Friday, February 17, 2012

Crimes Against Woman in Mexico Not Prosecuted

"I live in hiding and the solders who raped me are free."

El PAIS (The Country)
Veronica Calderon | MADRID 3 JUN 2011 - 00:26 CET  [Translated with help of Google Translate]

The three are Mexican. One comes from the north (Ciudad Juarez) and two from the south (Guerrero and Oaxaca). And the three are united by the same struggle: to denounce violence against women in Mexico, and the impunity in which criminals live.  The rape and murder against the most vulnerable groups in Mexican society have become a constant, agreed Valentina Rosendo Cantú, MinervaMartinez Nora Grace Lazarus and Gabriela Morales, gathered yesterday at the headquartersin Madrid General Council of Spanish Lawyers . The three have also sought help from the international community to end a situation described as "unsustainable."

The case of Valentina Rosendo, indigenous Me'phaa illustrates the gravity of the situation. In 2002, at age 17, she was raped, tortured and threatened by a group of soldiers. "I start to put all my trust in Mexico," she said. The lack of answers and impunity in which the assailants live  led her to report the case to the Interamerican Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica.  In October, 2010 the Court ruled in her favor. The judgment has not been met and, instead she received more threats.  Nevertheless, Rosendo has not ceased to struggle. "I live in hiding for my safety while the soldiers who abused me are still free," she recalls.

The offensive against drug trafficking in Mexico has made the problem worse but did not invent it. "Not everything is drug trafficking and organized crime, there is a macho culture permitted in Mexican society," said Gabriela Morales Gracia, legal coordinator of the initiative Frontera Norte in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. "The human rights violations are increasing in areas where there is no longer any security," she adds. "There is no access to the courts when there is no rule of law, and in some Mexican states there is no rule of law."

The administration of justice is comfounded by the lack of coordination between different levels of government, as described by Minerva Nora Martinez Lázaro, general coordinator of the Regional Human Rights Bartolome Carrasco Briseno. "Justice is not for everyone, there is no cooperation between the federal and state governments, and NGOs have been attacked. They say we talk about things that do not happen," said Martinez, who spent 15 years working in the defense of indigenous groups in Oaxaca. "There are very serious conditions in which Indians live Mexican peoples, particularly women."

The figures back up her claim. 98.5% of crimes committed in Mexico go unpunished, according to a study by the Technological Institute of Monterrey. When the victim is female and indigenous, the scenario is even worse. "In 10 cases, if one complaint gets heard it is a lot, and of course it's not a criminal complaint," Morales summarizes.

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