Women human rights defenders

On June 30, Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice fully exonerated 12 community land rights activists from San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, each of whom had previously been sentenced to between 31 and 112 years in prison for crimes allegedly committed during clashes with the Mexican government in 2006.
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“It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.” - Major-General Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray reflects on the recent International Gender Justice Dialogue
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Women human rights defenders often suffer threats, intimidation and even death for their work. The rising security crisis in Mesoamerica and the deterioration of State institutions have left women human rights defenders in the region unprotected and under threat. JASS and its partners convened a three-day meeting in Oaxaca, Mexico from April 23 – 25, 2010. Nearly 60 women human rights defenders gathered to analyze and develop more effective strategies to respond and protect themselves.
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Hondurans inaugurated a new president on January 27, following last November’s controversial elections. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is pushing the de facto president, who assumed office following last year’s coup, to resign, and for implementation of the Tegucigalpa/San José Accord.
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In May 2006, Mexican police responded with violence to protests in the town of San Salvador Atenco, killing two people, injuring many more, and indiscriminately detaining town residents, as well as other bystanders not involved in the confrontation. Of the hundreds detained, at least 45 were women, many of whom were beaten, raped, and otherwise assaulted by police while in state custody.
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Pepe Lobo was inaugurated as the new president of Honduras today. After the inauguration, ousted president Mel Zelaya left Honduras with a "salvo conducto" pass from the new government. Although the Resistance opposed it, the new congress voted yesterday to grant amnesty to everyone involved with the military coup that took place on June 28th, 2009.
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Emblematic of the violence and impunity facing Mesoamerican women, two young women – family members of two women’s human rights defenders – were brutally murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on November 28th and 29th.
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We, the Honduran Feminists in Resistance, are convinced that the restitution of democracy to Honduras does not mean only the return to government of President Zelaya – it must also signify respect for the Honduran people’s right to install a Constitutional National Assembly. Only in this way will it be possible to build a new social agreement that grounds the State once more in human rights and in the demands of the population.
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JASS and the Nobel Women’s Initiative urge the Obama Administration to condemn violence perpetrated against women’s and human rights defenders since the June 2009 coup. To support Feminists in Resistance, read more ..
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