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Campo Algodonero v. The United Mexican States

Ciudad Juárez: Addressing Mexico's Failure to Prosecute Violence Against Women

Campo Algodonero v. The United Mexican States

Ciudad Juárez: Addressing Mexico's Failure to Prosecute Violence Against Women


On July 7, 2009, CJA joined several human rights and women’s rights organizations, law school clinics and law professors as an amicus, urging the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to find that the government of Mexico did not fulfill its human rights obligations when it failed to effectively investigate, prosecute and prevent crimes against women and girls in Ciudad Juárez.  

About our Brief

In our brief, CJA spotlighted the global consensus that gender-based violence breaches the basic human rights of women and children and that States must provide effective protection from such violence.  

Our brief asked the court to meet the issue with a broad range of remedies.  The remedies we argued, must be based not only on criminal justice, but also on the factors of economic, social, and political disempowerment that perpetuate the cycle of violence against women in Ciudad Juárez.  

The brief urged the court to craft its remedies in reliance on Articles 7, 8 and 9 of the Convention of Belém do Pará.  These articles outline a comprehensive set of State obligations to eradicate violence against women- and to protect women from all forms of gender-based violence.  They also reflect the importance that we in this hemisphere places on providing safe communities for women and girls.

We urged the court to send the message that States must comply with their international human rights obligations by exercising due diligence when investigating and responding to gender-based violence, and by ensuring that local agencies do the same.

Background

On November 4, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights filed a case against Mexico for the disappearance and murders of Claudia Ivette González, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal and Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez. The murders occurred in Ciudad Juárez, a city on the border of the U.S. and Mexico, where gender-based violence, including abduction, rape and murder of young women became endemic in the 1990s. The bodies of the women, two of whom were minors, were discovered on November 6-7, 2001 in an abandoned cotton field known as Campo Algodonero. The case was submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which held two public hearings on April 28, and 29, 2009.

Outcome

On December 10, 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Mexico in violation of human rights obligations under the American Convention of Human Rights and the Convention of Belém do Pará. The Court ordered Mexico to comply with a broad set of remedial measures including constructing a national memorial, renewing investigations, and providing reparations of over $200,000 to each of the families involved in the lawsuit.

Attached Documents

10 Dec 09 Opinion
CJA Amicus Brief
07 Jul 09 CJA Amicus Brief [english]
07 Jul 09 CJA Amicus Brief [español]