In 2002, three soldiers entered Inés Fernández Ortega’s house while she was cooking with her children. They pushed her to the floor and one soldier raped her while the others watched.
Valentina Rosendo Cantú, then aged 17, was washing clothes by a river. Soldiers approached her, threatened her and two of them raped her.
Inés and Valentina are Indigenous Me’phaa (Tlapaneca) women. Due to cultural, economic and social barriers Indigenous women in Mexico who are raped rarely file a complaint, particularly if members of the military are implicated. These women have shown great courage by reporting their ordeals to the authorities – until now, however, no substantive investigation has taken place and no one has been brought to justice.
Military investigators tried to disprove the allegations, placing the burden of proof on the victims, and civilian institutions have not adequately dealt with the cases. Since reporting their cases, both women and their families have suffered intimidation and death threats.
In August 2010, their long struggle for justice resulted in the Inter American Court of Human Rights issuing two binding judgements against Mexico which ordered a full investigation by civilian authorities, as well as reparations and reforms to the military justice system. The case has finally been passed to civilian justice system, but a full investigation is still pending.
It is time to demand justice for Inés and Valentina!
We call on the President of Mexico, Filipe Calderón Hinojosa, to,
- implement in full the binding judgement of the Inter American Court
- carry out a prompt, full and impartial investigation, under civilian jurisdiction, into the rape and torture of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú in 2002
- guarantee adequate reparations and effective protection for both women
Take action now!