Feb 14, 2013

3rd National Meeting Of Women Human Rights Defenders: Public Statement

National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders*
January 30, 2013

On the 25th and 26th of January, the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) convened a meeting of more than 60 indigenous, rural and mestiza WHRDs.  Dedicated to the defense and promotion of the human rights of women, they gathered from diverse regions of the country for the Third National Meeting of Women Human Rights Defenders.

Together we recalled that to date in Mexico there have been more than 70 000 assassinated, 20 000 disappeared, more than 250 000 displaced, and that up to five women are assassinated daily.  We also remembered the past election, marked by unlawfulness, a lack of legitimacy, and the repression of protesters on December 1, 2012.  Far from respecting and protecting our human rights, security forces at the state and federal level continue to be involved in acts of corruption, impunity, authoritarianism, and state terrorism.  

This violent reality has cost at least 25 WHRDs their lives, among them 8 journalists.  Mexico’s rate of death threats to WHRDs is the second highest in the Americas, exceeded only by Colombia, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

As WHRDs, we are the objects of multiple forms of aggression, which range from using gender stereotypes to public slander, to sexual violence, physical aggression, illegal detainment, the raiding of offices, and others.  In 2012 alone, 69 WHRDs were assaulted in Mexico, with Oaxaca recording the highest number of cases among the states.  In all of the cases of assassination or assault impunity reigned in the absence of any investigation.  The state and federal governments are directly responsible for those aggressions, be it due to inaction or complicity with those responsible.

On the other hand, the Protection Mechanism for defenders, while an achievement of civil society, has neither provided an effectively guaranteed security for defenders nor established a coordinated response among state governments beyond the Agreements of Cooperation.

We remind those concerned that WHRDs are fundamental actors for the strengthening of democracy. Our work focuses on supporting those who are not otherwise heard by government institutions and ensuring that authorities at all levels are held accountable to society.  It follows that the government should respect and guarantee our full ability to conduct our work towards the protection of human rights.

With these goals in mind, we the below signatories of the Network of WHRDs of Mexico (joined by more than 100 WHRDs from diverse social movements), affirm the need to develop alternative strategies of protection, security and self-care in order to maintain our well-being and continue our work as WHRDS so that equality and justice may become a reality in our country.


Alejandra Vela Garza (Alternativas Pacificas, Monterrey), Alicia Leal Puerta (Alternativas Pacíficas, DF), Aline Castellanos  (Oaxaca), Ana Karen López Quintana (Tamaulipas Diversidad Vihda Trans, Tamaulipas), América del Valle Ramírez (FPDT, ATENCO), Ana María Hernández (Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca, Oaxaca), Ángeles López (CDH Victoria Diez), Bettina Cruz Velázquez (Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el territorio), Blanca Martínez (Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos “Fray Juan de Larios”, Coahulia), Blanca Velázquez (Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador, Puebla), Carla Cavaretta (Semillas, DF), Caroline van Kooten (Consorcio, Oaxaca), Cecilia Espinosa Martínez (Red Mesa de Mujeres de Cd. Juárez, Cd. Juárez), Concepción Felix Corral (Sí Hay Mujeres en Durango, AC.), Clara G. Meyra Segura (Coordinación general del Centro de Derechos Humanos "Fr. Francisco de Vitoria O.P." A.C.), Cristina Hardága (Tlachinollan, Guerrero), Diana Damián (FOCA, Chiapas), Dora Ávila (Centro para los derechos de la Mujer Nääxwiin), Elena Tapia Vásquez (CODIGO DH), Elga Aguilar (Comité Cerezo, DF), Emelia Ortiz (Campaña Si no están ellas no estamos todas, Oaxaca), Fabiola González Barrera (CIMAC), Felicitas Martínez Solano (coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias policía comunitaria, Guerrero), Gabriela Aguilar Martín (CLADEM-México), Guadalupe García Álvarez (Semillas), Icela Jaimes (Encargada del área de difusión del Colectivo Raíz de Aguascalientes), Imelda Marrufo (Red Mesa de Mujeres de Cd. Juárez, Cd. Juárez), Ixchel Carrasco Arias (Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación, Guerrero), Josefina Chávez (Cuadernos Feministas, DF), Laura Carlsen (Programa de las Américas, DF), Lorena Fuentes (Semillas, DF), Lorena Maribel Peralta Rojas (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos”), Laura Gutiérrez (Mujeres Unidas: Olympia de Gouges, Baja California), Laura Velázquez (JASS, DF), Leticia Burgos (Red Feminista Sonorense, Sonora), Marcela Turati (Periodistas de a Pie y Proceso),Margarita Guadalupe Martínez (Chiapas), Ma. Hilda de la Vega (Mujeres por México en Chihuahua A.C.), María Luisa Aguilar Rodríguez (Tlachinollan), María Trinidad Ramírez (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra, Atenco), Marie Siemer (Tlachinollan), Martha Figueroa (Colem, Chiapas), Martha Graciela Ramos (Mujeres por México en Chihuahua, Chihuahua), Marusia López (JASS-Mesoamérica), Montserrat Díaz (Colectivo Feminista de Xalapa, Veracruz), Nadia Maciel (Guerrero), Nadin Reyes (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos - Desaparecidos “Hasta Encontrarlos”, DF), Nerida Gaspar Castillo (Colectivo Ollin Calli), Nallely Tello (Consorcio, Oaxaca), Nora Vargas (EMAS), Obtilia Eugenio Manuel (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa, Guerrero), Orfe Castillo (JASS-Mesoamérica), Reyna Ramírez Sánchez (Colectivo de Obreras Insumisas To Tlaktole Calaki Mo Yolo, AC.), Rosa María Laguna Gómez (CLADEM-México), Sandra Peniche (Servicios Humanitarios en Salud Sexual y Reproductiva, Yucatán), Sandra Torres Pastrana (Red Defensoras México, Consorcio, Oaxaca), Silvia Castillo Salgado (Instituto Guerrerense de Derechos Humanos, Guerrero), Silvia Alejandra Holguin Cinco (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Mujeres de Chihuahua, México.), Silvia Pérez Yescas (Mujeres Indígenas por Ciarena, A.C.), Siria Solis Solis (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Mujeres de Chihuahua, México.), Silvia Vázquez  (CMDPDH), Susana Mejía (CADEM - Cuetzalan, Pue. y Comaletzin A.C.), Tania Ramírez (H.I.J.O.S. México), Teresa Emeterio Martínez (Oaxaca), Teresa Zúñiga (IMDEC-Guadalajara), Verónica Corchado (Colectiva: arte, comunidad y equidad, Grupo Articulación Justicia en Juárez, Cd. Juárez), Valeria Escorza ((Prodesc, DF),  Verónica Cruz (Las Libres, Guanajuato), Xóchitl Ramírez (Yotlakat Non Siwatl, Atzin Desarrollo Comunitario, Guerrero), Yesica Sánchez Maya (Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca, Oaxaca), Yunuhen Rangel Medina (Cimac, DF), Zulma Méndez (Pacto por la Cultura y Red Mesa de Mujeres).

*Note: I am a member of the Mexican Network of Women Human Rights Defenders and we held an amazing Third National meeting the last weekend in January. The Network brings together women from all over the country who are on the front line of defending human rights; labor, sexual and reproductive rights; migrant rights and those seeking justice for disappeared and assassinated love ones. There was a broad consensus that the situation in Mexico is getting more violent and more dangerous. Here we offer our concluding declaration in English, with thanks to AWID for the translation. JASS Mesoamerica, which I am proud to be a part of, is a co-coordinator of the Network.
For more information, contact me at lecarlsen@gmail.com

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