On July 28th, the Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity A.C (Oaxaca Consortium) organized the online Conversation “Towards Reparations for Human Rights Defenders, Victims of Human Rights Violations in Oaxaca.” This event was held within the framework of the demand for justice, truth and reparation in the case of Damian Gallardo Martinez, indigenous human rights defender, survivor of arbitrary detention and torture, who was imprisoned from May 18th, 2013 to December 28th, 2018 .
Members of national and international organizations with experiences in similar cases participated in the event. Miguel Martin Zumalacarregui, director of the World Organization Against Torture (WOAT) stressed that the comprehensive reparation of the damage for all victims should be a priority in Mexico, particularly for defenders, due to the fundamental role they play. He expressed his concern about the patterns of systematic attacks against human rights defenders in the country and particularly in Oaxaca, which often remain in impunity.
For his part, Juan Carlos Gutierrez, director of IDHEAS Strategic Litigation in Human Rights A.C. shared the experience of his organization in the implementation of strategies to advance towards comprehensive reparation by resorting to international bodies. He stressed that one of the obstacles to date is that having favorable international resolutions does not necessarily translate into effective reparations. He underlined the existence of strong resistance and lack of political will, especially at the state level.
Later, Melissa Zamora, lawyer from the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, noted “through three emblematic cases, the scope and obstacles to comprehensive reparation; at international level, with the case of the Women of Atenco, who have a ruling from the Inter-American Court; and at the national level with the case of the judgment of an Administrative Court ruling on the case of the Otomi indigenous women Jacinta Francisco, Alberta Alcántara and Teresa Gonzalez and with the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission on the case of Mónica Esparza”, Consorcio Oaxaca summarized in a newsletter about the event.
In turn, Sandra Alarcon, a lawyer at the Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center in Guerrero, pointed out the tortuousness and complexity of the reparations processes, exemplifying her comment with cases that her organization has accompanied, such as that of Valentina Rosendo Cantu and Ines Fernandez Ortega and CECOP (Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam).
Valeria Moscoso Urzua of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights emphasized “the urgency of including the psychosocial approach in comprehensive reparation, putting victims and the differentiated impacts they suffer at the center, impacts that are not only located at an individual level but also at a family, collective and community level.” She stressed that not doing so has contributed to the distrust of the victims and of society as a whole towards the Mexican justice system.
Finally, Damian Gallardo Martinez, “who was unjustly imprisoned in a high-security prison for five years and seven months and released with an acquittal shared his experience in the process of demanding justice, truth and reparation and encouraged other victims to continue with their work and demands, highlighting the importance of collective action and of resorting to international organizations to advance towards comprehensive reparation,” said the Oaxaca Consortium.
To end, the speakers made a series of recommendations to the Mexican State, Autonomous Bodies and International Organizations, including the need to “implement coordinated follow-up mechanisms for all resolutions, both national and international, guaranteeing the participation of civil society and victims in this process.”
For more information in Spanish:
Organizaciones internacionales y nacionales comparten experiencias y retos en materia de reparación integral del daño en México por violaciones a DH (Consorcio Oaxaca, 29 de julio de 2020)
Video del evento disponible en: https://www.facebook.com/consorcio.oaxaca/videos/339452097073657
For more information from SIPAZ:
Oaxaca/International: Oaxaca Consortium Presents Damian Gallardo Case to UN Committee against Torture (CAT) (May 26, 2019)
Nacional/Oaxaca: German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico (April 10, 2017)
Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damian Gallardo (December 30, 2014)