Photo Blog: Mexico Defensoras Delegation

Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada’s Secetary-General, documents the Mexico Defensoras Delegation’s visit to Ottawa on the eve of the Three Amigos summit. They came with an urgent message for Prime Minister Trudeau, President Peña Nieto and President Obama: Don’t sweep Mexico’s grave human rights crisis under the carpet! 
The Mexico Defensoras Delegation are:
Claudia Medina Tamariz- Breaking the Silence about Sexual Torture, Rompiendo el Silencio
Brenda Rangel Ortiz – Justice for the Disappeared, Desaparecidos Justicia CA
Marta Sanchez – Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano
Pilar Arrese Alcaca – Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Centro Prodh


Chance encounter over breakfast offers these tremendous women human rights activists an opportunity to highlight concerns about Mexico’s human rights crisis with Foreign Minister Stephane Dion.
These dedicated and courageous women HRD’s from Mexico begin Canadian visit with powerful presentations to Canadian Senators about Mexico’s human rights crisis. 
These four women – who work unbelievably hard & courageously to defend human rights in Mexico – wrap up a day of passionate & forthright advocacy in Canada that ranged from breakfast encounters with the Foreign Minister, laying out their experiences with Senators and MPs, media interviews and, to wrap it up, this tremendous opportunity for a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (who just happened to be in town!). I end day one with nothing but the deepest admiration & respect.


How far is this from the frontline human rights struggle in Mexico? After a morning of powerful meetings with MP’s and Senators in Ottawa, followed by a special welcome in the Gallery of the Senate from Senator Mobina Jaffer; a moment in repose on the leather couch in the Senate foyer under the watchful gaze of Edward VII for the courageous & tenacious Mexican women’s HRD team of Claudia Medina, Brenda Ivonne Rangel O, Marta Sanchez Soler and Pilar Carolina Arrese Alcala.
All MP’s and Senators who have met with Brenda, Claudia, Marta and Pilar have talked of how much they have learned, how deeply they have been moved and how much awe & respect they feel for the courageous human rights work they pursue at the frontlines of struggle in Mexico. Powerful and productive meetings with MP’s Michael Levitt & Elizabeth May and Senators Jaffer, Cordy, Omidvar & Merchant this morning.

Marta Sanchez tells “Mexico: Courage & Crisis” audience that Mexico is world’s most dangerous country to be a migrant; and that it isn’t a migrant crisis it is a refugee crisis.
Brenda Ivonne Rangel O tells “Mexico: Courage & Crisis” audience that it is families and not the authorities who look for the disappeared in Mexico. “The war against drugs isn’t being waged against narco-traffickers; it is a war against civil society.”
At “Mexico: Courage & Crisis” Pilar Arrese shares chilling figures. The 27,000 estimate of # of disappeared in Mexico likely only 1/3 the real total. For every 1 military officer killed in “war on drugs”; 19 civilians are killed.
Claudia Medina tells “Mexico: Courage & Crisis” of surviving torture and her own personal struggle for justice. She was freed and acquitted only because she had support of nat’l and int’l organizations. Without that support there is no access to justice for Mexicans.
These 4 women shared their stories of front-line human rights struggle at “Mexico: Courage & Crisis”. Their voices need our voices in confronting torture, disappearances, migrant abuses, violence against women, attacks against human rights defenders … In working for rights & justice in Mexico, international solidarity makes a difference!


Press conference Canada’s Parliament by defensoras from Mexico: don’t sweep human rights under carpet during Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit.
Strong Mexican women of today meet strong Canadian women of the past.‪#‎FamosasCinco‬

Next week, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican Prime Minister Peῆa Nieto meet in Ottawa. Prime Minister Trudeau must press for action to confront torture, disappearances, abuses against migrants, and violence against women in Mexico.  And he must insist that the impunity that fuels these violations is brought to an end. 


Amnesty Press Release

Nobel Women’s Initiative – Twitter Recap