By Gabriela Ramírez
Mexico, May (SEMlac). - A total of 44 women, including activists and journalists, have been killed since 2010, according to the National Network of Human Rights Defenders.
The most recent case was that of Miriam Rodríguez, who was riddled with bullets in her home last May 10.
This situation has sparked a wide range of reactions among civil society and international organizations.
A Network representative said that Chihuahua is the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks on women defenders. In 2010, Josefina Reyes, Marisela Escobedo, María I. Cordero, María M. Reyes and Luisa Ornelas were killed.
In 2011, Susana Chávez was also killed. She had been reporting cases of missing women in Juarez and women's murders on the border. In 2017, Miroslava Breach got killed and Patricia Mayorga had to seek asylum in the United States.
In Guerrero, the list of women's murders includes María E. Hernández (2010), Isabel Ayala and Reyna Ayala (2011), Juventina Villa and Fabiola Osorio (2012), Rocío Mesino and Ana L. Gatica (2013), and Norma A. Bruno (2015).
"There other states where the number of women's murders has been increasing: Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Michoacán, Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, the state of Mexico and Mexico City," the Network representative stressed.
Marisela Escobedo was shot dead in Chihuahua on December 16, 2010, at the entrance to the Government Palace, after a sit-in to demand justice for her daughter, who was killed by her sexual partner Sergio R. Barraza.
He was first found not guilty, but was later sentenced to 50 years in prison. The truth is that he has not been taken to jail yet.
Sandra L. Hernández was murdered in Sinaloa on May 12, 2014. A man named Jesús F. Valenzuela shot her dead and was found not guilty a year later.
She had for two years looked for her son Edgar García, who had been kidnapped while working as a messenger for the Prosecutor-General's Office in the city.
Cornelia San Juan died in the state of Mexico on January 15, 2016. She had been looking for her son Oswaldo Espejel since 2012, when he was kidnapped. Cornelia's murderer was caught, but there has been no news about Oswaldo.
Emma G. Molina was killed on March 27, 2017. She had sought to find her three children who had been kidnapped by their own father Alberto Medina, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in Tabasco. Two men slit her throat at the entrance door to her house. Her mother Ligia Canto has decided to take action and demand justice.
Miriam Rodríguez was shot dead in her house last May 10. She had tried to find her daughter Karen Alejandra, who had gone missing in 2012. She found her remains in a common grave and managed to put her murderers in jail. She was a founding member of Colectivo Desaparecidos de Tamaulipas (an organization for missing people in Tamaulipas).
A report of the National Human Rights Commission indicated that a total of 29,903 people had gone missing between 2007 and 2013.
A total of 855 illegal graves had been discovered in this period, the report added.
Around 82 per cent of the cases of disappearances have been seen in 11 states, mainly in Tamaulipas (5,563 cases) and the state of Mexico (2,984 cases).
The New York Times recently published an interview with local women who have helped find and exhume 263 bodies from a grave in Veracruz.
The world speaks up
After the recent murder of Mirian Rodríguez, European Union (EU) Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini highlighted the need to conduct thorough, independent and comprehensive investigations to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"Authorities should also ensure the adoption of the preventive measures necessary for the effective protection of the human rights of defenders and journalists," she added.
Amnesty International (AI) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico have demanded prompt clarification of Rodríguez' case.
They have also asked the Mexican government to guarantee the effective protection of all victims and their families.