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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 because it failed to effectively investigate, prosecute and prevent crimes against women and girls in Ciudad Juárez.  


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

Our brief asked the court to address the issue with a broad range of remedies.  The remedies must not only be based on criminal justice.  They must also include ways to address 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 while relying on Articles 7, 8 and 9 of the Convention 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 this hemisphere places on providing women and girls with safe communities.

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 that they must ensure that local authorities do the same.


On November 4, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) 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 targeting women has become endemic. 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 28-29, 2009.


On December 10, 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an opinion finding Mexico in violation of human rights conventions under the American Convention of Human Rights and the Convention Belém do Pará. The Court ordered Mexico to comply with a broad set of remedial measures including a national memorial, renewed investigations and reparations of over $200,000 each to the families in the suit.

Attached Documents

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