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Call for Halt to Repression and Murder in Oaxaca

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 6, 2006

National Lawyers Guild Calls for a Halt to State Repression and Murder in Oaxaca

Calls for Investigation into the Disappeared and Murdered, and the Release of Detainees


The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for an immediate end to the violent repression against the people of Oaxaca by the State and Federal government and paramilitary groups, an investigation into the disappeared and murdered Mexican citizens and foreign nationals, and the release of all detained persons. We condemn the siege waged by the federal police force against the Oaxaca City University, where the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO in Spanish) have united to defend their radio station, Radio Universidad.

On October 27, 2006, independent U.S. journalist Brad Will, Oaxacan schoolteacher Emilio Alfonso Fabian and one other were shot to death by paramilitary forces. In response to these murders the Federal Government sent troops to the region to further repress the unarmed Oaxacan people – scores of alleged protest leaders were arrested, and a human rights worker reported that a fifteen year old child was killed by a tear-gas canister thrown by police. In all, fourteen people have been killed by the police and paramilitaries working for the government since the state’s teachers began a strike on May 22.

We demand that Attorney General Lizbeth Caña treat these murders as federal crimes and bring the perpetrators, who still remain at large, to justice.

The National Lawyers Guild supports the right of the teachers union to strike in demand of better schools, a living wage, and employment benefits. The state government, under Governor Ulises Ruiz, has responded to the reasonable demands of the teachers union and APPO with mounting violence and repression. We join with APPO and Congress in calling for Governor Ruiz to resign. Barring Ruiz’s resignation, the National Lawyers Guild calls on President Vicente Fox to remove him. In addition, we believe Governor Ruiz should be prosecuted for the violent crimes he has ordered and overseen.

“The state and federal government of Mexico has violated the human rights of its citizens and the international community has taken notice. We urge President Vicente Fox to honor the requests of the labor union and put an end to the violence by withdrawing the army and stopping the paramilitary forces,” said Guild President Marjorie Cohn.

The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association. Its national office is headquartered in New York and it has chapters in nearly every state, as well as over 100 law school chapters.

ENDS

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