Urgent Interventions

Mexico: Theft of archives and equipment / Risks


MEX 009 / 0008/ OBS 080
Theft of archives and equipment / Risks
7th of August 2000

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

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Mexican League for Human Rights (LIMEDDH) of extremely disturbing events, the victim of which was Sra. Angélica Ayala Ortíz, coordinator of the LIMEDDH in Oaxaca, State of Oaxaca, and of the organization itself.

According to reports, at about 17 hours on August 3rd Sra Angélica Ayala Ortíz realized that unknown persons had illegally entered her house, searched the archives and desk and removed a laptop computer and six disquettes in use.

The LIMEDDH notes that while this could be interpreted as an ordinary robbery, it has certain peculiar aspects. The authors of the robbery removed only equipment and information concerning the work of the organization. Also, the robbery was perpetrated only a few days after an investigation was carried out in the penal establishments of Ixcotel and Elta, in order to assess the medical state of the indigenous zapoteco prisoners of the Loxichas region and just before the organization presented its annual report within the framework of the fourth anniversary of the LIMEDDH house in Oaxaca.

This fact, which was the subject of a complaint made to advocate Gregorio Mendoza of the Public Ministry and registered under the number 1453 (PME)/2000 means that a considerable amount of information was lost in addition to the fact that the economic impact is liable to hamper the operations of the organization.

Reports recall that this "Robbery" follows a long list of acts of intimidation, unfounded accusations, surveillance or tailing, belittling the activities of the organization and of its members, particularly the Vice-president, Angélica Ayala Ortíz, in the state of Oaxaca.

The Observatory notes that the facts referred to are part of a climate of threats, accusations, aggressions, attacks etc., against persons and organizations involved in the promotion and defence of human rights in Oaxaca. Such a situation increases the insecurity of human rights defenders and creates serious obstacles to the free exercise of their activities. Acts of this nature transgress international standards and principles, in particular the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9th 1998.

Action requested:

Write to the Federal and State authorities of Mexico urging them to:

i. adopt measures to guarantee the safety of Sra Angélica Ayala Ortíz and other members or collaborators of the LIMEDDH as well as the other organizations involved in the promotion and defence of human rights in the State of Oaxaca and the rest of the territory of Mexico;

ii. ensure the cessation of every kind of repression against these persons or organizations as well as the thorough investigation of any act aimed at their security, liberty or property in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply to them the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by the laws in force;

iii. act in accordance with the provisions of the Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals or groups and organs of society in promoting and protecting universally recognized human rights and fundamental liberties (declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9th 1998 and in particular article 1 of the declaration which provides that "Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights sand fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels." And article 12. 2 according to which "The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international and regional Pacts and Conventions ratified by Mexico.

iv. in general act in accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and of the regional and international covenants and conventions ratified by Mexico.


Lic. José Murat Casab, Gobernador del Estado de Oaxaca, Palacio de Gobierno, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca. Fax. (+ 52 951) 5 50 77 (+ 52 951) 6 37 37 E-mail:

Lic. Jorge Eduardo Franco Jiménez, Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Oaxaca. Fax: (+ 52 951) 15519

Dr. Evencio Nicolás Martínez, Presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del estado de Oaxaca, Calle de los Derechos Humanos 210, Col. América, CP. 68050. Tel y Fax: (+ 52 951) 3 51 85

Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Palacio Nacional, Patio de Honor, Piso 1, Col. Centro, 06067 México DF, Mexico. Fax (+ 525) 277 23 76 (+ 525) 395 67 90 (+ 525) 271 17 74

Dr. Jorge Madrazo Cuellar, Procurador General de la República, Avenida Reforma esquina Violeta, México, D.F., CP. 06300. Mexico. Fax: (+ 525) 626 44 26

Lic. Mireille Roccatti Velázquez, Presidenta de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH Periférico Sur 3469, Col. San Jerónimo Lidie, 10200, México, D.F. Mexico. Fax: (+ 525) 6 81 71 99 Email:

Mexican diplomatic representatives in your respective countries.

Geneva - Paris, 7 August 2000.

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

The Observatory, a joint 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.

To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency line, Tel FIDH 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 E.Mail :
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