Mexico City, Mexico – A huddle of tents is conspicuously positioned in front of the federal attorney general’s offices in Mexico City. The encampment, adorned with signs that declare “justice for Bety Carino and Jyri Jaakola” and “Hunger strike: Day 11”, marks as a visual anomaly in the trendy district of Zona Rosa.
Inside, six people on hunger strike are physically sustained by a meagre diet of water and honey. Emotionally, they are buoyed by a small army of local supporters who share their optimism of finally securing justice for their loved ones. Yesterday, day 16 of the hunger strike, the protest was brought to an end.
Human rights campaigners Alberta “Bety” Carino and Jyri Jaakkola were murdered on April 27, 2010 in the impoverished mountains of Oaxaca State. They were trying to deliver desperately needed supplies to a rural indigenous community blockaded by a paramilitary gang with alleged links to local government.
An investigation by the Oaxaca-based NGO EDUCA in 2012, recorded 120 violent attacks against human rights defenders in Oaxaca over 11 months, placing it in the top three most dangerous states. Miguel Angel Vasquez de la Rosa, from EDUCA, told Al Jazeera: “The situation is paradoxical as the new institutions and laws have failed to eradicate the abuses and grievances suffered by defenders. The case of Jyri and Betty shows how ineffective the institutions still are.”
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For further information see recent articles: Human rights defender Mr Omar Esparza Zárarte on hunger strike over impunity for the assassination of Bety Cariño, Public letter by civil society demands justice 4 Bety Cariño & Jyri Jaakkola, Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola