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Mexico: Comply with Inter-American Court Decision and Protect Human Rights Defenders

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In October 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued rulings in the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú, two indigenous women who were raped by soldiers in rural Guerrero in 2002. In these precedent-setting rulings, the Court concluded that the state is responsible for a series of gross human rights violations committed against both the women and their families. In these judgments, the Court ordered Mexico to not just make reparations for Inés and Valentina, but also re-open the criminal investigations in civilian courts, investigate the officials who thwarted justice, and take other actions to prevent future atrocities. We are disappointed that, to date, Mexico has yet to make meaningful progress towards compliance with these rulings.  

Inés, Valentina, their families, as well as groups that have worked to support the women in their search for justice, have been the targets of threats, harassment and violence during the process. Recently, members of the OPIM (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa), a group that defends and promotes the rights of indigenous communities in rural Guerrero, have received targeted death threats as a result of their efforts to push Mexico to carry out the full sentences issued by the Inter-American Court. To speak out against these threats, click on this urgent action from Amnesty International.   

The stakes are high and it is critical that Mexico fully implement the range of measures outlined by the Court. Click here to read a letter that LAWGEF and partners sent to Secretary Blake Mora (head of the Secretaría de Gobernación) urging  full and prompt compliance with the Inter-American Court decision, as well as  measures to ensure that Inés, Valentina, their families and groups that support them are kept protected – and to end the long-standing impunity for those who threaten and harass human rights defenders.     

To read the full letter (in Spanish) click here