In May 2006, Mexican police responded with violence to protests in the San Salvador Atenco, killing two people, injuring many more, and indiscriminately detaining hundreds of town residents. More than 45 women were detained without explanation and dozens were subjected to physical, psychological and sexual violence by the police officers who arrested them.
Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams visited San Salvador Atenco in September 2009 and February 2010 and advocated justice for the women of Atenco and for the release of political prisoners as a result of the violent repression in 2006.
The international solidarity and activism made a difference. On June 30, 2010 Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice fully exonerated 12 community land rights activists, each of whom had previously been sentenced to between 31 and 112 years in prison for crimes allegedly committed during clashes with the government in 2006.
Still, the struggle continues. More than five years later, none of the officials responsible for their abuse have been held accountable. The women of Atenco are still waiting for the prosecution of the 34 named police officers.
A new Attorney General was recently appointed in Mexico. Now is the time to push for real justice and demand the federal government of Mexico protect the human rights of its citizens and put an end to the impunity. We can make a difference again for the women of Atenco.
Learn about the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s efforts to support the women of Atenco HERE.
Learn more about the women of Atenco in Amnesty USA’s report “Mexico: Torture and sexual violence against women detained in San Salvador Atenco – Two years of injustice and impunity.”