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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.
As citizens of the world who value life, human rights and democratic principles:
· We stand in solidarity with JUSTICE FOR OUR DAUGHTERS and with the families of the victims and their supporters in Mexico.
· We call for an end to the repression against them.
· 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.
· We ask that the Mexican government cooperate with the families in the creation and execution of measures to ensure public safety.
· We ask that all police and public officials who fail to uphold the law and/or who engage in irregularities be held accountable.
· We ask that needed laws for the handling of missing persons and the prevention of forced disappearance be formulated.
· We ask that members of Mexican civil society be permitted to monitor the actions of their government through simply and accessible means.
· 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!
If you want to express your solidarity with JUSTICE FOR OUR DAUGHTERS you can participate in multiple actions and protests taking place around the world on the weekend of the Mexican Day of the Dead, from October 31 - November 2, 2003.
These actions will take place on the street in various cities, and on line. They are sponsored by a wide range of organizations.
INFORMATION ON ACTIONS:
· To join the Virtual Sit-In against the Mexican government and the Chihuahua Supreme Court, go to: http://www.thing.net/~cocofusco/FloodNet.html
· To find out about Women in Black's vigils in the US, Europe, Latin America and Japan, go to URL - This Link is Being Updated.
· To find out of Mexico Solidarity Networks marches to Mexican consulates throughout the US, go to: This Link is Bing Updated.
find out about performance protests in New York City, go to:
· To find out about
street protests organized by Amigos de Mujeres de Juarez, go to:
. To find out about
the actions in Paris, go to:
· To find out about the UCLA conference on the violence against women in Chihuahua that will be held from October 31- November 2, 2003, go to: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/chavez/maqui_murders/conferencesch.htm
For more information about:
· Justice for Our Daughters, go to: http://espanol.geocities.com/justhijas
· Bring Our Daughters Home, go to: http://www.geocities.com/pornuestrashijas
· Amnesty International's report on violence against women in Chihuahua, go to: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR410272003
For a list of the names of the victims, go to:
To sign the OPERACION DIGNA petition in support of JUSTICE FOR OUR DAUGHTERS, go to: http://www.petitiononline.com/NIUNAMAS/petition.html
To LISTEN to the UCLA conference about violence against women en Chihuahua via audio stream LIVE from 10/31 to 11/2, go to: The Link for the Steam Media will Announced here On 10/29.
To DOWNLOAD an interview with Lucha Castro, attorney for Justice for Our Daughters (available in Spanish with English translation), go to: Link is Being Updated.