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Friday, November 6, 2009

November 5, 2009

November 5th was filled with learning experiences from morning to night. The day’s work included meetings and interactions with individuals who risk their lives in the struggle for human rights and justice. Special Note: Due to the danger that these courageous men and women face each and every day because of their human rights work we are not printing their names.

Six grass roots representatives from five different Juárez neighborhoods:
Speaking on behalf of their neighborhood, these grass roots representatives shared the most recent violence experienced there. In addition, each shared one or more positive steps their neighborhood has taken to reduce this violence.

Two friends at a Juárez peace and justice center:
Our friends at the Justice and Peace Center offered their analysis of the violence in Juárez and the armed actors involved in that violence. Also, we were invited to walk their labyrinth and enjoy the peaceful space they have created in the midst of downtown Juarez.

An internationally recognized activist:
This renowned activist from Juárez shared her work regarding las muertas de Juárez the dead women of Juárez. She got involved in the work in 2001 because one of her seventeen year old students was found murdered and mutilated. Since then she has been working tirelessly to support the families of the slain women and girls, and she has been investigating the murders. For her good work she has received hundreds of death threats and must always be accompanied by bodyguards.

By way of background, since 1993, the bodies hundreds women and girls have been found in the desert outside Juárez, or in vacant lots and drainage ditches. All were raped and many mutilated. At the time of their violent deaths the victims were between 12-22 years in age.

Recommended Reading: Diana Washington Valdez, an investigative reporter for the El Paso Times, has covered the murders for three years. Her book Harvest of Women is recommended. Also recommended is a book entitled, The Daughters of Juarez by Teresa Rodriguez.

A human rights attorney:
Our team also interacted with an attorney who specializes in constitutional law, human rights law, and policing limitations. He is alarmed because there are violations of human rights. Also, he asserts that the Mexican constitution has been violated because the Mexican army has been given a policing role. Moreover, he maintains that legitimate police agencies in Juárez have been ineffective in their work due to a lack of coordination and organization.

November 4, 5, and 6 Reports and Headlines from a Juarez Newspaper called El Diaro:
On November 4 another the human rights attorney began his sharing with us by reporting that there were six homicides by 8:00 am on November 4th. Then he sadly predicted that there would be 13 to 15 homicides by day’s end… On November 5th the newspaper reported that 15 homicides [in Juárez] occurred on November 4, 2009.

The November 5th lead story was about the murder of four young men. At noon these men were lined up along a school fence and shot dead. Students were in the playground when this happened.

In the November 6th headlines of the El Diario Newspaper we read: “Half of the people from Juárez favor paramilitary groups-Citizens should be able to bear arms.”

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