It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that as Inés and Valentina’s cases are being considered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, President of OPIM and potential witness in the case of Inés, and her fellow human rights defenders have been repeatedly harassed and received pointed death threats. In early March, a letter arrived at the OPIM office for Obtilia that threatened:“Stop denouncing the government…don’t think that you are made out of iron the bullets will go through you…We are protected by the local state and federal government…we are right here waiting for you.”
Working to protect human rights in the heavily militarized mountain region of Guerrero, Mexico is never easy; and threats and harassment are not new for the Mexican human rights defenders who work for the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights. But we have been alarmed to see a rise in threats against them because of their outspoken advocacy, including their accompaniment of two indigenous women, Inés Fernández Ortega y Valentina Rosendo Cantú, who were raped and tortured by soldiers in 2002.
Out of deep concern for the safety of these brave defenders, who have been internationally recognized for their work, LAWG and WOLA teamed up to send a letter to Mexican authorities demanding that they take action to investigate these threats, hold the perpetrators accountable, and do what is necessary to protect Obtilia, her sister Andrea, and the other members of OPIM and Tlachinollan Human Rights Center.
Click here to read the letter in English o haga clíc aquí para leer la carta en Español.
Take a look at the statement that the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico recently issued condemning the harassment and death threats that persist against human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero.
Then join us in supporting these defenders by clicking here to send your own message to the Mexican government.