On 10 May, human rights defender and mother of a disappeared daughter Miriam Elizabeth Rodriquez Martinez was murdered in the state of Tamaulipas.
May 10 is Mother’s Day in Mexico, and for the last 6 years on this date, family members of the disappeared in different parts of the country have carried out the “March for National Dignity: Mothers in Search of their Sons, Daughters, Truth, and Justice”.
The march seeks to increase visibility for the issue of disappearance and demand justice. Civil society organizations involved in the march expressed their consternation over the murder and demanded justice in this case and for the situation facing family members who search for their disappeared.
The defender’s murder also caused concern among international actors, including spokesperson for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who insisted that authorities should guarantee the necessary preventative measures in order to ensure efficient protection for HRDs and journalists.
The ONHCHR called directly on authorities to understand the structural factors that contribute to the “concerning situation of vulnerability” of family members of the disappeared.
The IACHR urged the Mexican State to carry out due diligence in investigating the murder, ensuring the security and integrity of those who search for the disappeared, and ending the “crisis” of disappearances in the country.
At the same time, the Civil Society Space (Espacio_OSC) for the protection of HRDs and Journalists – a space which is accompanied by PBI – emphasized that the murder took place within a context of increased violence which has marked the first half of 2017 and included the killing of 24 HRDs and 5 journalists, as well as other aggressions.
The group demanded that the right to protection, as well as access to justice, truth and reparation of harm be guaranteed.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) described the situation as the non-compliance of authorities at all levels of government with the obligation to ensure public security and prevent violations of fundamental human rights.
In a joint communique, PBI, along with other international organizations, emphasized the need for recognition of those who search for their disappeared family members in Mexico as human rights defenders, and expressed our solidarity with those who work to end disappearances (which, according to official statistics have now surpassed 30,000 cases) as well as the violence against HRDs which persists in Mexico.