Jésus Manuel Grijalva Mejia, Mayen Arellanes Cano, Lawyers

Re: Jésus Manuel Grijalva Mejia, Mayen Arellanes Cano, Lawyers

To: Lic. Francisco Ramirez Acuña, Lic. Ulises Ruis Ortiz, Lic. Evenico Nicolás Martínez Ramírez

From: Monique Pongracic-Speier

Date: 2007-06-22

I write to express LRWC’s serious concern about the safety of lawyers Jésus Manuel Grijalva Mejia and Mayen Arellanes Cano who have recently been subject to harassment, and, in the case of Mr. Grijalva, death threats.

Mr. Grijalva and Ms. Arellanes both work in association with the Comité de Liberación 25 de Noviembre (the “Comité”).

On June 14, 2007, Mr. Grijalva received a call on his mobile phone from a man who said, “ya te tengo ubicado” and “ora si te voy a matar porque no entiendes hijo la chingada”. Mr. Grijalva recognized the voice as belonging to a person who had threatened him for four consecutive days at the beginning of April 2007. Mr. Grijalva was able to ascertain that the phone call on June 14th had been made from Mexico City.

Further, on April 14, 2007, Mr. Grijalva was harassed while examining the scene where José Jiménez Colmenares died in 2006. While checking facts against judicial case file documents at the site, Mr. Grijalva was approached by eight men who wore black uniforms and travelled in a black van without number plates. One of the men asked questions about the file Mr. Grijalva was carrying. Another man communicated the position of his group over a radio. The group left when passers-by began to gather around the area. Neither the mens’ uniforms nor their vehicle bore the insignia of an identifiable police group.

On May 28, 2007, Ms. Arellanes was verbally abused by a group of young men outside of Oaxaca University. Though the men were unknown to Ms. Arellanes, they seem to know who she was and that she was associated with the Comité. The same day, Ms. Arellanes was harassed by a group of men in a vehicle without numbered plates, as she walked home. Earlier in the month, on May 1, 2007, Ms. Arellanes observed her home being watched by men in a car with tinted windows.

LRWC is deeply concerned about the safety of Mr. Grijalva and Ms. Arellanes. The nature and context of the explicit and implicit threats against them raises real concern that these individuals have been targeted for intimidation due to their work as lawyers and human rights defenders. We urge you to cause a thorough and impartial investigation to be brought in relation to the threats and harassment described above.

LRWC respectfully reminds you that national and international law places duties on Mexico and all of its constituent states to ensure the safety and independence of lawyers and human rights defenders. 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 in the country.

LRWC is also mindful of the international community’s political commitment to protecting the vital role of human rights defenders and lawyers, wherever they may live or work. This commitment is embodied in instruments such as 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 United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power (adopted by General Assembly Resolution 40/34, 29 November 1985) and the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the Eighth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (adopted at Havana, 27 August to 7 September 1990). Mexico is a valued member of the international community of nations. We urge the Governments of Mexico and Oaxaca to respond to the harassment of Mr. Grijalva and Ms. Arellanes in a manner consistent with the principles expressed in the instruments named here.

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.