We hold the state and federal governments responsable for their well-being and demand an end to the harassment and criminalization of defenders
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong
Secretary of the Interior
On July 14, 2016, at about 8:30 pm, after finishing their work in the city of Oaxaca, the human rights defenders, Adriana Marcelina Linares Arroyo and Rubí Jazmín Cortés Salazar, were heading towards the city of Tlaxiaco when they realized that after getting into a vehicle parked outside the Oaxaca Teachers’ Union Hotel, an unknown man dressed in plain clothes was openly taking pictures of their vehicle, paying special attention to the licenes plates. It is noteworthy that three teachers from the Mixteca region were also with the defenders in their vehicle.
After a few minutes, the defenders noticed that a dark blue Chevrolet, apparently a Sonic, was following them from the Teachers’ Union Hotel to the Viguera crossroads. At that time, they called to report what was happening and decided not to continue on their trip, and instead, to go back to a safe space in the city.
Upon making a U-turn when the light turned red, they were able to speed up and lose the car that was following them.
This situation ocurred in the context of a number of serious human rights violations against women defenders, the social moviment, the teachers’ union, parents, and Oaxaca’s civilian population in resistance against the structural reforms initiated by the federal government.
The brutal repression exerted in a police operation last June 19, in Nochixtlán, Telixtlahuaca, Huitzo, Viguera and Hacienda Blanca, which left eight people dead and more than 120 seriously wounded, has been one of the bloodiest examples of these grave human rights violations.
The role of Rubí Jazmín Cortés Salazar and Adriana Marcelina Linares Arroyo has been fundamental in this context:
Rubí Jazmín Cortés Salazar is a Mixteca human rights defender and a member of the Multicultural Alliance Women from Tlaxiaco (AMMOR). She is President of Tlaxiaco’s Sector 101 of the Committee for the Defense of Public Education and has played a crucial role in the dissemination of information and coordination of work with Tlaxiaco parents in their struggle for decent líving conditions and access to an adequate education for their children.
Adriana Marcelina Linares Arroyo, who is also a Mixteca indigenous woman, is the General Coordinator of the Oaxaca State Coalition of Parents and Tutors in defense of free, públic education. After making several públic statements in the news media, she began to suffer repression.
Several months ago, these defenders were targetted in several different ways, including phone tapping, defamation, criminalization, and being followed as they went about their work. They also experienced intimidation by persons with physical characteristics common to members of the Mexican Army and police forces.
Furthermore, Adriana Marcelina Linares Arroyo has recently received telephone threats against herself and her children. An anonymous letter was also sent to her husband that slanders the defender in rude, sexist terms regarding her intimate private life.
It is important to note that both women human rights defenders participated in the dialogue initated on June 22, 2016, with you, the Secretary of the Interior. As of their participation, the attacks against them have increased. In view of this situation the Center for the Defence of the Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) have requested that the Oaxaca State government grant precautionary measures for their protection . The government first responded negatively to this request, and only agreed to do so after a second petition was filed.
We who are members of the Oaxaca Network of Women Activists and Human Rights Defenders, 114 women defenders that come from different regions of the State, hold the state and federal governments responsable for the life, physical and psychological integrity, and judicial security of these women defenders in view of the high risk situation that they are facing.
As members of human rights organizations, we have documented an alarming rise in the number of attacks against women human rights defenders in the state of Oaxaca , and we repudiate the increasingly violent repression of the Mexican government against those who are exercising their right to the freedom of expression and association.
In view of this extremely serious situtation, we demand:
- An immediate end to the attacks against defenders Rubí Jazmín Cortés Salazar and Adriana Marcelina Linares Arroyo.
- Guarantees of the physical and psychological integrity of Rubí Jazmín Cortés Salazar, Adriana Marcelina Linares Arroyo, and their family members.
- An investigation of the aggressors and the imposition of sanctions against them, given that the prevailing impunity has given rise to a climate of permissibility.