Deeply concerned after learning of an assassination attempt against human rights defenders in Guerrero, including Margarita Martín de las Nieves, the Latin America Working Group, Human Rights Watch, the Washington Office on Latin America and Due Process of Law Foundation issued a letter to Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, the Mexican Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, urging state and federal authorities to take immediate action to ensure the safety of Margarita Martín de las Nieves and fully implement security measures necessary to make certain that human rights defenders in Guerrero can safely carry out their work without fear of reprisals. These protective measures include those agreed to by the Mexican government within the context of proceedings before the Inter-American system of human rights.
Margarita Martín de las Nieves is the widow of Manuel Ponce Rosas. In February 2009, Manuel Ponce Rosas was abducted along with fellow indigenous human rights defender Raúl Lucas Lucia by three men who identified themselves as police officers. The bodies of these two human rights defenders were found tortured and murdered the following day in the highly marginalized and militarized Costa Chica region of Guerrero. Both men were leaders and members of the Organization for the Future of the Mixtec Peoples (Organización para el Futuro del Pueblo Mixteco – OFPM), an organization that works to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples of the region.
We are deeply troubled by the escalating threats, harassment and intimidations targeted at human rights defenders in Guerrero, particularly members of the OFPM and Me'Phaa Indigenous People’s Organization (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me'Phaa – OPIM) and their families. The LAWG joins with individuals and organizations across Mexico and around the world in calling for an end to these grave abuses and a climate of impunity. To do so, it is critical that authorities in Mexico take prompt action to thoroughly investigate and bring to justice those responsible for these murders, assassination attempts and threats.