Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was murdered on December 16, 2010 on the steps of the Chihuahua State Government Palace. She was demanding justice for her own daughter, Rubi Marisol Frayre, murdered in Ciudad Juarez. Frayre’s killer was released by authorities despite confessing to the crime and leading investigators to her burned remains in a city dump.
Escobedo’s murder was a lightening rod that sparked wide public outrage and became the focal point around which thousands of women activists and human rights organizations rallied. In an international action in front of Mexican embassies and consulates throughout Latin America and Spain on Monday, January 17th, activists demanded an end to years of femicide and violence against women with impunity in Mexico, which have increasingly targeted women human rights defenders.
From Managua to Santo Domingo, activists, some of whom met with Mexican officials, demanded justice for the murdered women and called on the Mexican government to fulfill its obligation to guarantee, recognize and protect the lives and human rights of all of its citizens.
JASS Mesoamerica played a lead organizing role in the protests, statements and media, along with many different national, regional and international organizations including: Consorcio, Mesa Network of Women in Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico; Latin American Committee for Defense of Women’s Rights, regionally, and; the Association for Women in Development and the Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) internationally. JASS Mesoamerica Regional Coordinator Marusia Lopez, in partnership with Consorcio, has gathered and synthesized various statements, press releases and international media coverage of Monday’s actions – the report is available in Spanish.
In addition to the protests, there were several different declarations made and signed by dozens of leading women’s and human rights organizations. The Nobel Women’s Initiative issued a statement to the Mexican government signed by six women Nobel Peace laureates demanding justice in the case of Escobedo; compliance with the Inter-American Human Rights Court’s rulings stating that the Mexican government is failing to prevent and duly investigate violence against women [include news link to Juarez 2009 ruling and link to JASS story on Me’phaa women] and; an end to violence against women human rights defenders and their families. The Mexican government responded to NWI’s letter, expressing “its most energetic condemnation of the murder of Mrs. Marisela Escobedo,” and a “firm commitment” to act on the conclusions of the Inter-American Court.
This is yet another example of JASS’ unique ability to swiftly and nimbly mobilize national-regional-international actions in solidarity with local and regional allies to capture public, government and media attention and put pressure on elected officials to end violence against women and protect their human rights. These actions are strengthened by and reinforce JASS’ ongoing work in Mesoamerica to support and amplify the work of women human rights defenders.