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Mexico: Shooting of human rights defender Ms Norma Andrade
On 2 December 2011, human rights defender Ms Norma Andrade was shot five times in Ciudad Juárez in the State of Chihuahua.
She was hospitalised as a result of injuries sustained, and she is reportedly in a stable condition. Norma Andrade is the founder of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa – NHRC (May Our Daughters Return Home). Her human rights work focuses on fighting for justice for the victims of femicide and their families in the State of Chihuahua.
On 2 December 2011, at approximately 2pm, Norma Andrade was shot five times on Fernando Pacheco Parra Street in Ciudad Juárez by an unknown man. She sustained injuries to her torso, right shoulder and right hand.
Unknown individuals had reportedly telephoned the school where Norma Andrade works at approximately 8am on the morning of the attack, asking if the human rights defender had already arrived and then asking at what time she would be likely to arrive, and if she would come to work in the afternoon. Upon failing to garner information from the teaching staff, the unidentified callers said that they would be waiting for her outside the school.
Many members of NHRC have filed complaints after receiving threats as a result of their fight against femicide in the State. It is reported that the authorities have failed to effectively investigate these complaints and have failed to bring those responsible to justice.
On 14 February 2001, Ms Lilia Alejandra Garcia Andrade, Norma Andrade's daughter, was abducted, raped, tortured and murdered in Ciudad Juárez. Norma Andrade's other daughter, Ms Malú García Andrade, President of NHRC, was the subject of a Front Line urgent appeal when her home was intentionally set on fire. She subsequently had to leave Ciudad Juárez for her own safety and that of her family.
According to reports, on 30 September 2011, Malú García Andrade received threatening phone calls from an unidentified caller who is reported to have said that the location of the human rights defender and her family had been discovered. A few days later, a close acquaintance of Malú García Andrade was physically assaulted, and the victim was instructed to tell the human rights defender that “le daban doce horas para abandonar la ciudad o de lo contrario asesinarían a sus familiares” (they were giving her 12 hours to leave the city or else they would kill her family members). When reporting these events to the federal and state authorities, Malú García Andrade asked for increased protection for her mother due to the threats that they both faced.
Front Line believes that the shooting of Norma Andrade is directly related to her legitimate work in the defence of human rights, particularly her struggle against femicide in the State of Chihuahua. Front Line remains deeply concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in the state of Chihuahua. Front Line believes that the Mexican authorities must show their commitment in the fight against impunity and ensure that the alarming pattern of femicides in the State of Chihuahua, and particularly in Ciudad Juárez, comes to an end and that those working to promote and protect the rights of women and girls are protected.