PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 41/38/98
UA 273/98 Fear for safety 20 October 1998
MEXICOHilda Navarrete - human rights defender
Members of a church group.
On 17 October 1998, members of the Mexican Army disrupted a meeting being held
by a church group in the Parish of Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero state. The
soldiers, who were heavily armed, patrolled around the house, which belongs
to a local school teacher, for two hours, spying on and intimidating those
within. Subsequently the soldiers positioned themselves outside the door in
a threatening manner.
In view of recent escalating violence in the state of Guerrero, Amnesty
International is concerned for the safety of those present at the meeting.
The organization is particularly concerned for Hilda Navarrete, a member of
the human rights group 'La voz de los sin voz' (The voice of the voiceless),
which works for the defence of human rights in the region. Hilda Navarette
fears that she is being intimidated to discourage her from continuing her human
On 22 September 1998, an anonymous phone call was made to the house of the
school teacher in Coyuca de Benítez by someone asking to speak to Hilda Navarete.
The person calling was informed that Hilda Navarete could only be contacted
at the time of the church meeting.
Threats against human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero are occurring
against a background of mounting violence. This dates back to the Aguas Blancas
massacre on 28 June 1995, in which 17 peasants were killed in an ambush staged by
Guerrero state police and government officials (see UA 159/95, AMR 41/15/95, 5 July
1995, and follow-ups AMR 41/16/95, 26 July and AMR 41/18/95, 17 August).
More recently, the events which took place in the community of El Charco, in
the state of Guerrero on 7 June 1998(see UA 173/98 AMR 41/29/98, 9 June 1998
and follow-up AMR 41/35/98 4 August 1998, and NS 113/98, AMR 41/29/98 12 June
1998) have increased Amnesty International's concerns at the activities of
the military in the region.
Hilda Navarette and 'La voz de los sin voz' have been active in campaigning
of behalf of those detained following the incidents at El Charco. During a
recent Amnesty International mission to Mexico, Hilda Navarette accompanied
members of the delegation, when they were denied access to see detainees at
the Centro de Readaptacion Social (CERESO), Centre for Social Readaptation,
in Acapulco, Guerrero State.
Amnesty International has also reported threats against other human rights
organisations, namely the Organización Campesina Sierra del Sur (OCSS),
Southern Sierra Peasant Organisation (see UA 159/95, AMR 41/15/95, 5 July 1995,
and follow-ups AMR 41/16/95, 26 July 1995 and AMR 41/18/95, 17 August 1995;
UA 173/98, AMR 41/29/98, 9 June 1998 and follow-up AMR 41/35/98, 4 August 1998;
UA 167/98, AMR 41/26/98, 29 May 1998; UA 204/98, AMR 41/32/98, 16 July 1998).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish or your own language:
- requesting that adequate measures be taken to guarantee the physical safety
of Hilda Navarette and all members of the church group;