9th Anniversary Cerezo Committee México
On August 13th, 2001 Alejandro, Hector and Antonio Cerezo Contreras and Pablo Alvarado Flores were illegally detained in
The necessity to fight against the injustices of Vicente Fox’s government made us organize ourselves and to look for help denouncing the actions of a government that, at that time, was claiming to be the most respectful of human rights throughout the past decades. Because of this we received the necessary training to guide our efforts in achieving the freedom of the prisoners.
We began as an organization made up of the family and friends of those victims of illegal detention and torture. At that time, we couldn’t imagine that in the future we would become a human rights organization that not only would work on our own case, but also provide the skills to support other people and organizations facing similar circumstances.
We had to learn from our own case: first we documented and denounced the unjust detention, torture, confinement and the life that those in “maximum security prisons” face; for this reason we learned to make files for each prisoner and to investigate the human rights violations. As a result of this first job, we also had to document and denounce the threats against the members of the committee as well as the harassment and the illegal tracking. Thanks to this, we understood the importance of security for organizations and the necessity of incorporating it into our daily work as an organization.
Because our work has always questioned and proved the human rights violations of the Mexican government, we have been threatened, harassed and watched, which is why, since 2002, our organization has been accompanied by the International Brigades of Peace; and in 2006 the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights took precautionary measures with three members of the Committee.
Little by little we created our identity, our slogan, our logo, our work style; we created our own methods of mass media (web page) and an economic project called Café Villa; other committees were created throughout the country and even one in
Many organizations and people shared with us their knowledge, time, money and daily effort: some of them as members of the committee, others as friends or partners of a common struggle.
All of our efforts were rewarded by our fundamental achievements: in March of 2005 Alejandro Cerezo Contreras was released from prison and exonerated of all charges, in August of 2006 Pablo Alvarado Flores was released after completing his unjust sentence, and in February of 2009 Hector and Antonio Cerezo Contreras were released after seven and a half years in prison.
In August, 2009 we declared that the Cerezo Committee would continue working. Even though one phase of our job had ended, that didn’t mean that we would leave our work as human rights defenders and as an organization. After a year we believe we have accomplished it.
For those who know what we do as committee and keep supporting us and for those who are wondering what we do, what follows is a summary of our activities from August of 2009 until now.
1. 47 workshops were given to approximately 500 people, among them were members of social organizations, others from human rights organizations, and that did not belong to any organization. We also created the education area of the Committee.
2. As a result of the necessity that we have in these types of organizations to include security in our daily life, we published, with the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vitoria O.P. A.C. an “Introductory Manual: The Security in Civil and Social Organizations (Manual de introducción: La seguridad en las organizaciones civiles y sociales)
3. A civil organization called Urgent Action for Human Rights Defenders (Acuddeh) was created to specifically address the security and protection for human rights defenders. This civil association has signed an agreement with the organization International Protection to create a ProtectionDesk in México.
4. The Committee’s web page is constantly updated and has more than 600,000 visits. The web page Wind of Liberty (Viento de Libertad) has 327, 000 visits and continues documenting prisoners persecuted and executed for political reasons. An area of analytical documentation has been created within the Committee as well.
5. Based on the documentation from the web page Wind of Liberty, the Committee created its first Report on Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience in
6. The Committee went on its third tour throughout
7. Together with Services and Aaccessories for Peace (Serapaz) and the Autonomous University of Mexico City, the Committee has promoted the conference “Mental Health and Human Rights from a Psychosocial Perspective”.
8. Some members of the Committee were trained in psychosocial attention and participated in a Seminar about Psychosocial Accompaniment, which created the collaborative report of the human rights violations of the 12 the prisoners in defense of the land, which is Informe de Efectos Psicosociales en los Familiares de los Presos de San Salvador Atenco; they also participated in filming a video about the SME hunger strike.
9. We participated in the “Freedom and Justice for Atenco Committee” and in the development of the “Freedom and Justice for Atenco International and National Campaign”. A Report About the Penitentiary Conditions en the prisons “Altiplano” and “Molino de las
10. The Committee worked on the case of the student Emmanuel Hernández Hernández from his detention (December of 2009) until his probation in June of 2010.
11. The quarterly magazine “Revuelta” has regularized its publication and this past year four magazines were published, for a total of 18. “Revuelta” now has its own web page.
12. The Committee has organized events about our case, conferences and forums on human rights and the situation of human rights in our country, like the one last April with academics, human rights defenders, and the high commissioner from the UN in Mexico and from Amnesty International.
13. The Committee has participated in numerous assemblies, forums, interviews and talks with themes related to the defense of human rights and the documentation of human rights violations, both in the
We are satisfied with all of our activities and achievements; we know that none of this would have been possible without us making the decision to walk with our people in their resolve to fully exercise their rights. We also wouldn’t have be able to achieve all that we have without the solidarity, care and commitment of others, both people and organizations that have been by our side all these years.
Unfortunately we cannot be satisfied because various facts prove how Mexican government is converting itself into a terrorist state that would rather apply the doctrine of “democratic security” copied from the Colombian government, resulting in catastrophe for its people.
Right now it is essential to perfect the work of documenting human rights violations because only in this manner will our denouncements be better upheld and more effective. It is also urgent to introduce the theme of security to organizations that form part of the social movement because only if we are alive can we put a stop to the permanent degradation of the respect of human rights. Today, more than ever, we should assume that only a unified social movement is capable of providing a viable alternative to the economic, political, and social reality of our country.
Facing this complex and dangerous setting, we will continue doing our job of denouncing the government as a human rights violator; we consider our job indispensible opposite this human rights crisis in which we are living. Because of our decision to keep documenting and denouncing human rights violations, once again, we hold the government responsible for any act that could injure, physically or emotionally, any member of our organization.
“Because human rights defender is not a synonym of terrorist”
Freedom for all the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!
México DF on August 25th, 2010