional Director for ABA ROLI’s Latin America and the Caribbean Division; and Raul Callirgos Velarde, Country Director of ABA ROLI Peru. Following their opening words, the conference was inaugurated by Dr. Elvia Barrios Alvarado, President of the Gender Justice Commission of the Judiciary, who called for an end to violence against women and encouraged participants to fight for women’s rights.

Following the opening remarks, the conference featured two panel discussions. The first, "Experiences of Women in the Justice System", was moderated by Magistrate Christian Hernández Alarcón, Superior Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Puente Piedra – Ventanilla. This panel featured distinguished speakers including Dr. Barrios Alvarado, Supreme Judge and President of the Gender Justice Commission of the Judiciary; Rocío Gala Gálvez, National Coordinator of the Specialized Prosecutor's Offices for Human Trafficking Crimes of the Public Prosecutor’s Office; and Olga Álvarez, Judge of the Superior Court of San Diego County, California - United States. During this session, the panelists shared their professional journeys, including the gender-centric challenges they faced to professionally advance in the justice system. 

The second panel, "Challenges for Equality in the Justice System", was moderated by Yavari Fiorella Villanueva Portella, Justice of the Peace Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of South Lima. This panel was composed of PNP General Víctor José Zanabria Angulo, General Commander of the Peruvian National Police (PNP); Abdona Elizabeth Noel Mongrut, General Director of the General Directorate against Gender Violence of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations; Edgardo Gonzalo Rodríguez Gómez, General Director of the General Directorate against Gender Violence of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations; Bethy María Espinoza Rivas, senior prosecutor and national coordinator of the Specialized Prosecutor's Offices for Crimes against Women and Family Members; and Norma María Rojas Noriega, specialist in Human Rights and Gender Equality of the Directorate of Fundamental Rights of the Ministry of the Interior. During this discussion, the panelists shared the actions their respective institutions are implementing to promote gender equality, with a focus on enhancing services provided to women who are victims of violence.

In addition to the panel discussions, the conference featured three presentations focusing on key topics related to the advancement of gender equality. The first presentation was delivered by Dr. Eliana Revollar, former Deputy for Women's Rights - Ombudswoman of Peru, who delved into the obstacles faced by women when accessing decision-making platforms. Following her, Dr. Olga Álvarez discussed the challenges and barriers experienced by women pursuing careers in the judiciary. The third presentation, delivered by Dr. Liliana Salomé, a constitutionalist and gender issues expert, provided insights into the standards for protecting women’s human rights. 

Representatives from various institutions, including the Public Prosecutor's Office, actively participated in the conference as both panelists and speakers. Notably, senior prosecutor Bethy Espinoza Rivas, serving as the national coordinator of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Offices for Violence against Women and Family Members, delivered a speech emphasizing the prosecutors’ commitment to the defense of women’s rights. She highlighted that prosecutors are thoroughly equipped to implement the strategies and principles outlined in Law No. 30364, thanks to the comprehensive training provided at the School of the Public Prosecutor's Office. A resource from Baker-McKenzie shares, “Law No. 30364 establishes in Article 9 that women and family members have the right to a life free of violence, to be valued and educated, to be free from all forms of discrimination, stigmatization and stereotyped patterns of behavior, social and cultural practices based on concepts of inferiority and subordination. This law is in accordance with Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women (Convención de Belém Do Pará), which recognizes protection from domestic violence as a human right.” Additionally, the senior prosecutor announced plans for a national congress aimed at standardizing practices and establishing specialized prosecutor's offices across the country. 

On the second day of the conference, Susana Medina, president of the Association of Women Judges of Argentina, delivered a lecture on "The crime of rape in the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights". Following this, Dr. Janet Tello Gilardi, Titular Supreme Judge and President of the Permanent Commission of Access to Justice, gave a lecture on the topic of "Gender Violence and Feminicide". She highlighted the Commission’s ongoing work and emphasized historical contributions of women in the pursuit of equality. Senior Judge and member of the Commission on Access to Justice, Elvira Álvarez Olazábal, discussed the "Legal standards for the recognition of sexual and reproductive rights", while U.S. Judge Olga Álvarez addressed "The role of women judges in advancing gender equality". Finally, Teresa Cárdenas Puente, specialized Family Court Judge of the Court of Junín, delivered a lecture titled "Tribute to women leaders in the conquest of their rights", while the president of the Court of San Martín, Wálter Ángeles Bachet, spoke on the topic of "Access to justice with a gender perspective ". 

New One Hundred Rules of Brasilia Mobile Application

To conclude the conference, Raúl Callirgos introduced the mobile application of the One Hundred Brasilia Rules. According to the EUROsociAL+ Programme, “The Brasilia Rules aim to guarantee the conditions for effective access to justice for people in vulnerable conditions, without any discrimination, encompassing the set of policies, measures, facilities and supports that allow these people to fully enjoy the services of the judicial system.” The new mobile application is a technological tool that aims to provide easy access to regulations safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable populations, thereby enhancing access to justice for marginalized communities. 

In the closing remarks of the event, Supreme Judge Carlos Calderón Puertas, Vice-President of the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice for People in Vulnerable Conditions and Justice in Your Community, emphasized the efforts of judges, prosecutors and other women who tirelessly work to achieve gender equality.

ABA ROLI’s JSSP-2 program, funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), seeks to support the efforts of Peruvian authorities to consolidate and build on judicial reforms; improve Peru's capacity to combat complex crimes; prevent and detect corruption in justice sector institutions; and support the strengthening of equitable and fair access to justice, especially for vulnerable populations and indigenous communities.

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Latin America and the Caribbean.