This edition of our bimonthly Newsletter by EDUCA Oaxaca A.C. contains four articles on four different women in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Veracruz in southern and southwestern Mexico. The articles range from reports of threats against human rights defenders to International protection policies for women human rights defenders, and the promotion of gender equality through art and music. They aim to represent a variety of voices struggling to defend their rights as women and as human beings in a corrupt and unequal society.
New threats have been made against Silvia Pérez Yescas, an Indigenous human rights defender from the community of Matías Romero in Oaxaca, south-western Mexico. So far the protection measures granted to her by the authorities have been insufficient. Her life and safety remain at risk. On 13 January Silvia Pérez learned that members of her organization, Indigenous Women for the Conservation, Research and Use of Natural Resources (Mujeres Indígenas por Conservación, Investigación y Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales, CIARENA) were threatened by people claiming to have been sent by a local political chief (cacique) who told them, “Stop fucking around, because you could even be thrown in jail for being Silvia’s accomplices, she’s going to be fucked for meddling in the land problem and there are people waiting for her when she shows up”.
Mare Advertencia Lirika is a Zapotec Hip Hop artist from Oaxaca, Mexico whose music speaks out for the rights of indigenous women. Now 27, Lírikan began rapping at age 16, using her lyrics to challenge sexism in her own community and call out the Mexican state for its abysmal treatment of indigenous communities. In this Animal Politico interview, the self-identified feminist shares that “Rap helped to empower me as a woman. It gave me a tool, helped me to change, to find myself, find my identity, and to rebuild myself.” Lirika incorporates various musical styles — funk, reggae, rap, huapango — to create her sound, and her lyrics cover topics ranging from standards of beauty within the media, to the forced disappearances of women in Mexico to reproductive justice and bodily autonomy.
Further information on women’s movements and activism in Oaxaca, Mexico: Every other day a woman is killed in the state of Oaxaca, Consorcio Oaxaca completes 10 years working for a free life for women
On January 28th, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a report on the precautionary measures that have been requested for indigenous community police (or CRAC) leader Nestora Salgado, who currently requires medical attention while being deprived of her liberty at a maximum security prison in Nayarit, Mexico. She was arrested by police and military units on August 21st, 2013, and charged with aggravated kidnapping and organized crime. Besides precautionary measures demanded to protect Salgado’s rights to life and personal integrity, the original request to the IACHR also denounced violations of her rights to due process, presumption of innocence and access to appropriate legal defense.
Read more: Guerrero Government Breaks Promise to Release Nestora Salgado in 2014, State Prosecutor Maintains Charges Against Nestora Salgado; InterAmerican Human Rights Commission Orders Her Protection
Claudia Medina Tamariz, who survived 36 hours of physical, psychological and sexual torture in her home in Veracruz, Mexico, by members of the Mexican Marine (SEMAR), and has been released on bail, remains on trial for allegations of illegal firearms possession. Bearing in mind that the sole source of evidence for the indictment came from SEMAR itself, Claudia Medina was not granted her freedom by the Third Federal District Judge, based in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, in her December 2014 trial. Her defense condemned this act, maintaining that Claudia Medina was tortured in order to falsely confess her guilt of the crime. Within the next few days, Arturo Gómez Ochoa, judge of the Third Unitary Tribunal of Xalapa, Veracruz, will have the chance to grant Claudia her immediate freedom. It is now up to Gómez Ochoa, to resolve the appeal against the judge’s decision.
On 4 February, members of organizations that work in favor of the human rights of women, such as Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, submitted to the state congress a legislative agenda that would permit the development of gender equity. This agenda consists of a package of initiatives that would modify the penal and civil codes and have impacts on the State Law of Access for Women to Lives Free of Violence. It would allow the prevention of violence against women, and it reaffirms the recommendations of the Commitee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Among the proposals is stressed the call to document obstetric and political violence, within the mandate of the State Law of Access for Women to Lives Free of Violence. The question of arrest-orders is also advanced in the agenda. With regard to the penal code, the proposal is to broaden the category of domestic violence and to increase punishment for offending males. Another component is to sanction those who refuse to provide child support.