On Monday, May 4, 2012 Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, a human rights lawyer who has worked tirelessly with Tlachinollan, a human rights center in the mountains of Guerrero, received an anonymous death threat alluding to certain cases taken on by the organization. Understandably, Vidulfo has left Mexico for fear over his safety. The threat stated:
“Vidulfo. You little a**hole lawyer defender of vandals and guerrillas stop f*cking around, shut up or we will send you back home in pieces. We are not playing, stop talking sh*t or you will die. Do you think you are a big deal? You little sh*t lawyer, stop defaming the authorities, you already owe us many times over, you get involved in everything, La Parota, the so-called raped women, and now with the Ayotzinapa vandals. Shut up or start getting your flowers together because we are following you now, we know what you do and where you go. You are going to die you are going to die you are going to die ha ha ha. Yours, The Law”
The Mexican government recently passed a law granting protections to human rights defenders. But Vidulfo’s case illustrates the Mexican government’s failure to provide the security measures necessary for human rights defenders to continue seeking justice. The Latin America Working Group (LAWG), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights released a letter on May 29, 2012 to the Mexican Minister of the Interior calling for, “immediate security measures for all members of Tlachinollan” and “an extensive, immediate, and effective investigation into the death threat received by Mr. Rosales Sierra.” This letter emphasizes that the “Mexican government must take effective security measures and effectively investigate threats and aggressions against human rights defenders so that they may continue their work without fear of reprisals.” To view the letter LAWG sent to Secretary Alejandro Poiré Romero, click here.
It is times like these when we must stand in solidarity. Thankfully, various other organizations have issued their own statements in response to the news of Vidulfo’s death threat.
• Amnesty International sent out an Urgent Action letter detailing Vidulfo and his colleagues’ work on one of the cases brought up in the threat, the day before it was received.
• Our colleagues at Centro Prodh, called the threat, “one more human rights defender threatened!” alluding to the hostile environment in which human rights defenders must not only work, but live in as well.
• The Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos issued a call to action stressing the Mexican government’s obligation to comply with the protection order issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for Vidulfo and his colleagues at Tlachinollan.
• The El Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos, a joint program between the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and the Human Rights International Federation (FIDH) issued an urgent call to action “emphatically condemning the death threats against Mr. Vidulfo Rosales Sierra.”