(New York) – Amnesty International is mobilizing its members worldwide to demand protection for the Mexican human rights defender and journalist Lydia Cacho, who has received death threats.
Cacho, who is based in Cancun in southeastern Mexico, was working at home on Sunday, when her handheld transceiver, used only for emergencies, turned on by itself. She answered, thinking it might be a work colleague, and heard a male voice calling her by name and saying: "We have already warned you, bitch, don't mess with us. It is clear you didn't learn with the small trip you were given. What is coming next for you will be in pieces, that is how we will send you home, you idiot" (Ya te lo dijmos pinche puta no te metas con nosotros se ve que no aprendiste con la vueltecita que te dieron la que te va a tocar va ser en pedacitos así te vamos a mandar a casa en pedacitos pendeja). She has filed a formal complaint about this threat with the Attorney General of the Republic.
Cacho is a recipient of Amnesty International USA's Ginetta Sagan Award, which recognizes the outstanding efforts of women working to protect the lives and liberty of women and children in countries around the world where human rights violations are widespread.
Cacho started to receive threats and harassment after publishing a book in 2005, in which she exposed a child pornography ring which she said operated with the knowledge and protection of politicians and business people of Quintana Roo and Puebla states. As a result of defamation cases brought against Cacho, and irregular legal proceedings, she was detained in December 2006 and subjected to threats and harassment. Following this, taped phone conversations which were published in the media implicated former senior government officials of Puebla State in her detention and harassment. She has continued to receive threats since then, on some occasions in reprisal for her work as journalist and human rights defender at a women's shelter in Cancun.
In 2009, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission ordered the Mexican government to provide protection measures for her. The following year, Cacho published another book, again uncovering trafficking of women and girls and revealing names of people she said were linked to these criminal networks.
By issuing an "Urgent Action" on behalf of Cacho, Amnesty International is mobilizing its more than three million members worldwide to contact Mexican authorities to demand that they guarantee Cacho's safety and provide effective protection for her. In addition, the organization is calling on Mexican authorities to order a full and impartial investigation of the threats and bring those responsible to justice.
Lydia Cacho is a Mexican journalist, feminist human rights advocate, and recipient of the 2007 Ginetta Sagan Award. She took a brave step in journalism with the 2005 release of her book "Demons of Eden" in which she accuses politician Jean Succar Kuri of engaging in child pornography and prostitution. Cacho proceeded to found and direct the Refuge for Abused Women of Cancun—a crisis center for battered and exploited women. The activist authored six more books about organized crime, the sex slave industry, and child pornography and is president of Women's Assistance—an organization that aids victims of domestic violence and gender discrimination.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.