Guerrero: Andrea Eugenio Manuel, indigenous activist and sister to Obtilia, is threatened with death

In her complaint filed before the Public Ministry on 19 March, Andrea Eugenio Manuel explained that, on 17 March at approximately 4:30pm, while she awaited friends in front of a vegetable grocer “a stranger approached and began taking pictures.  [Manuel] demanded an explanation of him, but he responded by saying, ‘Soon, you’re going to get fucked over'” (La Jornada).

Andrea Eugenio Manuel has worked for years to defend the human rights of the Me’phaa people.  She has “served as translator […] in the cases of soldiers who raped Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosenda Cantú.  She has also accompanied indigenous women […] from Ayutla de los Libres in their public legal denunciations of units of the Mexican military that have harassed communities and violated their human rights.  Andrea also participated as translator in the denunciation and complaint process presented by 14 indigenous individuals from El Camalote, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, who were forcibly sterilized by personnel of the Health Ministry” (La Jornada).

This latest death-threat directed at Andrea took place 11 days after she denounced similar aggression against her sister Obtilia, president of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).  Recently, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which has been accompanying OPIM in its condemnations of human-rights violations, has also been subjected to harassment.  Both organizations have since April 2009 been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

Together with the Guerrero Network, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights and OPIM declare that “These increased death-threats and acts of harassment directed at human-rights defenders from Guerrero occur as a precursor to the hearing made by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in the case of Inés Fernández Ortega during her hearings in April […].  We are concerned that obscure interest-groups are attempting to silence victims and witnesses just before the hearing that will be realized in the next few days, and that the State is trying to evade having to engage in an exhaustive investigation that would allow for the identification and sanctioning of those responsible.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Obtilia’s sister, who has supported complaints made by indigenous women raped by soldiers, is menaced with death (press release by Tlachinollan, OPIM, and the Guerrero Network, 22 March)

OHCHR condemns harassment and death-threats that persist against defenders in Guerrero (press release by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 23 March)

Indigenous activist is threatened with death in Guerrero (La Jornada, 23 March)

Tlachinollan:  The sister of OPIM’s Obtilia Eugenio is threatened (La Jornada, 23 March)

The UN condemns harassment of indigenous defenders protected by the CIDH (Cronica de Hoy, 24 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero:  New Threats against Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, president of OPIM and witness in the Ines Fernandez Ortega vs. Mexico case (17 March)

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