Green MEPs listen to David Peña, lawyer of the families of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.
German Green MEP Ska Kellar and Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi are in Mexico supporting local human rights defenders.
Tuesday 2nd October 2012
After returning to Mexico City we spend the day mainly meeting with NGOs that deal with the worrying human rights situation in the country. Crucial to the day is a late evening meeting with David Peña, lawyer of the families of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, both of whom were killed on 27th August 2010 in the state of Oaxaca by a government-associated paramilitary group. They were taking part in a humanitarian caravan that wanted to bring medicine to the indigenous village San Juan Copala. Since then Satu Hassi and Ska Keller have followed the case. As Jyri was Finnish, the case attracted international attention and chances for a just process are higher than in the other cases of deadly attacks on human rights activists. At least that is what we hope. Until recently, the judicial authorities in Mexico did not really do anything, other than small steps when MEPs were present. But after the discussion with David Peña we are a little bit more optimistic. The authorities seem to be moving on this case.
The discussions with activists who deal with the uncountable number of killings of women in Mexico confirmed that these "feminicides" continue. For over a decade the Mexican government has been internationally criticised because of the lack of real prosecutions of these crimes. Almost none of the murder cases makes it to a Mexican court, even though the Inter-American Court on Human Rights obliged the Mexican government in a ruling in 2009 to seriously investigate and take measures to stop feminicides.
Instead of being reduced though, the opposite has taken place. Since President Felipe Calderón began the so called “war on drugs” in 2006, violence against women has escalated along with violence more generally. NGOs report that violent attacks against women increased by 300%. That the new President Peña Nieto will improve the situation is not very likely: in the federal state where he was Governor before, feminicides increased greatly on his watch.
Read the full diary here