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Front Line Defenders

Defending human rights in Mexico

Event with Mexican HRDs (Bruxelles)

On Tuesday 20 September, a delegation of Mexican human rights defenders will be in Bruxelles to speak about the human rights situation in the country and the high risks that HRDs face.

From August 2014 to December 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued five official opinions to the Mexican government, relating to the cases of five HRDs. Damián Gallardo Martínez, Pedro Celestino Canché Herrera, Librado Jacinto Baños Rodríguez, Enrique Guerrero Aviña and Nestora Salgado García were arbitrarily arrested and detained for crimes they did not commit, each in a separate case. All of them were subjected to torture or ill-treatment while in detention.

Speakers: Yesica Sánchez and Emilie de Wolf (Deputy Director and Protection Coordinator at Consorcio Oaxaca); Yolanda Barranco Hernández (Damian Gallardo's wife); Manuel Guerrero Aviñón (Enrique Guerrero's brother); Miguel Martín Zumalacárregui (director OMCT in Bruxelles).

Where: Maison de l’Amérique Latine (Bruxelles) Rue du Collège 27,   

When: Tuesday 20 September, 17h45

Damian Gallardo

Damian GallardoDamián 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.

Damián was originally arbitrarily detained on 18 May 2013. No warrant was presented. The human rights defender was subsequently held incommunicado for 30 hours and reportedly tortured until he signed a false confession. 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.

Read more about Damián's case

Oaxaca Protest
Blog
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By Lorena Cotza

Yolanda Barranco Hernández will never forget the morning of 18 May 2013. It started with a loud noise. Seven men carrying heavy weapons broke down the door of her house. They were looking for her husband, Damián Gallardo Martínez. They didn't present any warrant. They said they were there to arrest him and they took him away.

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In light of unprecedented attacks on human rights defenders, Andrew Anderson of Front Line Defenders argues for increased direct support to human rights defenders working at the local and national levels, flexibility in funding, and a greater focus on core, multi-year support.

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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.

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Dispatches 2015 highlights the challenges facing Front Line Defenders in providing fast and effective support to human rights defenders around the world, as the space in which HRDs can work safely continues to shrink.

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In April 2015 Front Line Defenders and Verso Books published La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico - the first book in a series of nonfiction graphic novels. La Lucha features the real life stories of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in northern Mexico who confront lethal challenges in order to promote human rights, justice and accountability.

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