Mexican Activists Add International Pressure


On October 1st the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled against the government of Mexico for failing to prosecute sexual violations suffered in 2002 by two Me’phaa indigenous women: Inés Fernández Ortegay Valentina Rosendo Cantú.

If the Mexican government didn't respond to a ruling from the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR), perhaps they will accede to a media campaign with international pressure behind it. Despite the landmark ruling won by Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú in October, the Mexican government has yet to initiate prosecution of the perpetrators. The two Me’phaa indigenous women were raped in 2002 and continue to suffer harassment.

The IACHR ruling noted that the State should make reparations to the victims and punish those responsible in civil court. It also said that Mexico should guarantee the future security of both women. This has not happened - they continue to be harassed. The court further mandated that Mexico create domestic legislation and practices aligned with international treaties.

The verdict validated the testimony given by Ortega and Cantú and affirmed their pursuit of justice in what is an emblematic case for women's rights and indigenous women activists. Typically, Mexico has denied the violence suffered by the victims and challenged the veracity of their stories.

Of concern now is getting the government to respond and ensuring their full compliance with these rulings, since in other cases (such as the recent ruling on behalf of the victims of femicide in Juarez), the government has refused to accept their obligations, especially those concerned with reparations. JASS and its allies are working to keep this story in the headlines and continue demanding protection and justice for Ortega and Cantú.

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