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To: www.chihuahua.gob.mx
VERSION EN ESPANOL SIGUE

An Open Letter to the Mexican Government in the State of 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 Mexicos 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.



As citizens of the world who value life, human rights and democratic principles:


1.We stand in solidarity with JUSTICE FOR OUR DAUGHTERS and with the families of the victims and their supporters in Mexico.

2. We call for an end to the repression against them.

3. We ask that the Mexican authorities do everything possible to end the violence. This includes the carrying out of thorough investigations with adequately trained professionals and proper means of identification of bodies, as well as finding the true perpetrators of the crimes.

4. We ask that the Mexican government cooperate with the families in the creation and execution of measures to ensure public safety.

5. We ask that all police and public officials who fail to uphold the law and/or who engage in irregularities be held accountable.

6. We ask that needed laws for the handling of missing persons and the prevention of forced disappearance be formulated.

7. We ask that members of Mexican civil society be permitted to monitor the actions of their government through simply and accessible means.

8. We ask that the Mexican government cooperate with all international human rights organizations and respect the global effort to end violence against women in Mexico!


VERSION EN ESPANOL
Una carta abierta al gobierno del estado de Chihuahua, Mйxico:

El estado mexicano de Chihuahua es el lugar mбs peligroso para ser mujer de las Amйricas. En los ъltimos diez aсos, sуlo en la ciudad de Juбrez, unas 268 mujeres han sido asesinadas y al menos 250 han desaparecido. Las vнctimas han padecido crнmenes brutales que abarcan el asalto sexual, la tortura y la mutilaciуn. Este fenуmeno se ha manifestado en la ciudad de Chihuahua desde 1999. Esta horrible ola de violencia contra las mujeres es un hecho que no tiene precedentes en Mйxico y en Amйrica Latina.


La respuesta de las autoridades mexicanas a estos crнmenes no ha sido eficaz pues no se han respetado las leyes existentes. Mбs aъn, la legislaciуn vigente en ese paнs adolece de lagunas relacionadas con las desapariciones y la violencia sexual. El proceso de investigaciуn y despistage tйcnico de estos delitos ha sido contaminado tanto por pruebas como acusaciones falsas. Si bien los asesinatos y las desapariciones son atribuibles a varios responsables, la atmosfera generalizada de impunidad ha encubierto a los culpables y propiciado los crнmenes. El derecho a la vida, a la seguridad y a la justicia son principios que han sido violados constantemente.


Durante muchos aсos, las familias de las vнctimas han llevado a cabo numerosas protestas contra la violencia con el objetivo de denunciar a las autoridades el irrespeto a las leyes y la falta de protecciуn a la ciudadanнa. JUSTICIA PARA NUESTRAS HIJAS es una organizaciуn fundada en 2002 en la ciudad de Chihuahua que vela por la justicia y los derechos humanos en Mйxico y estб constituida por las familias de las vнctimas y miembros afiliados quienes las asisten en su lucha. Su objetivo es reconocer pъblicamente el incremento de la poblaciуn de mujeres jуvenes que trabajan fuera del hogar en Mйxico. Esta organizaciуn exige que cese la estigmatizaciуn social de aquellas mujeres que buscan su sustento fuera del espacio domйstico para mantenerse a sн mismas y a sus familares. Exigen la creaciуn de un nuevo cuerpo legal que garantice la seguridad pъblica, una gestiуn policial transparente en casos de desapariciуn y la identificaciуn cientнfica de los restos humanos a travйs de las tйcnicas modernas contempladas en la medicina forense. Asн mismo, este organismo exige que las autoridades que no respetan las leyes y no protegen a la ciudadania mexicana sean debidamente castigadas.

La impunidad de los hechos aunada a la indolencia de las autoridades demuestra que en Mйxico no se respetan los derechos humanos fundamentales reconocidos internacionalmente, y por lo tanto, el mismo estado pudiera ser considerado responsable del problema y cuestionado e interpelado por sus ciudadanos y por la comunidad internacional. La inexistencia de una ley en que reconozca la desapariciуn de un ser humano como un crimen no puede servir como justificaciуn para permitir que la violencia contra la mujer persista en Chihuahua.

No obstante, las familias de las vнctimas y quienes les han prestado ayuda han sufrido una ola de represiуn orquestada por funcionarios del estado mexicano. Por exigir la justicia, por ejercer su derecho a la libertad de expresiуn y por buscar el apoyo de la comunidad internacional a travйs de organismos de derechos humanos; ellos han sido hostigados, agredidos, golpeados, torturados, desacreditados, acusados de crнmenes sin pruebas reales y arrestados.

Como ciudadanos del mundo que valoramos la vida, los derechos humanos y los prinicipios democrбticos:

1. Declaramos nuestra solidaridad con JUSTICIA PARA NUESTRAS HIJAS, los familiares de las vнctimas y aquellas personas quienes les han apoyado en Mйxico.
2. Exigimos que cese la represiуn contra ellos
3. Exigimos que las autoridades mexicanas pongan fin a la violencia. Esto implica:
1. Llevar a cabo investigaciones rigurosas con expertos en criminalнstica y tomar medidas adecuadas para identificar los restos humanos, ademбs procesar jurнdicamente a los responsables de los crimenes.
4. Exigimos que el gobierno mexico coopere con las familias en la creaciуn y ejecuciуn de medidas que garantizarбn la seguridad pъblica;
5. Exigimos que todos los policias y otros agentes del estado que no respeten las leyes y que cometan irregularidades sean sancionados;
6. Exigimos que establezcan las leyes y cуdigos penales necesarios para tratar las desapariciones de seres humanos y para prevenir las desapariciones forzadas;
7. Exigimos que se permita a la sociedad civil mexicana monitorear las acciones del gobierno de manera sencilla y accessible;
8. Exigimos al gobierno mexicano que se respeten los esfuerzos globales para terminar con la violencia contra las mujeres en Mйxico!

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Keisha BlankenshipBy:
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Petition target:
Mexican Government, State of Chihuahua

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