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Mexico: A first step towards justice in the Triqui region of Oaxaca

    May 18, 2011

    Amnesty International sees as positive the action taken on 12 May to enforce the arrest warrant issued against Rufino Juárez Hernández, the leader of the group Unión de Bienestar Social de la Región Triqui (Ubisort), Union for the Social Well-being of the Triqui Region, who is accused of at least two murders committed in the community of San Juan Copala, municipality of Santiago Juxtlahuaca, during 2010.

    This arrest is the first significant step that has been taken following the investigations carried out to clarify the killing of several members of the Triqui community in the area. It is essential that further progress is made with these efforts and that the accused enjoy full due process guarantees so that their responsibility can be established by means of a fair trial.

    Amnesty International hopes that this action by the Office of the State Attorney-General marks the beginning of action to dismantle the illegal armed groups operating in the region and to end the impunity that has left a climate of anxiety in which the population has been subjected to attacks and harassment.

    The organization hopes that this judicial action is the prelude to making progress in clarifying the killing of human rights defenders Alberta “Bety” Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola on 27 April 2010 as well as the alleged links between the municipal and state authorities and illegal armed groups such as Ubisort.

    The state and federal authorities must guarantee that judicial investigations and proceedings respect human rights and ensure access to justice for the victims as well as the provision of compensation. It is equally important that the physical safety of the accused, witnesses and relatives of the victims is assured.

    If the serious problems that exist in the Triqui region are to be resolved, it is imperative that the authorities end impunity and ensure that human rights are fully respected and protected.

    Beth Berton-Hunter,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    416-363-9933, ext. 332