We, the individuals and organizations signing this document, express our solidarity with Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega. These indigenous women from the Me’phaa nation, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, were raped and tortured by members of the militia in 2002. Furthermore we categorically condemn the attacks and threats that these women, their families and the indigenous organizations that have supported them, have faced and continue to face to this day, and we express our outrage at the lack of effective response from the Mexican Government.
For over eight years, Valentina and Inés have struggled tirelessly to attain justice. Recently, an important victory was achieved in this struggle: two sentences of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, condemning the Mexican Government for its responsibility in the human rights violation against both Me’phaa woman, and, for having denied them access to justice at a later date. Nevertheless, to this date the Mexican Government has not demonstrated the will to enforce these sentences and implement the necessary measures to stop the threats and harassment.
What Inés and Valentina have been through is evidence of the prevalence of issues such as the lack of access to justice for women who are victims of violence; the abuse resulting from the growing lack of civil controls over the Armed Forces; and the persecution that advocates of indigenous peoples’ rights face in Mexico.
Nevertheless, through Inés and Valentina’s perseverance and courage, the outrageous situation of indigenous women human rights in Mexico, characterized by violence and discrimination, has become evident. Their struggle has shown the extent of the military power over human rights violations as serious as rape, which are frequently ignored and covered-up.
In view of all this:
- We express our deep concern over the security and integrity of Inés and Valentina and their families, as to this date the Mexican Government has not enforced the provisional measures ruled by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as the result of recurrent aggressions and harassment actions. We also demand all threats against Cuauhtémoc Ramírez Rodríguez and Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, leaders of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous Nation (OPIM –Spanish acronym), who have defended and supported Inés and Valentina in their demand for justice, to cease.
- We call on the Mexican Government to fully comply without delay with the two sentences ruled by the Inter-American Court of Justice, and to guarantee that Inés, Valentina and their representatives be consulted with respect to any action effected by the Government in the implementation of the sentences.
We are committed to the promotion of women’s rights and peace. We will remain vigilant until this becomes a reality.