International rights tribunal holds hearings in Juárez

Rio Grande Digital

The lawlessness and brutal violence on the border has long drawn the attention of the world press, but now international attention has been focused on Juárez and Chihuahua state in a more formal way.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, an international opinion tribunal, arrived in Juárez during the weekend for three days of public hearings that cast a spotlight on some cases of injustice and impunity that has gripped the region — especially since the onset of brutal drug violence in early 2008.

Among cases presented to the tribunal were the Jan. 30, 2010, massacre of 15 people — mostly young students — at Villas de Salvarcar; the slaying of Marisela Escobedo, a mother on a quest to bring her daughter’s murder to justice; the dispossession of of residents in the Lomas de Poleo neighborhood nothwest of Juarez, where a wealthy company has been trying to take over the residents’ property; cases from families of slain or missing activists; cases of police brutality against the public and news media, and others, according to various media reports.

When the tribunal announced the hearings in mid-May, it said it would specifically examine:

  • Violence, impunity and lack of access to justice
  • Violence against women
  • Migration, refugee and forced displacement
  • Violence against workers
  • Food security
  • Environmental devastation
  • Disinformation, censorship and violence against journalists

The tribunal is independent from any government authority. It publicly and analytically examines and judges cases of alleged human rights violations, hearing directly from the victims or groups or individuals representing them. The panel then draws conclusions about the responsibilities for human rights violations and makes recommendations.

It then forwards those recommendations to the United Nations and various foreign governments in order to bring international pressure on those who have the authority to correct the situation.

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