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by othea •
Monday December 15, 2003 at 02:16 PM
Ten years of Abductions and Murders in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua
The Mexican State of Chihuahua is the most dangerous place to be a young woman in the Americas. In the last ten years, in the city of Juarez alone, some 268 women have been murdered and at least 250 more have disappeared. These women have perished in brutal circumstances that include sexual assault, torture, and mutilation. This phenomenon reached Chihuahua City in 1999. This horrifying wave of violence against women is unprecedented in Mexico and Latin America.
The actions of the Mexican authorities in response to these crimes have been ineffectual. Existing laws have not been upheld. Legislation dealing with sexual violence and disappearance is sorely needed. False evidence and false accusations of guilt flaw too many investigations. The murders and disappearances have been carried out by many different perpetrators, but a generalized atmosphere of impunity facilitates all of them. The right to life, to live in safety, to due process and to justice has all been violated time after time.
For several years, the families of the victims have led scores of protests against the violence and against the failures of the authorities to respond adequately and protect the citizenry. JUSTICE FOR OUR DAUGHTERS was formed in 2002 in Chihuahua City. It is a group made up of families of the victims and their legal advocates and supporters. They struggle for justice and human rights in Mexico. They call for attention to the needs of Mexico's growing population of young working women. They demand an end to stigmatizing of women who need to work outside their homes to support themselves and their families. They demand the creation of new laws to promote public safety, proper legal management of missing person cases, and scientifically accurate identification of human remains. They also rightfully demand that any representative of state authority who does not fulfill his or her duty to uphold the law and protect the Mexican citizenry should be held accountable and punished.
If the Mexican authorities fail to uphold internationally recognized standards of human rights, then the Mexican State is also responsible for the perpetuation of these crimes and should be subject to sanction from the international community. The fact that disappearance is not a crime in Mexico cannot serve as rationale for ignoring the escalating violence against women in Chihuahua.
Unfortunately, the families of the victims and their supporters have been subjected to repression carried out by agents of the Mexican State. For demanding justice, for exercising their right to freedom of expression and for seeking support from the international human rights community, they have been harassed, beaten, tortured, publicly defamed, falsely accused of crimes and arrested.
For a list of the names of the victims, go to: