Joint work consolidated by women defenders in Oaxaca
In a dangerous, adverse situation for defending human rights in the state of Oaxaca, attacks have increased at an alarming rate, and State impunity and acquiescence are the pattern.
Despite this adverse context, however, around 70 women from different regions of Oaxaca, ranging from the Mixteca, to the Sierra Norte, the Isthmus, the Cañadas, the Coast, the Sierra Sur and the Central Valleys came together for the Fourth State Meeting of Women Activists and Human Rights Defenders in Oaxaca. Their goal was to bolster alliances in different women’s struggles and to offer comprehensive feminist protection measures so that defenders can proceed with their work.
The meeting was part of a comprehensive feminist protection strategy launched by Oaxaca Consortium and several member organizations of the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), based on the premise of strengthening the defense of human rights by diverse feminist, civil and social movements.
At the inauguration, Oaxaca Consortium stressed the need to coordinate women defenders in view of the risks they experience due to their work. “We are diverse and plural,” said the spokeswoman, in recognizing different women’s struggles and noting the progress made in working together and supporting each other. The first step was identifying ourselves as defenders, then coordinating our work, followed by offering comprehensive protection instruments of physical and digital security, and finally, emphasizing women’s creative ability, she said. In this way, women defenders “have built networks that save us from the ineffectiveness of the government and accomplish the important task of reinforcing our self-confidence.”
Natalia Barreto, the representative of the European Union in Mexico, was present. She explained that the 28 countries that make up the Union have created an instrument to promote democracy and human rights by financially supporting organizations of the civil society. “We not only support this meeting in economic terms,” she said. “You also have our political support.”
The Coordinator of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico said that “accompanying each other is the key to our model and may even be more effective than institutional measures.”
The topics addressed in the meeting held on June 15th and16th, included “International Protection Experiences,” “Interchanging Experiences of Women Defender Networks,” “Women Engaged in Territorial Defense,” and “Security and Self-Care Instruments for Comprehensive Feminist Protection.”