Mexican human rights defenders to visit Keele campus

poster for mexican human rights

Four human rights defenders from Mexico on a speaking tour of Canada will visit York with their message about the worsening public security and human rights situation in different regions of their country. The talk will be held March 7, 1:30 to 3:30pm, in Stedman Lecture Hall A, on York’s Keele campus.

no more blood struggles for peace and human rights in mexico posterThe event is sponsored by Amnesty International Canada and six Canadian universities, including York University, through its Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC).

The goal of the visit is to promote greater awareness in both the academic community and broader civil society in Canada about the deteriorating situation in Mexico, the failure of government strategies to address the crisis, growing mobilizations by citizens for change and the vital role of Canada.

The Mexican visitors will be speaking in several cities in Ontario and New Brunswick from March 5 to 15. They expect to meet with government officials and MPs during their stay and are interested in sharing their perspectives with Canadian media in this election year for Mexico.

The speakers include:

Dolores González Saravia, director of SERAPAZ (Servicios y Asesoría por la Paz), an organization founded by Bishop Samuel Ruiz to continue and expand mediation work to find peaceful solutions to the conflict in Chiapas. SERAPAZ has broad experience at the local level in southern Mexico and plays an important role coordinating civil society organizations in the capital.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra is a lawyer with the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre in Guerrero State, which received the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008 and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2010. The Tlachinollan Centre carries out human rights monitoring, works closely with vulnerable Indigenous communities to defend their rights and has provided legal support for a number of emblematic cases involving abuses by state agents.

Alberto Xicotencatl Carrasco, director of the Casa del Migrante shelter in Saltillo, Coahuila, and recipient of last year’s prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. His courageous work responds to the desperate situation facing tens of thousands of migrants travelling through Mexico, who are routinely victims of extortion, ill treatment, abduction, rape and murder. Criminal gangs, often operating with the collusion or acquiescence of public officials, are responsible for the majority of these abuses.

Yolanda Moran Isais, a member of United Forces for our Disappeared in Mexico (FUUNDEM), an organization formed by families whose relatives have been abducted or disappeared. Their work focuses on mobilizing to search for their relatives and spreading awareness about the incidence of forced disappearances in Mexico.