GFW Statement on the Murder of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz

The Global Fund for Women strongly condemns the murder of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, a well-known women’s human rights defender in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico on December 18, 2010. Marisela was gunned down in front of the state government offices in Chihuahua City, as she protested and demanded justice for her murdered daughter Rubi Marisol Frayre Escobedo.

Marisela became an active human rights defender after the murder of her daughter Rubi in August 2008. Her killer Sergio Barraza Bocanegra, who was also her common-law partner, confessed the crime but was acquitted earlier this year for lack of evidence by a panel of judges. Subsequently, an appeal court found Barraza guilty and sentenced him to 50 years of prison. However, the confessed criminal had long fled Ciudad Juarez. Marisela started her struggles for justice on behalf of her murdered daughter and other thousands of women who have been killed in Ciudad Juarez over the past two decades, and whose cases are not been solved by justice authorities given the culture of impunity and corruption in the state of Chihuahua.

The Global Fund for Women maintains close collaboration with brave women in Mexico who, like Marisela Escobedo, have intensely worked to demand justice for the thousands of women murdered, denouncing the authorities as accomplices and negligent of femicides in Ciudad Juarez. We have been witnesses to their struggle to rebuild their communities and to protect human rights, and we have recognized these efforts through the mobilization of financial resources in support of their activities promoting a woman’s right to live without violence.

We urgently call upon the authorities of Mexico and the State of Chihuahua to fully investigate the murder of Marisela Escobeda and bring the responsible of this atrocity to justice, as well as to protect the human rights of Marisela’s families and all the women who work to denounce violence against women in the state of Chihuahua, offering the protection necessary to safeguard their lives and physical integrity. We demand from the authorities action to prevent future acts of violence that attempt against women’s human rights defenders in Mexico.

The Global Fund for Women continues to stand in solidarity with women’s groups in Mexico, and particularly in Ciudad Juarez in their cause and to support their efforts to defend the human rights of women and girls.

Erika Guevara Rosas
Regional Director, Americas