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International Coalition calls for immediate protection for Mexican women human rights defender shot five times after countless threats.
9 December 2011
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) condemns the attempted assassination of women human rights defender Norma Esther Andrade on the 2nd of December. She was shot on her way to work, in front of her two grandchildren, after their school had received a call asking for details of Norma Esther Andrade’s movements and a threat that, “We will be waiting for her outside the school”.
Norma Andrade, together with Marisela Ortiz, founded ‘Bring Our Daughters Home’ (Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa, NHRC), a group that seeks justice in cases of murdered and missing women after the assassination of Norma Andrade’s daughter, Lilia Alejandra, in 2001.
The WHRD IC is concerned about the incident which seems to be in retaliation for the work that Norma Andrade and the staff of NHRC continue to carry out despite numerous threats and continuing harassment of Norma Andrade, the NHRC staff and their families, including one staff member’s house being set on fire. There have also recently been new threats against Norma Andrade and her staff, including a threatening message hung in front of the hospital window and threatening calls to the hospital in which she was being treated.
We are also concerned that this attack has taken place in a climate in which several of the NHRC staff are already under protection orders on a directive from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Although the Mexican authorities are required to ensure the safety and security of NHRC workers, this attack makes it clear that they are not fulfilling this requirement.
The WHRD IC has continually highlighted the high-risk situation of women human rights defenders in Chihuhua state, northern Mexico, who appear to be routinely targeted and intimidated. We deplore the failure of the Mexican authorities to investigate the continuing and escalating harassment of NHRC staff and to bring those responsible to justice.
The WHRD IC calls for the Mexican authorities to:
- Ensure that there is a prompt and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the shooting of Norma Andrade, as well as the continuing intimidation of NHRC staff, and that those responsible are prosecuted;
- Ensure that Norma Andrade, the staff at NHRC, as well as their families receive adequate protection in their homes and workplaces as well as in public spaces, and enable the continuation of their work;
- Fulfil their obligations under international law and the protection orders from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, to protect all women human rights defenders, especially those working in Chihuhua state, against reprisals and other violations
The WHRD IC also urges the Mexican authorities to fulfil their commitments under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders as well as obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and to ensure that women human rights defenders, especially those at NHRC, are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of harassment, intimidation and physical injury.
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) is a resource and advocacy network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders worldwide. This statement has been sent to the Mexican authorities as well as international human rights mechanisms.
This statement has been individually endorsed by the following organisations:
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights
Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL)
Front Line International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (Front Line)
National Alliance of Women Human Right Defenders - Nepal
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH)
Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) Nepal