Top UN human rights official condemns murder of Mexican activist

23 October 2001

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, today condemned the killing of a Mexican human rights activist, Digna Ochoa, and called on the authorities to launch a vigorous probe into the crime.

Speaking in Uruguay where she is on an official visit, the High Commissioner said Ms. Ochoa, a lawyer who had been killed last Friday, inspired human rights defenders around the world with her "sense of dedication and perseverance in adversity."

Mrs. Robinson recalled discussing the concerns of Mexico's human rights workers with Ms. Ochoa in 1999 during a visit to that country. "Digna told me - based in part on firsthand experience - of the difficulties human rights defenders were facing at the time," the High Commissioner said. "Her murder is all the more tragic in that it threatens to dash the hopes that had risen recently in the country that intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders were finally being addressed seriously."

The High Commissioner urged Mexican authorities to do everything in their power to bring Ms. Ochoa's killer or killers to justice.

"I welcome the pledge by Government officials to fully support the investigation into the murder," she said. "The best way to honour Digna's memory is to ensure that this is the last time human rights defenders in Mexico - including her colleagues at the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Centre - feel threatened for their tireless work on behalf of their fellow citizens," she said.

 

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