December 16 marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic murder of Mexican human rights activist, Marisela Escobedo, who worked tirelessly to bring justice for the murder of her daughter Rubí Fraye. The increasing number of attacks and murders of human rights defenders in Mexico in this past year underscores the continued failure of the Mexican government to protect defenders and the urgent need for more action to ensure that they can carry out their work safely. In the past few weeks, two supporters of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) in Mexico have been murdered, including Nepomuceno Moreno who had directly asked President Calderón for protection after receiving threats for his work to find the whereabouts of his son who was abducted in July 2010, and two other supporters of the Movement were also abducted. In addition, an attempt was made on the life of Norma Andrade, one of the leaders of the movement in Ciudad Juarez who seek justice for the women and girls who have been murdered or disappeared in the state of Chihuahua since the early 1990s. In this context, seven members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Secretary Clinton urging her to raise the importance of protecting human rights activists in dialogues with the Mexican government. The Mexican Senate is currently discussing important legislation to address this issue, and it will be important for affected civil society and human rights advocates to be involved in the implementation of the protection mechanism.
To read the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Members of Congress, click here.