WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
25 Jun 2009 | News

WOLA and Others Urge Protection of Mexican Human Rights Defenders

Today the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) sent a letter to Ambassador Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, the Mexican Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, expressing concern for the attempted assassination of Margarita Martín de las Nieves, the widow of Manuel Ponce Rosas, and indigenous human rights defender who was kidnapped and executed in the state of Guerrero last February along with another defender, Raul Lucas Lucia.  WOLA, LAWG, DPLF, and HRW issued a letter to the Attorney General of Guerrero following the murder of Manuel Ponce Rosas and Raul Lucas Lucia and we are deeply troubled by the recent attempts against Ponce Rosas' widow.  In our current letter, we urge Assistant Secretary Gomez to ensure the implementation of protective measures awarded to 107 human rights defenders in Guerrero by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.  To date, Margarita Martín de las Nieves remains vulnerable, as the State has yet to provide her increased protections.  We also request that the authorities investigate the attempt on Margarita's life and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.  

Human rights defenders face increasing levels of persecution in Guerrero, and WOLA has worked with counterparts in the state to oppose militarization and the criminalization of social protest.  We are deeply concerned that human rights defenders in Guerrero work in a system of impunity, where abusers are unpunished and crimes are rarely investigated.