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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 21:29 GMT
Fund unveiled for Mexican murders
Crosses in memory of murdered women in the town of Anapra, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez
The UN has criticised Mexico's handling of the murders
Mexico has allocated $2.7m (1.4m) to compensate relatives of more than 300 women murdered in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez since 1993.

Federal attorney Maria Lopez did not say how many people share the fund or how much they would receive.

The killings have been variously attributed to serial killers, drug cartels and domestic violence.

Some relatives have protested at the slow pace of investigations, saying the culprits have not been identified.

Many of the victims were poor working mothers employed in factories in the industrial city on the border with Texas.

Some of the killings are believed to have been sexually motivated.

The UN has also criticised Mexico's handling of violence against women.

The Mexican federal government did not intervene until last year, despite victims' families complaining about the incompetence of local investigators.

It has provided 25 million pesos ($2.2m) and a further 5 million pesos ( $500,000) is coming from the Chihuahua State authority.

The federal government launched an inquiry into the murders in 2004. Since then, it has reviewed 205 files of 323 murders committed between 1993 and 2001 in Chihuahua.

"We are in the process of gathering information from the victims' next of kin to confirm their relationship and pay them compensation," Ms Lopez told a congressional committee investigating the murders.

Yakin Ertuk, a UN special rapporteur on violence against women, criticised what she called the impunity which prevailed around the murder of women, in Mexico, and in particular Ciudad Juarez.

During a visit to Mexico, she told reporters she was "alarmed by the manner in which the Mexican judicial system is combatting crimes and violence against women".

Mexico to aid bereaved in Juarez
21 Jul 04 |  Americas
Lawyer to probe Mexican murders
31 Jan 04 |  Americas
Mexico 'failure' over murders
12 Aug 03 |  Americas

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