The parents of Jyri Jaakkola during a press-conference (@ La Jornada)
At the end of August arrived in Mexico Eeva and Raimo Jaakkola, parents of Jyri Jaakkola, the Finnish activist who was murdered on 27 April while participating in a civil mission of observation headed to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá in the Triqui region of the state of Oaxaca. Eeva and Raimo visited the country to demand the clarification of the death of their son and that of social activist Alberta Cariño as well as to “meet with the friends of Jyri,” according to Eeva.
According to media sources, Jyri’s parents met with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the governor-elect of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, though they rejected the possibility of having an audience with the actual governor of the state, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who has been said to have links with the group that has been claimed as responsible for the 27 April attack, the Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT). Eeva and Raimo had planned to visit the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá, but these plans were cancelled following an August 22 attack in the Triqui region in which three members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULT-I) were killed.
Jyri’s parents participated in a press-conference on 24 August in Distrito Federal, together with Alberto Herrera, executive director of Amnesty International Mexico; David Peña, from the National Association of Democratic Lawyers; and Omar Esparza Zárate, Bety’s husband. In their comments Jyri’s parents stressed that “[t]hose who defend the most marginalized groups are often the ones who face the greatest risks.” They called on Mexican authorities to “punish those responsible” for the 27 April attack, and they requested that President Calderón help them. With regard to the ongoing situation in the Triqui region, Eeva emphasized that “as mother to Jyri I feel a great sense of solidarity with the Triqui women who have lost their sons,” adding that “I am affected to know that what happened to my son and to Bety also has happened to many other human-rights defenders in Mexico.” This was taken up by Raimo, who expressed concern regarding the possibility that what happened to Jyri and Bety could also happen to other human-rights defenders.
Reflecting on the life and death of Jyri, Eeva said the following:
“We are proud of his manner of thinking and living–his understanding of solidarity was to share one’s life with its joys and sadness, but also with its risks. We want justice for him, but also for the people with whom he lived and worked. It is very important that the case of Jyri and Bety be resolved […]. We hope that the resolution of their murders represent a step toward the changing of the culture of impunity, and that it guarantee security for indigenous peoples and human-rights defenders.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Defending human rights in Mexico can cost one’s life: parents of Jaakkola (La Jornada, 24 August)
Parents of Finnish activist Jyri Jaakkola demand justice (La Jornada, 25 August)
Silent march of Triquis in Oaxaca demands justice for 3 victims of paramilitary group (La Jornada, 30 August)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April)
Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June)