Fighting for Women’s Right to Care for Loved Ones

Monica Arango | April 16, 2024

RIMFU Representatives at CIDH Hearing

What does it mean to have the right to care for and be cared for? What are countries doing or failing to do to protect this fundamental right of individuals? These were some of the main points addressed by members of the International Network of Women Family Members of Persons Deprived of Liberty, known as RIMUF, along with allied organizations such as the Center for Legal and Social Studies of Argentina, at the public hearing on Argentina’s request for an advisory opinion to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to specify the scope of care as a human right.

The presentation began with the words of Macarena Fernández Hoffman, from CELS, who emphasized the fact that, “Women deprived of liberty see their right to care affected because systems are designed to remove people from their environments without consideration of their caregiving responsibilities. They maintain the same caregiving overload they had in freedom, which becomes more complex when it has to be resolved from a distance and with few opportunities for communication with the outside world.”

After that, Maureen Esquivel, a representative of the United Penitentiary Family of Costa Rica, stated, “The imprisonment of a person increases our caregiving responsibilities and forces us to organize our lives and projects in order to sustain those care duties, violating our right to rest. Thus, women family members bear not a double, but a triple workday.”

Giselle Amador, from the same organization, concluded, “We believe that these principles are essential for the recognition of the rights of women family members of persons deprived of liberty who, I repeat, have had an illegitimate burden of support for persons deprived of liberty.”

CWS stands with women and family members affected by the prison system. You can learn more about our work in Latin America by clicking here.

Monica Arango is CWS’ Communications Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.