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Mexican women human rights defenders visit Ottawa to call for rights action on eve of North American Leaders Summit

    June 20, 2016

    Days before the state visit to Canada of Mexico’s President and the North American Leaders Summit, four courageous women human rights defenders from Mexico are visiting Ottawa with a compelling message: it’s time to break the silence and take meaningful action to confront an acute human rights crisis in Mexico.

    The women are in Ottawa from June 21 to 23. They will hold a press conference on June 23 to make public devastating personal experiences they are sharing with Canadian government officials, MPs, Senators and members of civil society organizations, as well as the actions needed to stop the explosion of human rights violations in Mexico.

    A press conference will take place on Thursday June 23 at 10:30 AM

    in the Charles Lynch Press Room, Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa


    • Claudia Medina is a survivor of torture and gender violence at the hands of state security forces, and a leader of a courageous campaign called Breaking the Silence.
    • Brenda Rangel has been searching for her brother Hector since he “disappeared” in 2009 and co-founded Desaparecidos Justicia to support other families of the disappeared.
    • Marta Sánchez is the coordinator of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement and works closely with mothers from Central America whose children suffered grave abuses in Mexico.
    • Pilar Arrese supports victims of gender violence and violations of Indigenous rights as an advocate with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre.
    • Alex Neve is Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada and co-organizer of the delegation’s visit to Ottawa, with Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Latin American Studies Program of Carleton University

    To arrange interviews or obtain more information, contact:

    Beth Berton-Hunter:; 416-904-7158 (cell)

    Rachel Vincent:; 613-276-9030 (cell)  


    Reports of grave human rights violations in Mexico have increased in the past 10 years. They include more than 10,000 intentional killings, 27,000 people reported missing or disappeared, widespread use of torture and sexual assault by state security forces, threats and attacks on human rights defenders and journalists, extrajudicial executions and the discovery of mass graves. In the vast majority of cases, Mexican authorities have failed to investigate with due diligence and bring the perpetrators to justice.