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Victims, Feminists Take Over Mexico Human Rights Office, Claim Govt Failed its Women

Erika, mother of a raped girl, reacts outside the National Human Rights Commission building after seizing the facilities of the organization for demand justice for the victims of gender violence and femicide in Mexico City, Mexico September 6, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Erika, mother of a raped girl, reacts outside the National Human Rights Commission building after seizing the facilities of the organization for demand justice for the victims of gender violence and femicide in Mexico City, Mexico September 6, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

They said they took over the building because the government has been slow to protect or support women who have suffered abuse or help them find their missing loved ones.

A group of feminists and crime victims has taken over the offices of Mexicos governmental Human Rights Commission, leading to a stand-off Tuesday in which both sides expressed worries about rights violations.

The dozens of activists who seized the offices last week have refused to leave, and vow to turn the commission’s historic building in Mexico Citys colonial-era downtown into a shelter for victims. They said they took over the building because the government has been slow to protect or support women who have suffered abuse or help them find their missing loved ones.

The activists have taken framed paintings of Mexican heroes from the building walls and defaced them with graffiti, drawing the ire of President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador. They also emptied a freezer case of expensive steaks and displayed them, claiming they showed that rights officials enjoyed luxuries, something Lpez Obrador has campaigned against.

The rights commission, for its part, has voiced concern about the safety of case files kept in the building. The names and locations of victims of rights abuses are contained in many files, and there are worries that revealing them could put those people in danger.

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The commission is funded by the government but has a measure of independence. It can make recommendations to government agencies, which are usually followed.

first published:September 09, 2020, 06:36 IST