Protect Human Rights Defender from Death Threats


Target: Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Minister of the Interior

Goal: Strengthen protection measures in place for human rights defender

Silvia Pérez Yescas is a defender of the rights of indigenous peoples in Mexico–and her life is in danger. Sign the petition demanding her protection, and urge authorities to take steps to tighten the regulations governing the protection of human rights defenders.

Silvia Pérez was preparing to return to her own community of Matías Romero in Oaxaca state when she received credible information that there were threats against her life. According to the report she received, there was a 100,000 peso (about $7700 US) reward in place for any gunman who shot and killed her upon her return to her hometown. She reported the threat to the authorities, but they refuse to begin an investigation until witnesses come forward to make a formal statement, a step which is unlikely to happen out of fear of reprisals.

This is unfortunately not the first threat against Pérez, nor is it the first time the government has failed to properly investigate her complaints. Some of the previous threats did result in Pérez being granted surveillance equipment for her home, but she is unable to afford the electrical costs associated with running the equipment. She was also granted an all-terrain vehicle to facilitate her human rights work, but she has yet to be given it.

Silvia Pérez is in grave danger and the Mexican government is not taking the threats against her life seriously enough. Sign the petition and demand that the government stand by its human rights defenders, starting with Silvia Pérez.


Dear Minister,

I am writing to express my deep concern for the well-being of Silvia Pérez Yescas, a defender of indigenous rights in Oaxaca state. Her life is in danger and no serious efforts have been made to investigate the threats against her. I demand protection for Silvia Pérez and I urge you to address the loopholes in regulations meant to protect human rights defenders.

Pérez has been informed by a credible report that there is a price of 100,000 pesos on her head if she returns to her hometown of Matías Romero. She has reported the threat to the authorities, but they have refused to investigate without a formal statement from witnesses. Meanwhile, Pérez’s life hangs in the balance.

This is not the first time Silvia Pérez has been in grave danger; previous threats against her resulted in her being granted surveillance equipment for her home and an all-terrain vehicle to aid in her human rights work. However, she is unable to afford the electricity costs associated with running the equipment, and the ATV has yet to be provided to her. The Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists is currently reviewing Pérez’s case, but there are doubts among human rights defenders that anything will come of the review; Amnesty International reports that the Mechanism “lacks trained staff, resources and the high level political support necessary to ensure that its protection measures are implemented by the authorities at all levels.”

Any further delay could mean a death sentence for Silvia Pérez. I urge you to act immediately to ensure her protection and to work diligently to close the loopholes in the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Alex Covarrubias via Wikipedia Commons

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