Civil society organizations, government institutions and international community spoke out against threats received by Consorcio Oaxaca and claimed immediate actions by Mexican Government to protect its staff.
On June 15, the members of Consorcio Oaxaca, a feminist civil organization that defends women’s rights and is accompanied by PBI Mexico, were informed about a police operation related to a death threat, signed by a criminal group, which was found in the organization’s offices. According to Yésica Sánchez, the director of Consorcio Oaxaca, their job has no relation to any interests of the signing group, so there might be another actor behind the death threat. The police, said Sánchez, had visited them ten days before to check how they were, but did not notify them when they found the intimidatory elements in Consorcio’s offices.1
Hence, Consorcio Oaxaca considers this death threat as the most recent event of a group of serious incidents which aim to silence the campaign “Hasta que la justicia llegue” (“Until justice arrives”). This campaign has been conducted by the feminist journalist Soledad Jarquín and supported by many civil society organizations, and has denounced the flaws and omissions of the criminal procedure performed by the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Oaxaca (Fiscalía General del Estado) for the femicide of young photojournalist María del Sol Cruz Jarquín. As stated by Consorcio’s public notice, the “Alejandro Murat Administration seeks to disguise this subject as an Organized Crime’ issue” 2 and could be inhibiting not just the actions to guarantee truth, justice and reparation for the case mentioned above, but the efforts of women and men who defend human and enviromental rights in Oaxaca3.
Several social sectors pronounced about the death threat and demanded the Consorcio Oaxaca and Soledad Jarquín protection: The National Citizen Observatory on Femicide (Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio) highlighted the rigorous record of femicides and disappearances in Oaxaca compiled by Consorcio, and stated that this death threat targets all women and organizations that support and defend women4. The Civil Society Organizations Space (Espacio OSC), accompanied by PBI Mexico, asked federal government to take immediate strategies to preserve the integrity of Soledad Jarquín and staff of Consorcio and to ensure human rights defense, freedom of expression as well as access to justice in Oaxaca5. The Gender Equality Commission of the Senate of the Republic (Comisión para la Igualdad de Género del Senado de la República) repudiated the death threat and requested the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Oaxaca to investigate the events, to identify those responsible, and to prepare a progress report on the criminal procedure for the femicide of María del Sol Cruz Jarquín 6. In the same way, the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (Comisión Nacional para Prevenir y Erradicar la Violencia contra las Mujeres), autonomous organ of the Secretariat of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobierno), affirmed, considering the death threat aimed at Consorcio, that “Government institutions must take care of security and women’s access to justice”7.
PBI Mexico expressed its concern about the incident occurred on June 15 and the systematic intimidation actions directed against Consorcio Oaxaca and called the attention of the Mexican State and the international community to the risks faced by those who defend human rights in Mexico. Thus, Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, asked the Government of Mexico “to take appropriate action in the face of any foreseeable threat to the life or physical integrity of any women human rights defender"8 and emphasized the need to incorporate a gender perspective to respond to the specific dangers experienced by women defenders in Mexico. The Embassies of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States in Mexico condemned all the intimidations against the Consorcio Oaxaca staff, demanded to clarify the death threat and offered to support the efforts to protect the organization’s members.9 Finally, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, of the World Organization against Torture, foregrounded the threats pattern, the stalking and the trespassing events that have affected Consorcio, and secondly underlined the absence of decisive investigations in these cases10.
We reiterate the request made by Consorcio Oaxaca, other civil society organizations and the international community to guarantee safety, integrity, and life of those who defend human rights in Mexico and accompany women in search for justice, truth, and reparation. The Mexican State must investigate the threats against Consorcio Oaxaca and activate the corresponding mechanisms of justice and protection for the organization’s staff and the defenders they accompany.