Target: Eruviel Ávila Villegas, Governor of Mexico State
Goal: Demand that the Mexican government address–through means of both state protection and formal investigations–incidences of violence and intimidation aimed at human rights activists
Five human rights activists in Coyotepec, Mexico state, recently requested state protection after receiving threats related to their work. The state’s response was less than adequate, leading to the non-fatal stabbing of one of the activists. Sign the petition and demand that the Mexican government both provide the activists with sufficient protection and launch a full investigation into the stabbing.
The five activists–Vicente Moreno Dominguez, Irma Luna Montoya, Ivonne González Cristóbal, Juan Cristóbal Martínez, and Felipe Rodríguez Díaz–have been engaged in a struggle against the municipal government, which wants to assume control over local water supplies. The activists fear that such a step “will result in the water being used for commercial purposes and reduce [residents’] access.” The group has staged a “long-running demonstration outside the town hall,” Amnesty International reports, and several members have been threatened “by armed men with apparent links to the municipal government.”
Alberto Cruz Luna, another activist, was fatally shot in July. His attacker allegedly worked for the municipal government. Days later, Vincente Moreno Dominguez answered his door and was stabbed by the people waiting on the other side, who told him that the attack was “a little gift…so you stop being an idiot.”
Despite the activists’ requests for protection, the federal Interior Ministry (which handles such requests) has only granted “‘intermittent’ federal police patrols.” These patrols, Amnesty points out, were not sufficient to prevent a bold attack on Vincente Moreno Dominguez. Sign the petition and demand that the state provide the activists protection in accordance with their wishes, and demand that the state launch a full investigation into the identities of Vincente Moreno Dominguez’s attackers, who still remain at large.
It is the responsibility of a good government to protect its citizens from harm. But what about when citizens are being threatened by their own government? To whom can they turn for help?
Such a situation is unfolding in Coyotepec. Activists and community members have long been protesting the municipal government’s attempts to take control of the local water supply. Opponents of the move fear that government control would favor commercial purposes and jeopardize residents’ right to freely access the water.
Six activists in particular–Vicente Moreno Dominguez, Irma Luna Montoya, Ivonne González Cristóbal, Juan Cristóbal Martínez, and Felipe Rodríguez Díaz–have been threatened or harassed by people they claim are connected to the municipal government. They applied to the federal Interior Ministry for aid, but were only granted what Amnesty International terms “‘intermittent’ federal police patrols.” The activists have expressed their belief that the Interior Ministry is not doing enough to protect them–a complaint backed up by the recent stabbing of Vincente Moreno Dominguez, who was attacked by three people at his own door. Where was the federal protection detail then?
Where the municipal government is failing, it is the job of the state government to step in and protect its citizens. I urge you to work with the six activists requesting protection and grant them safety measures in accordance with their wishes, and I demand that you spearhead an investigation into the attack on Vincente Moreno Dominguez.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Enrique López-Tamayo Biosca via Flickr