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U.N. condemns shooting of Mexican activist

By Nick Valencia and Arturo Chacon
December 6, 2011 -- Updated 0825 GMT (1625 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Norma Andrade is an advocate of human rights for women
  • She investigates the trafficking of women
  • The United Nations calls for protection of defenders of human rights

(CNN) -- The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico has denounced the shooting of an activist who survived being shot multiple times in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, by an unknown attacker.

Norma Andrade, 51, co-president of the organization "Our Daughters Return Home," was shot five times while leaving her home Friday. No one has been arrested in the shooting.

Andrade became an activist after the murder of her daughter in February 2001.

"Ms. Norma Andrade began work as an advocate for women's human rights, in particular, demanding justice for victims of femicide in the State of Chihuahua ," the U.N. release said Monday.

Andrade had been living outside of Juarez for security reasons, according to the release.

"Since July of this year (Mexican) President (Felipe Calderon) issued an Agreement establishing the foundations for the mechanism of protecting defenders of human rights ... Any delay continues to increase daily risks faced by victims and human rights defenders of human rights," U.N. spokesman Javier Hernandez Valencia said in the release.

The Chihuahua state inspector for the Human Rights Commission, Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, told CNN that Andrade had become a target and was "in serious risk" after she began to investigate women being trafficked in Juarez.

"The problem is very serious, because (her) daughter, also an activist, fled Juarez in March of this year, when she received (death) threats," De la Rosa Hickerson said.

The United Nations said that since 2008, at least four members of the organization "Our Daughters Return Home" have had to take security precautions because of threats.

"A person who is an activist needs protection just like politicians," De la Rosa Hickerson said, who since 2010 has had a federal escort protecting him. He also lives part time in El Paso, Texas, for safety reasons.

Andrade had joined the social struggle of popular Mexican poet Javier Sicilia who has traveled in several marches this year demanding justice for the murder of his son.

In recent years, Mexican social activists have been victims of persecution and murder. Some have moved to America to seek protection.

In a recent case, activist Nepomuceno Moreno was killed in the state of Sonora on November 29. Moreno, whose son was kidnapped in July 2010, had publicly denounced Calderon, demanding justice for his son, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

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