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Mexico: Death threat against human rights defender and journalist Ms Lydia Cacho Ribeiro
On 29 July 2012, prominent human rights defender Ms Lydia Cacho Ribeiro received an anonymous death threat.
Lydia Cacho is the director and founder of the Centro Integral de Atención a las Mujeres – CIAM (Comprehensive Centre for Attention for Women) in Cancún, an NGO which provides support to the victims of domestic and sexual violence and sex trafficking. She has written six books about organised crime, child pornography and sex trafficking. In 2007, Lydia Cacho received the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan award for the protection of the rights of women and children.
On 29 July 2012, Lydia Cacho was in her home in Cancún when someone tried to contact her on her hand-held transceiver, used only in emergencies. Thinking it was a colleague, the human rights defender responded, and a man who addressed her by her name said the following: “Ya te lo dijimos, pinche puta, no te metas con nosotros, se ve que no aprendiste con la vueltecita que te dieron. La que te va a tocar va ser en pedacitos, así te vamos a mandar a casa, en pedacitos, pendeja” (We already told you, fucking bitch, not to mess with us, it is clear that you didn't learn anything from the little trip they gave you. What is going to happen to you will be in pieces, that is how we are going to send you home, in pieces, idiot). Lydia Cacho has lodged a formal complaint about the threat to the Attorney General's office.
This is not the first time that Lydia Cacho has been targeted as a result of her human rights activities. Front Line Defenders issued previous appeals concerning intimidation, surveillance and death threats against the human rights defender in 2009, and her attempted assassination in May 2007. She was also briefly detained and charged with defamation in connection with the publication of her book, “The Demons of Eden”, which alleged that a paedophile ring was operating under the protection of certain politicians and businessmen in Quintana Roo and Puebla states.
On 10 August 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights awarded precautionary measures to Lydia Cacho and asked the Mexican authorities to take the necessary steps to guarantee her life and to carry out an investigation into the death threats, surveillance and intimidatory acts which gave rise to the awarding of the precautionary measures.
Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Lydia Cacho and believes that she is being targeted as a result of her work in the defence of human rights. Front Line Defenders also expresses concern at impunity for those who make death threats in Mexico, and urges the authorities to reverse this alarming trend.