Yesterday, May 2nd, defender Teresa Magueyal was shot and killed in the town of San Miguel Octopan, located in the northeastern area of the municipality of Celaya, Guanajuato.
Teresa, who belongs to the A Promise to Keep Collective, had been searching for her son José Luis Apaseo Magueyal since he disappeared on April 6, 2020 in Celaya.
According to information from state media and civilian organizations, on the morning of May 2nd, Teresa was riding her bicycle on a public thoroughfare near the San Miguel Octopan kindergarten, when she was attacked by a group of armed men who fired at her, taking her life.
The collective founded two years ago, A Promise to Keep, is made up of women and men who are looking for their disappeared family members due to the non-existent response of the authorities charged with efficiently conducting procedures in the search, investigation, and localization of missing persons.
According to information compiled by the Platform for Peace and Justice in Guanajuato, from 2020 to date, 6 murders have been committed against searchers, 3 women and 3 men. This figure identifies Guanajuato as the state where the highest risk exists for persons defending their right to truth, justice, and reparations.
From 2020 to 2022, the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico registered the assassination of 7 women defenders who were searching for disappeared family members, and the number rises to 8 when that of the searching defender Teresa Magueyal is taken into account.
Her feminicide takes place in a context of feminicidal violence, impunity, and lack of effective protection mechanism for women defenders and is now added to the feminicides of these women defenders and searchers: María Carmela Vázquez Ramírez in Guanajuato, Esmeralda Gallardo in Puebla and Rosa Lilián Rodríguez in Sinaloa; Ana Luisa Garduño Juárez in Morelos, and Brenda Jazmín Beltrán Jaime in Sonora, all of which were committed in 2022.
We of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico and IM-Defensoras, repudiate and condemn the assassination of Teresa Magueyal and join in the demand for justice and protection for persons who are searching for their disappeared family members.
We urgently call on the State in Mexico, including the federal government and all local governments, to implement appropriate and sufficient guarantees for the security of persons engaged in the search for their family members.
We reiterate our concern over the situation faced by women defenders and the families of disappeared persons as they continue their searches, and we demand that the Office of the Attorney General of the state of Guanajuato conduct a speedy, comprehensive, and gender-based investigation of the assassination of defender Teresa Magueyal and that it guarantee all necessary measures of protection and reparations for her family. It is the obligation of the designated authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee protection for persons and collectives working for right to truth, justice, and reparations in the state of Guanajuato and in the country as a whole.
And finally, we call on the international community to stand in solidarity with the family of Teresa Magueyal and the collective, A Promise to Keep, issuing statements, denouncing her assassination, and demanding justice.