Urgent Interventions

Mexico: Forced disappearance /Harassment


MEX 008 / 0007 / OBS 071
Forced disappearance /Harassment
13th July 2000

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the FIDH and the OMCT, requests your urgent intervention concerning the following situation in Mexico.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory is gravely concerned at the persistence of attacks, threats and other forms of harassment against human rights defenders in Mexico, and particularly for the life and safety of Mr Plácido Camargo Ruíz, professor of primary education and an activist, member of the X section of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), and Ms Eufracia Altamirano Hernández, a well-known activist, member of the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México.(AFADEM).

The Observatory has been informed of the forced disappearance of Mr Plácido Camargo Ruíz, since the 16th of June 2000 in Mexico D.F. and according to the AFADEM and section IX of SNTE (Mexico D.F.) this occurred when Mr Camargo Ruíz was going to work. Up to now his whereabouts remain unknown in spite of an intense search in hospitals and prisons by friends and family members who moreover lodged a complaint on June 19th at the Centre for Support of Displaced or Absent Persons – CAPEA - of the General Justice Department of the Federal Department of Justice (the complaint was registered under the number: report 191).

Section IX of SNTE considers that the disappearance of Mr Camargo Ruíz could be attributable to a paramilitary group or agents of the Federal Judicial Police, as a reprisal for their activities during the teachers' strike between May and June 2000.They also maintain that other teachers, including Victor Pineda Enestrosa, Gregorio Alfonso Alvarado López and Modesto Patolzin M, have been detained as "disappeared" for political reasons without the authorities having revealed their whereabouts.

The Observatory has also been informed concerning the threats and harassment against Eufracia Altamirano Hernández, a member of the AFADEM branch in Atoyac de Alvarez, state of Guerrero. According to AFADEM the situation, which includes an unexplainable fire, on July 1st of part of her home, is motivated by her activities on behalf of human rights in the region of Tierra Caliente, Guerrero. These activities consisted especially of a struggle against impunity for violation of human rights, particularly forced disappearance, and the disclosing and teaching of human rights.

Action requested:

Write to the Mexican authorities urging them to:

i. adopt urgent and effective measures in order to determine the whereabouts of Mr Plácido Camargo Ruíz, guarantee his personal safety in all circumstances and order his immediate release or bring him before a competent, ordinary tribunal which will examine the case against him, if such a case exists, in accordance with the rules and guarantees of due process;

ii. take appropriate measures of protection in favour of Ms Eufracia Altamirano Hernández and guarantee her personal freedom, as well as her right to free exercise of her activities in favour of human rights;

iii. carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the facts mentioned above in order to clarify them, to determine those materially and intellectually responsible and impose upon them the sanctions provided by law;

iv. ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the UN on December 9th 1998, in particular with reference to the right of every person "individually or in association with others to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels." (art. 1) as well as the duty of every State "to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure, adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration." (Art. 12.2);

v. in general bring their actions into conformity with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the international Pacts and Conventions ratified by Mexico.


Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Palacio Nacional, Col. Centro, 06067, Mexico, DF. Mexico Fax: (+ 52 5) 277 2376; (+ 52 5) 515 7180

Lic. Diodoro Carrasco Altamirano, Secretario de Gobernación, Bucareli 99 piso 1 CP 06699, Col Juarez, Mexico, DF, Mexico. Fax: (+ 52 5) 705 2171

Dr. Jorge Madrazo Cuellar, Procurador General de la República, Av. Paseo de la Reforma esq. Violeta, Mexico, DF CP 06300. Fax: (+ 52 5) 346 0906

Dr. Luis de la Barreda Solorzano, Presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal, Av. Chapultepec No. 49, Col. Centro, Delegación Cuauhtemoc, CP 06740. Fax: (+ 52 5) 578 2578

Dr. Luis Soberanes Fernandez, Presidente de la CNDH, Periferico Sur 3469, Cl. San Jerónimo Lidice. 10200, Mexico, DF. Mexico. Fax: (+ 52 5) 6818490 E-mail :

In the case of Ms Altamirano Hernández, please write also to:

Lic. Javier Vega Memije, Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Guerrero, Carretera Mexico-Acapulco Km. 6+300, Chilpancingo, Gerrero, Mexico C.P. 36000. Fax: (+ 52 - 1-74) 22 328

Lic. Juan Alarcon Hernandez, Presidente de la CEDH de Guerrero, Av. Juarez. Esq. Galo Soberon y Parra, centro Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico. CP 03900. Fax: (+ 52 - 1-74) 712 190
E-mail :

Geneva – Paris, 13 July 2000-07-14

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Fax :33(0)1 55 80 83 92 - Tel FIDH 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 OMCT (+ 41-22) 809 49 39
E-mail :
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