Joint Statement On Women Human Rights Defender Margarita Martinez
Due to the lack of guarantees for her life, Margarita Martinez and her family leave Chiapas
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
16 July 2012
Given the failure of the government of Chiapas and the federal government to guarantee the life, integrity and security of human rights defender Margarita Guadalupe Martinez Martinez (hereinafter Margarita Martinez) and her family, they have decided to temporarily leave the state of Chiapas because of the very high risks against her life.
The Mexican State has been unable to protect Margarita Martinez, and despite precautionary measures recommended by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Martinez and her family have received several death threats. The most recent threat took place on June 30, just as Martinez was preparing to participate as part of a delegation of Mexican women human rights defenders in the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
During the 52ndsession of CEDAW, Margarita Martinez, along with other members of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders of Mexico, will denounce the situation of violence against women human rights defenders in Mexico. She writes: "In Mexico there has been an alarming increase of violence against women human rights defenders. A violence that has been made invisible and severely diminished in its characteristics and consequences, in the context of widespread impunity, violence and criminalization of social protest in the country."
The measures taken by the government of Chiapas to protect Margarita Martinez and her family as part of the IACHR precautionary measures have not been effective in reducing the threats and risks to their lives. As a result, Martinez and her family have decided to leave the state.
The IACHR is very clear in expressing that the duty of prevention is not limited to providing physical security measures, but also to addressing the structural causes that affect the safety of those threatened. To fulfill this obligation, the state should investigate and punish those responsible for the harassment, threats and attacks against human rights defenders.
Extreme threats that force human rights defenders to leave their homes violate their rights to residence and movement. According to the Inter-American Court, these rights are violated when a human rights defender is threatened and the state does not provide the necessary guarantees for free movement and residence within the territory in question, even when threats come from non-state actors.
As human rights defenders, we can work freely when we are not victims of threats or physical, mental or moral aggressions, harassment or other obstacles that prevent us from carrying out of work of promoting and defending human rights. These conditions are not being met in Mexico, particularly in the case of Margarita Martinez.
Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas A.C.
Center for Women's Rights in Chiapas A.C.
Oaxaca Consortium for Equality and Parliamentary Dialogue
Just Associates (JASS)
Women’s Roundtable Network in Ciudad Juárez
It is worth mentioning that Margarita and Adolfo have been victims of threats, kidnappings and attacks since 2009. International human rights organizations and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders have expressed their concern about the attacks on Margarita and Adolfo. In 2010, the IACHR issued precautionary measures MC 52-10 in favor of Margarita and her family.
In September 2011, Adolfo was invited to the Dublin Platform, organized by Front Line Defenders, a space for worldwide human rights defenders who are at risk.
On June 30, 2012 at approximately 6 PM, in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, Margarita received a death threat through a written note, just before travelling to New York in order to attend a session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) at the United Nations headquarters.