Mexican Bishops' Social Ministry Committee
October 20, 2001
In the face of the terrible assassination yesterday afternoon of Lic. Digna Ochoa y Plαcido in her office at Zacatecas 31-A, Col. Roma, Mexico City, the Department of Justice and Peace of the Episcopal Committee for Social Ministry of the Mexican Episcopate issues the following statement:
- 1. It is essential that there be, in the shortest time possible, a thorough investigation to determine clearly those responsible for this utterly cowardly act. We recall here that the threats against Digna Ochoa and the Human Rights Center "Miguel Agustνn Pro Juαrez" had been going on since 1996, but yet, the different previous investigations had failed to produce satisfactory results.
2. We deeply mourn the loss of Digna who was such a valiant and tenacious defender of human rights. We believe that the constant harassments she suffered, as well as her death yesterday, take on a very special and sensitive relevance for the cases she was working on, above all those related to the military and the security forces.
3. We consider this act a threat and intended intimidation against all defenders of human rights, and we call upon the authorities to investigate seriously the threats found next to her body which were directed at various members of the Human Rights Center "Miguel Agustνn Pro."
4. Once again, the impunity and corruption that exists today underscores the weakness of our system of getting and granting justice. We therefore call on the authorities to fight against the ties that still exist between the criminal networks and public officials so that we may achieve the democratization of our institutions that is so greatly desired.
5. We call on society in general that we may all, now more than ever, recover our calling to defend human rights, and not fall into the trap of the media, especially the electronic media, of presenting violence as "natural" behavior, of justifying vengeance, of radically violating the dignity of every human being. We ask that we not applaud violent acts, whether of war or of supposed "legitimate defense" and that we not take justice into our own hands. On the contrary, we call for reconciliation and forgiveness, the only bases for achieving a just, worthy, and lasting peace.
Archbishop of Jalapa
President of CEPS
Mons. Juan Guillermo López
Bishop of Cuahtémoc-Madera Chihuahua
Representative for Justice and Peace
Fr. Antonio Sandoval Tajonar
Executive Secretary of CEPS
Friar Alejandro Castillo Morga, ofm
Coordinator, Justice and Peace Department of CEPS