Protect Human Rights Workers in Mexico

crime scene textexin

Target: Homero Ramos Gloria, Attorney General of Coahuila State

Goal: Immediately enact measures to protect workers at a human rights center and investigate a recent suspicious break-in there

A recent break-in at Juan Gerardi Human Rights Center in Torreón, Coahuila State, Mexico, has left workers and aid recipients vulnerable to further harassment, threats, and harm. Sign the petition and demand that authorities in Coahuila State immediately offer protection to workers at the center and launch a full investigation into the break-in.

Torreón is one of the most violent cities in Mexico. Drug cartels, the military, and the police all have a strong presence in the city, and as a result its residents are subject to “scores of killings, abductions, detentions and raids,” says Amnesty International. Amnesty adds that that people affected by the violence have “virtually no one to turn to.”

The Juan Gerardi Human Rights Center maintains strong ties to the Catholic community in Torreón and offers city residents a resource for coping with and combating the violence that permeates their lives. A recent break-in at the center, however, would suggest that the organization has made many enemies. Staff members do not believe the motive was a simple robbery; two computers containing sensitive files were taken, while a printer, stereo, and brand-new computer were left undisturbed. Drawers of confidential files also appeared to have been “rifled through,” and other sensitive documents, including “photographs of migrants, scanned deportations documents, and scanned personal data of staff at the center” were missing.

The Juan Gerardi Human Rights Center was also raided in February 2012. A military investigation of that incident was abruptly closed when the military refused to acknowledge the involvement of military personnel in the raid.

The center has filed a complaint with the Coahuila State Attorney General following this most recent break-in. Do not let the center be denied justice once again. Help achieve justice for those who tirelessly seek it for others–sign the petition and demand that the Attorney General offer protection to center workers and launch an immediate, unbiased investigation into the break-in at the center.


Dear Attorney General,

The city of Torreón is beset by violence from a myriad of sources–drug cartels, military, police. Residents are plagued by “scores of killings, abductions, detentions and raids,” Amnesty International reports. In this bleak atmosphere, the Juan Gerardi Human Rights Center offers hope. However, the center has recently been the target of a break-in, an act of intimidation that has left the center and its workers vulnerable to further violence. I urge you to provide staff at the center with protection in accordance with their wishes, and to launch a full, impartial, and immediate investigation into the break-in at the center.

The break-in does not appear to be a simple robbery. Two computers were taken, but a stereo, printer, and brand-new computer were left untouched. The two missing computers contained confidential case information. Hard copies of confidential material were also missing, and other private files appeared to have been disturbed. It is clear that the motive behind the break-in was to intimidate staff and collect information to aid in future reprisals against the center, its workers, and those who receive aid.

Human rights workers have the right to carry out their legitimate operations without fear of violence or reprisal, and the people of Torreón need a place where they can obtain help without fear of incurring further violence. I therefore demand a full investigation into the break-in at Juan Gerardi Human Rights Center, and I also demand protection for workers whose safety has been jeopardized by this crime.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Tex Texin via Flickr

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