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A Call to Indigenous Womens Organizations to Stop Violence Against Triquis Women

Posted on: Thursday, July 30, 2009

Keywords: Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean, Combating Violence Against Women, Indigenous Rights

From MADRE's partner organization, the International Indigenous Women's Forum (IIWF/FIMI).

On July 5, 2007, sisters Virginia and Daniela Ortiz Ramirez, residents of a Triqui town located in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, were seen for the last time. Two years later, their case remains unresolved despite numerous legal complaints filed by both the national and international community. During this time, the family members of the Ortiz Ramirez sisters have suffered under the government of Oaxaca: received poor treatment, delayed legal actions, and ultimately, the case was dismissed even though the Federal Congress and various other human rights institutions such as the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights, and the International Civil Commission for Human Rights called for its resolution.

This incident is not an isolated example; the violence against Triqui women has claimed many lives. For decades, Triqui women have been victims of kidnappings, threats, injuries, violations, assassinations, and other forms of violence. There are yet to be any attempts to afford them justice or to stop these acts that impinge on the ability of Indigenous women to exercise and enjoy their right to justice.

This violence provides a framework to better understand this historical conflict. The Triqui community has historically fought for the right of Indigenous peoples to self determination, especially after 1948, when the government revoked their territorial autonomy. As a result of the continued presence of military and the permanent attacks authorized by the state and other local political tyrants against community members, the Triqui peoples mobilized - but not together. These actions, which were carried out by the government deliberately generated an internal division in local society, which caused violent disputes and political infighting for leadership power and territorial control.

We know that the solution is not only in access to justice when all Triqui women have rights, but in these women's ability to access justice. This justice should be decided solely by the members of each Triqui community along with the process of eradicating the violence against these women. This should be done in a covert manner similar to other international human rights bodies Based on these ideas, we urge Indigenous womens organizations in Mexico and Latin America to:

  • Stop immediately all violence against Triqui women. We trust that the Triqui villages know how to protect their women and children against all forms of violence and dignify the role of women in relation to community development.
  • Bring to justice cases that have remained unresolved such as the case of the Ortiz Ramirez sisters, Teresa Bautista Merino, and Felicitas Martinez Si¡nchez, two Triqui spokespeople who were assassinated last year, and all the pending or unresolved cases of Triqui women who have been violated. We demand that local and federal authorities uphold the law without generating more violence in this zone.
  • Protect the families of victims through the establishment of effective legal processes, methods, and bodies.
  • Inform us publicly of any advances that transpire in relation to the investigation of the whereabouts of Virginia and Daniela Ortiz Ramirez.

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