Guastavo Jimenez Perez & Luis Gabriel Ramirez Cuevas & members of Alianza Civica-Chiapas

Re: Guastavo Jimenez Perez & Luis Gabriel Ramirez Cuevas & members of Alianza Civica-Chiapas

To: Governor Pablo Salazar Mendiguichia, Attorney General de Justicia del Estado de Chiapas & Mr. Minister Ricardo Sepulveda

From: Monique Pongracic-Speier

Date: 2005-12-01

I write to express LRWC’s serious concern about the safety of the two above-named individuals and others connected with Alianza Cívica-Chiapas.

LRWC understands that Mr. Jiménez was attacked and severely beaten in his home in Chiapas on or about November 20, 2005 at approximately 9:30 pm. The alleged attackers were six men, who pushed their way into the house. We understand that they cut Mr. Jiménez’s face and neck with knives, kicked him in the head, otherwise beat him severely and told him «venimos a matarte». After saying «vámonos, ya está muerto», the attackers stole the household television and VCR and a backpack containing valuables. They then left.

Mr. Ramírez, Mr. Jiménez’s house mate, found Mr. Jiménez near unconsciousness at approximately 10:00 pm on the night of the attack.

LRWC is concerned that the attack and burglary are not ordinary crimes, but retribution for Mr. Jiménez’s and/or Mr. Ramírez’s work with Alianza Cívica-Chiapas:

  • both men, and the organization they are part of, have raised allegations of official corruption in the distribution of humanitarian relief after Hurricane Stan;
  • the attackers’ words to Mr. Jiménez are consistent with a targeted attack;
  • journalist Enrique Zamora, director of the newspaper El Orbe, was detained by police in October 2005 on libel allegations, after his newspaper repeatedly alleged corruption in the response to Hurricane Stan; and
  • two days after the attack on Mr. Jiménez, Mr. Jiménez’s and Mr. Ramírez’s house was again entered by an intruder, who apparently searched the place thoroughly, but took nothing.

These factors raise concern that the events of November 20th and 22nd are possibly part of a pattern of harassment against critics of the government’s response to Hurricane Stan. As such, they would not be ordinary crimes, but human rights abuses.

LRWC understands that Mssrs. Jiménez and Mr. Ramírez have filed a complaint with the Fiscalía General de Justicia del Estado. LRWC urges you to promptly pursue this complaint and conduct a full and impartial investigation into the attack on Mr. Jiménez and the subsequent break and enter of his home. We further urge you to make the findings of such investigation public and to prosecute those responsible.

LRWC also fears that Mssrs. Jiménez and Mr. Ramírez may continue to be at risk of further attack. We urge you to take appropriate measures to protect these men, in accordance with their wishes.

In relation to the foregoing requests, I respectfully remind you that national and international law places twin duties on government actors in Mexico to (1) ensure the safety and independence of human rights defenders (among whose ranks we count the persons noted in this letter), and (2) 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 also draws to your attention the expectations for treatment of human rights defenders articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998) (the “Declaration”). The Declaration expresses the international community’s consensus that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without restriction or fear of reprisal. We urge you to act in accordance with the values expressed in the Declaration.

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.