Erica Serrano Farías, Lawyer, and Her Family; Noé Aguirre Orozco and his Family

Re: Erica Serrano Farías, Lawyer, and Her Family
Noé Aguirre Orozco and his Family

To: Lic. Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, Gobernador Electo del Estado de Guerrero and others

From: Monique Pongracic-Speier, LRWC Mexico Monitor

Date: 2006-06-20

On March 13, 2006, I wrote to then Governor-elect Torreblanca and Attorney General Murueta about certain threats, harassment and intimidation levied against lawyer Erica Serrano Farías and her family. The threats, harassment and intimidation were apparently related to Ms. Serrano’s representation of Red de Organizaciones Ambientalistas de Zihuatanejo (“ROGAZ”). ROGAZ opposes the construction of a tourist development, Marina Puerto Mío, in the Bay of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. To date, LRWC has not received a response to my letter of March 13, 2006.

It is disappointing that LRWC must now respond to a second case of threats to a ROGAZ member, Noé Aguirre Orozco.

LRWC is informed that, around mid-day on June 6, 2006, an anonymous caller telephoned to the family-run shop of Mr. Noé Aguirre Orozco and spoke to Mr. Aguirre’s father, Francisco Aguirre. The caller told Mr. Franciso Aguirre that Noé Aguirre was being watched and that his life was in danger. Mr. Francisco Aguirre responded that he knew who was making the threat. The caller reportedly then said, “ah! me amenazas, vas a ver como les va a ir”.

Later the same day, when Mr. Noé Aguirre arrived at the shop, he and his father noticed four men loitering suspiciously near the shop. After a short while, the men got into a pick-up truck and drove away. Approximately 10 minutes later, a man dressed in a police uniform was observed standing outside the door of the Aguirre family’s shop. He left, but returned about an hour later, carrying a sub-machine gun. He man allegedly pointed the sub-machine gun at Mssrs. Noé and Francisco Aguirre.

LRWC believes that the above-described harassment of Mssrs. Noé and Francisco Aguirre is related to Mr. Noé Aguirre’s work with ROGAZ. In the first week of June, Mr. Aguirre and Ms. Serrano held a meeting with former Bishop Samuel Ruiz, of Chiapas, concerning the Marina Puerto Mío development. LRWC understands that former Bishop Ruiz encouraged Aguirre and Serrano to continue to seek international support for the campaign against Marina Puerto Mío. An article about the meeting was published in a Guerrero newspaper. Further, in May, Mr. Aguirre publicly distributed information on the environmental situation in Zihuatanejo Bay at a demonstration.

LRWC understands that Noé Aguirre has filed a complaint regarding the events of June 6th with the Oficina de Ministerio Público in Zihuatanejo. We further understand that Mr. Aguirre’s case has been brought before the Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos en Guerrero, along with that of Ms. Serrano.

LRWC is deeply concerned that, like Ms. Serrano, Mr. Aguirre remains under threat.

LRWC respectfully reminds the State of Guerrero and the Government of Mexico of their legal obligations in the face of human rights abuses, such as the threats to Mr. Aguirre. National and international law places a duty on Mexican governments to investigate suspected human rights violations and provide effective remedies where those violations are proven. These duties flow from Mexico’s treaty obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among other instruments.

LRWC is mindful that Article 133 of the Mexican Constitution provides that international treaties ratified by Mexico prevail as the supreme law of the country.

LRWC urges the addressees to treat the threats against Mr. Aguirre, like those against Ms. Serrano, very seriously. We urge a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation of the events of June 6th. We further urge you to publish the investigation’s findings and to bring those responsible to justice. We also call upon the authorities to protect Mr. Aguirre and his family from intimidation and violence, in accordance with their own wishes.

In conclusion, kindly advise LRWC of the steps that you are taking in response to the matters raised in this letter. Your early written response is appreciated.