Human rights lawyer Gustavo De La Rosa Hickerson is one of the few officials to publically recognise the substantial increase in human rights violations by the armed forces in Ciudad Juarez, Northern Mexico. Thousands of military have patrolled the streets of Ciudad Juarez since 2008 in an attempt to crack down on drug related violence. De La Rosa is a human rights lawyer for the Ciudad Juarez office of the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission (CEDH) and has received hundreds of complaints of alleged human rights abuses from torture to homicide.
On September 4 2009 his life was threatened; he believes the threat has come from the military. A man pulled up next to his car while he was stopped at a traffic light, made a shooting motion at him with his hand and told him “Quieten down or we are going to kill you” (Ya bajale porque te vamos a matar). De La Rosa asked the CEDH for protection but they refused, instead ordering him to stop receiving complaints of alleged human rights abuses by the military.
De La Rosa attempted to seek temporary safety in El Paso, USA but was detained when attempting to legally enter the USA by US Customs and Border Protection agents on October 15th. He was placed in the Department of Homeland Security’s detention facilities for six days after answering “yes” when the agents questioned him if he had any reason to fear for his life in Mexico. He was released on October 21st and says he intends to return to Mexico.
LRWC has written to the Governor of the State of Chihuahua and the President of the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission asking them to provide De La Rosa with the protection that he requires to continue his investigations and to fully and impartially investigate the incident.
LRWC letter written October 9 2009 by Cara E.I. Gibbons