Front Line Defenders
Defending human rights in Mexico
Damián Gallardo Martínez, an Ayuuk indigenous human rights defender and teacher from Oaxaca state in Mexico, has been arbitrarily detained for more than three years.
He was violently arrested in May 2013 without a warrant and held incommunicado for 30 hours. He was tortured and forced to sign a false confession. He wasn’t informed about the charges he was facing and during several days following his arrest he was not allowed to communicate with his lawyer.
During the detention he has been subjected to various acts of torture and ill treatment. He has been denied adequate medical and psychological diagnosis and care, which has produced irreversible consequences on his health. The ongoing penal process he is facing could result in a sentence of 75 years of imprisonment.
In November 2014, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion holding the detention of Damián Gallardo Martínez to be arbitrary, and called for his immediate and unconditional release.
Damián Gallardo Martínez is a teacher who has worked to defend the rights of indigenous communities and the right to education in the Mixe and Zapoteca regions of the Oaxaca Hills. He has campaigned for educational reform in Mexico and was a member of the Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca – APPO (Popular Assembly of the Towns of Oaxaca) in 2006.
In nearly a decade of defending her community’s land and rivers from corporate destruction, Honduran woman Ms. Ana Mirian Romero has endured armed raids, physical assault, death threats, and personal defamation campaigns. On 10 June 2016, former President of Ireland, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, Mrs. Mary Robinson, presented Ana Mirian with the 2016 Front Line Defenders Award.