Today we remember our attorney and human rights defender, Digna Ochoa y Plácido, and five years of impunity and five years of injustice against human rights defenders in Mexico.
If we began to list the attacks against human rights defenders in our country, we couldn’t name them all in a half an hour. There’s Griselda Tirado, a defender of the Totonaco indigenous peoples, killed in August of 2003, another clear example of State violence against our defenders. Recently, Martin Barrios in Puebla has received death threats because of his denunciations against the transnational maquiladora factories.
Extrajudicial murders, arbitrary arrests, harassment, defenders being followed, surveillance, intimidation, death threats, are all constant practices of this government. A chain of human rights violations has generated new violations and attacks against defenders who are engaged in the important work of denouncing State practices. At Atenco, it was plain to see that human rights defenders were not respected; on the contrary, they were the objects of even greater cruelty.
For the simple act of having denounced torture, as many of us have done repeatedly, documented cases and demanded justice, even the National Commission of Human Rights is now attacked by the “Torturer General” of Mexico. What can we expect with regards to State impunity?
The memory of our lawyer Digna Ochoa presents us with a crucial choice: to continue on the road of the defense of human rights and suffer the State’s attacks, or to allow ourselves to be controlled by fear and renounce the right we all have to promote and defend our human rights, the human rights of a people of which we are a part, against a State that increasingly and more aggressively claims impunity for their atrocities, attacks, and offenses against society.
Once more, we wish to express our thanks for the presence of all of you who are here with us today to pay homage to Digna Ochoa y Plácido, but we must always be aware that the best homage is not only to remember those who have left us a legacy of a road to follow, but also to follow this road to the end and to continue on. Others will follow in our steps and go much further than we have been able to in this immense, yet satisfying struggle to recover, maintain, and nourish human dignity, our dignity.
Decade against Impunity Solidarity Network
Comité Cerezo México