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23 July 2018

Civil society organisation in nine cities in Europe and Mexico urge the immediate liberation of the human rights defender Damián Gallardo

Oaxaca, Mexico, Bruselas, Ginebra, Paris, Munich, Stuttgart
17 July 2018

In an international tour to launch Damián Gallardo’s book, more than 400 people and 33 organisations and collectives demonstrated their sympathy and solidarity with his case -- and demand justice. Front Line Defenders Deputy Director Andrea Rocca spoke at the Geneva launch. Photos from that event can be found here.

After 5 years of Damián Gallardo’s arbitrary detention, he went on a two-month international book tour to launch his book “Fragmentos de un Espejo Oculto. Palabras y gráficas desde la prisión política” (Fragments of a Hidden Mirror. Words and graphics from political prison). This was only possible because of the work of many family, friends, collectives and organisations who have supported Damián since his arbitrary detention.

Through prose, poetry, oil paintings, ink drawings and letters, the book brings together 5 years of reflection and writing; it paints a historic testimony of this chapter of Damián Gallardo’s life and resistance from a maximum security prison in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

The book was presented in: Barcelona (Spain), Berlin (Germany), Geneva (Switzerland), Brussels (Belgium), Munich (Germany), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and also in Mexico in Oaxaca, Mexico City and Guadalajara.

In addition to the 17 organisations that helped launch the book, another nine national and international organisations participated in the book tour’s events, including the national chapters of Peace Brigades International Switzerland, Germany and Belgium, Pacta Servanda in Munich, Taula per Méxic in Barcelona, Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (National Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights), Jóvenes Indígenas Urbanos en la Zona Metropolitana de Guadalajara (Urban Indigenous Youth in Guadalajara Metropolitan Area), Bloque Nacionalista Gallego e Intal Bélgica (Galician and Intal Nationalist Block - Belgium); among nine cultural spaces; (1) the human rights defender and political refugee Juan Sosa Maldonado, and the Mexican artist and singer Silvia Abalos who lives in Belgium.

Through the launch of the book in nine cities across Europe and Mexico, the human rights defender’s images and words were shared with more that 400 people. Carola Hausotter from the German Coordination of Human Rights in Mexico said: “From his indigenous cosmovision Ayuuk, Damián soothes our souls with his words; his book is a call to action within human rights”.

Yesica Sánchez stated in the book’s foreword: “Damián shares his kindness, love, confidence, admiration, resistance and gratitude for life, that as a militant for the social, popular and campesino struggle, stayed intact despite being in prison”.

The book has been launched and will continue to travel around the world, from hand to hand, as a call for hope and demand for justice. The human rights defender Ayuuk said “Damián Gallardo’s body remains in prison, but his ideas keep running free. Now they have learned how to walk other paths, continuing to plant seeds. Admirable man who does not give up, you still are an educator of consciences”. (2)

After 5 years of arbitrary detention, Damián Gallardo’s case is emblematic of the criminalization of social protest and serious violations that human rights defender suffer, particularly indigenous human rights defenders in Mexico.

His immediate liberation is essential.

Comité de Familiares, Amigas y Amigos de Damián Gallardo Martínez,
Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca A.C
Article 19 Oficina para México y Centroamérica
Coordinación Alemana por los Derechos Humanos en México
Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad A.C.,
Colectivo Liquidámbar,
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Francisco de Vitoria O.P. A.C.,
Comité Enrique Guerrero Aviña,
Front Line Defenders,
Grupo de Acción por los Derechos Humanos y la Justicia Social,
Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia
OMCT - Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura,
Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz A.C. (Serapaz),

For more information, please contact:

Front Line Defenders
Erin Kilbride

Comité Damián Gallardo Martínez
Yolanda Barranco Hernández
(045) 951 195 64 53

Consorcio Oaxaca
(044) 951 124 09 02

(1) el Kafe Marat en Munich, el Café Gavroche en Ginebra, La Maison à Bruxelles – LAMAB en Bruselas, La casa de la Solidaritat en Barcelona, el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, el Museo de la Historia de Tlalpan en la Ciudad de México, el Espacio Enocultural Vide, Vide! en Santiago de Compostela, la Librería Andenbuch en Berlín, Libertalia en Guadalajara

(2) Angélica Ambrosio, Damián Gallardo Martínez, la silenciosa ira del encarcelamiento injusto, 21 de mayo 2018. Disponible en: