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Statement

IM-Defensoras condemns the femicide of journalist Anabel Flores and
issues an alert on the overall risk context for women human rights
defenders (WHRDs) and journalists in Mexico

Mesoamerica, February 15th, 2016 - The 691 women human rights defenders from El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua who make up the Mesoamerican Initiative of
Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras) repudiate and condemn the femicide of
journalist Anabel Flores Salazar, who was found dead with marks indicating torture in the

state of Puebla after being dragged from her home in Veracruz by a contingent of armed
men on February 8, 2016.
The murder of Anabel Flores Salazar is the 14th perpetrated in Mexico against a journalist since
2002, and together with the yet unpunished killings of Yolanda Ordaz (2011) and Regina Martínez
(2012), is the third that has occurred in Veracruz during the administration of Governor Javier
Duarte since 2011, raising the total number of journalists killed in the state to 17.
It is important to note that this latest crime took place after the November 2015 signing by the
governor of the “Joint Inter-institutional Agreement to establish a Policies Program in support of
journalists engaged in the exercise of Freedom of Expression in Veracruz.” Nevertheless, on the
22nd of that same month, public security agents attacked reporter Melissa Díaz while she was
engaged in news coverage in Xalapa.
Even so, the situation in Veracruz is not an isolated case. Mexico ranks first in the number of
journalists killed in Latin America and seventh in the world in the Roundup of journalists killed
worldwide, 2015 compiled by the international organization Reporters without Borders.
Moreover, according to Women’s Communication and Information (CIMAC), a total of 252
attacks against women journalists have been carried out in Mexico since 2002.
This scenario, far from improving, is now deteriorating. In recent months, we have confirmed a
significant increase in attacks against women journalists, including recent break-ins at the homes
of Flor Goché (Desinformémonos) and Elva Mendoza (Contralínea), in September 2015; of Gloria
Muñoz (Desinformémonos), with the theft of sensitive information in November 2015; and of
Anabel Hernández, an attack denounced in November 2015.
The climate of risk currently faced by women journalists in the country is part of an overall context
of violence and impunity that also affects women human rights defenders. The decomposition of
the social fabric is motivated by the implementation of neoliberal economic policies based on
depredation, plunder, competition, exploitation, precarious management, the reduction of the role

of the State to one of tax collection and management of violence (militarization, border control),
and the spike in organized crime as para-statal or even as an agent of the State itself. These are
all factors that have placed women in a fundamental role at the head of their families, communities
and movements, often breaking traditional gender mandates.
Such roles are played by women searching for their disappeared children; mothers seeking justice
for their daughters who became victims of femicide; the wives of political prisoners; peasants and
community leaders opposing mining, energy or tourist megaprojects; defenders of women’s rights
and sexual diversity combating the imposition of backward policies imposed by churches and other
fundamentalist lobbies; and women journalists who, in many cases, due to economic necessity
stemming from gender bias still prevalent in the profession, feel obliged to cover highly risky
informational beats or are the only ones willing to do so.
These trends have placed women journalists and human rights defenders in increasingly
dangerous situations. Under the spotlight, they are more vulnerable to gender-based attacks that
play up their condition of being women and doubly sanction them for defending rights and crossing
gender lines. From 2012 to 2014 the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in
Mexico (RNDDHM) has documented 615 attacks against women journalists and human rights
defenders, revealing an upward trend that is of extreme concern, to say the least: 118 in 2012,
189 in 2013 and 308 in 2014.
As these attacks increase, the role of the federal government is one of absolute omission. Its
Official Protection Mechanism is deeply flawed and frequently inoperable, displaying contempt for
agreements reached by international bodies.
No less worrisome is the smear campaign in the news media aimed at disparaging the work of
prosecutors Angela Buitrago and Claudia Paz y Paz of the Interdisciplinary Group of
Independent Experts (GIEI), designated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(IACHR) to investigate the Ayotzinapa case.
We are extremely concerned about the almost constant attempts to intimidate journalists who
visibilize the grave human rights situation we are now experiencing in Mexico, including Carmen
Aristegui, Rossana Reguillo and Sanjuana Martínez, who have been subjected to death threats
and threats of bodily harm, and to questions raised about their work, sexuality and personal lives.
In light of this situation that poses a serious human rights crisis, the Mesoamerican Initiative of
Women Human Rights in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico, demand
that the federal government and state authorities:

● Duly investigate the femicide of journalist Anabel Flores Salazar and those of other
women and women defenders in which impunity prevails.

● Guarantee and implement the necessary conditions from a gender perspective to allow all
women journalists and women human rights defenders to freely and securely pursue their
work.

● Comply with and implement all recommendations issued by international human rights
bodies in favor of women defenders and journalists in order to guarantee their work in
conditions of security and without fear of reprisal.

● Promote and publicly recognize the fundamental importance and value of the work of
women human rights defenders and journalists in bringing about social transformation,
peace, respect, tolerance and an honorable and egalitarian coexistence among persons.

Nicaraguan Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders