Mexico is facing a major human rights and humanitarian crisis. More than 150,000 women, men and children have been killed and thousands more disappeared and displaced since December 2006 when the “war on drugs” was launched. The gendered aspects of this growing crisis remain mostly invisible as both human rights organizations and governments have difficulty understanding the mix of private and public dynamics shaping crimes against women and the unique vulnerability of women activists. The government has blamed organized crime, justifying increased state violence as “collateral damage” and downplaying the corruption within government and judicial structures.

In addition to the continued efforts of existing social movements to confront these spiraling injustices, diverse new movements with women at the forefront and in the ranks have emerged to speak out and mobilize for change. This includes women who never before identified as human rights defenders, including mothers seeking justice for family members, indigenous women fighting to protect their land and natural resources, and labor and environmental activists. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued sentences against Mexico, affirming that the Mexican government and its officials maintain a culture of discrimination that propitiates violence against women. This discrimination is intensified against indigenous, young, migrant, poor and lesbian women and women who demand justice.

This extreme context has catalyzed bridge-building and energized new forms of mobilization, combining face-to-face and online networking, like the extraordinary action by women in Ciudad Juarez that mobilizes thousands of people to end impunity and violence against women. Diverse women activists are searching for new ways of working together to scale up their efforts to stop the violence and to demand democracy, accountability, and demilitarization.     

Action & Organizing

JASS’ office in Mexico City and long-standing, close relationships with human rights and women’s organizations throughout Mexico have given us the ability to collaborate and respond quickly and effectively to the worsening situation of violence. Collaborating with groups like Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad, JASS Mesoamerica has facilitated, supported and accompanied a number of actions, mobilizations and trainings with women activists from diverse movements, contributing to over 30 national, regional and/or international urgent actions to denounce violence against activists, relatives and human rights organizations in Mexico.

In addition, JASS plays a crucial role in promoting international awareness, solidarity and media attention for women human rights defenders across the region as a way to increase their security and protection. This is especially apparent in Mexico, where JASS facilitates the involvement of renowned international human rights organizations in backing struggles for justice led by women activists, such as the women leading the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra en Mexico in 2009. JASS Mesoamerica helped create the National Women Human Rights Defenders Network in Mexico and currently is a member of its coordinating team.

For more context: 

Women Under Siege: Mexico Profile


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