December 24, 2010
Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was a brave woman. Her daughter Rubi was murdered in August 2008 at the age of 16. From that day forward, Marisela dedicated her life to seeking justice for Rubi by becoming a human rights defender in Chihuahua, Mexico.
On November 25, 2010 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women), she was part of a demonstration with other mothers in a group called Justice for our Daughters. The women hung, on the Cross of Nails outside the Government Palace in Chihuahua City, the names of more than 300 women who have been killed this year in the state of Chihuahua. These murders are known as “feminicides”, the killing of women.
Marisela began a “permanent” protest at the Cross of Nails to press the authorities to arrest Sergio Rafael Barraza Bacanegra, who initially confessed to killing Rubi. Marisela was willing to spend Christmas and New Years at the Cross in protest of the acquittal of Barraza for Ã¢â‚¬Ëœlack of evidence’. “I am not going to move from here until they detain the killer of my daughter,” Marisela said as she built her small campsite in front of the Cross of Nails.
On the night of December 16, 2010 Marisela was approached at her camp by a man who got out of a white car. The man apparently exchanged words with her, then chased her across a busy street, shooting her in the head. All of this was captured on closed-circuit television, broadcast on national Mexican television and posted to YouTube.
Marisela was supported in her campaign by the Women’s Human Rights Center (the Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres), a PWRDF partner. Lucha Castro, the coordinator of the centre, said, “at this time, we cannot ignore any line of investigation including a crime by the state because Marisela was not going to stop until they detained the killer of her daughter.”
A statement from the Women’s Human Rights Center sums the case up, “Due to the incapability and disregard of the state and federal governments, Marisela was murdered for asking for justice for her daughter Rubi.”
PWRDF supports the Women’s Human Rights Center in their call for an end to the killings, “Ni Una Mas! NOT ONE MORE!”
Please join with PWRDF in supporting the Women’s Human Rights Center by writing to Mexican President Felipe de JesÃƒºs CalderÃƒ³n Hinojosa as well as your MP. (See sample letter below, also available as a pdf, Sample letter)
Presidente Constitucional de la RepÃƒºblica Mexicana
Lic. Felipe de JesÃƒºs CalderÃƒ³n Hinojosa.
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos,
Casa Miguel AlemÃƒ¡n,
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,
C.P. 11850, MÃƒ©xico DF.
Tel: +52 55 27891100;
Fax: +52 55 50934900.
E-mail: [email protected] Dear Mr. President Calderon,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the impunity of crimes committed against women, escalating violence and the violation of human rights in Chihuahua. I write as a supporter of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the development and relief agency of the Anglican Church of Canada, and a funding partner of the the Women’s Human Rights Centre (Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres) and the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre (Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte).
It was deeply troubling to learn of the recent killing of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz on December 16, 2010. She dedicated her life to seeking justice for her murdered daughter Rubi by becoming a human rights defender in Chihuahua. Since then, on December 18, 2010, the carpentry shop owned by Marisela’s husband was set on fire and Manuel Monge Amparan, Marisela’s brother-in-law, was kidnapped and later that day found dead.
According to information provided by the Women’s Human Rights Centre and the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre , Bertha Garcia and Manuel Garcia also face serious risk. They are the mother and uncle, respectively, of 17-year-old Brenda Castillo who disappeared on January 6, 2009. They fear for their lives because they accompanied Marisela Escobedo in all her activities to demand justice.
I urge your government to take adequate steps to find and bring the perpetrators of these acts of violence to justice. I also request that you press the appropriate Mexican authorities to act to ensure the safety of Bertha Garcia and Manuel Garcia, as well as the safety of all human rights advocates and defenders working at the Women’s Human Rights Centre (Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres) and the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre (Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte), whose lives have also been threatened.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
[Your Name] CC: Procuraduria General de la Repuplica
(The Office of the Mexican Attorney-General)
Mr. Arturo Chavez Chavez, Procurador General de la Republica
Procuraduria General de la Republica (The Office of the Mexican Attorney-General)
Av. Paseo de la Republica 211-213
Cuauhtemoc, Distrito Federal
E-Mail: [email protected] Francisco J. Barrio Terrazas, Ambassador of Mexico in Canada
Embassy of Mexico
45 O’Connor St. Suite 1000
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A4
E-Mail: [email protected]
Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas):
110 Justice Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
E-Mail: [email protected] Hon Mr. Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Ambassador of Canada in Mexico
Embassy of Canada
Col. Bosque de Chapultepec (Polanco)
Del. Miguel Hidalgo
11580 Mexico City, D.F.
Email: [email protected] Canada
[Also copy to your local MP in Ottawa]