N° 123/10




Washington, D.C., December 21, 2010—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of human rights defender Marisela Escobedo in Chihuahua, Mexico.


On December 16, 2010, Marisela Escobedo was killed outside the governor's palace in the state of Chihuahua, where she was campaigning for justice over the violent death of her daughter, Rubí Marisol Frayre, who was killed in September 2008 at the age of 16. The girl's boyfriend, Sergio Rafael Barraza, had apparently confessed to committing the crime. Barraza was acquitted by a court of first instance and released; a month later he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison by an appeals court, but he remains at large. Despite receiving threats, Marisela Escobedo waged a struggle to keep her daughter's murder from remaining in impunity.


The Commission urges the State of Mexico to investigate the murder of Marisela Escobedo in order to prosecute and punish those responsible for committing and masterminding the crime. The Commission also calls on the Mexican State to take all steps within its power to carry out the sentence handed down against the perpetrator of Rubí Marisol Frayre's murder.


In its 2007 report Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence in the Americas, the IACHR indicated that the majority of acts of violence against women are never punished, which perpetuates their repetition and the social acceptance of this phenomenon. Against this backdrop, it recommended that the States guarantee due diligence so that all cases of gender-based violence are promptly, fully and impartially investigated, those responsible are punished, and the victims have full access to proper judicial protection.


The Inter-American Commission once again urges the State of Mexico to take any necessary legal, administrative, or other measures to ensure that events such as this murder do not happen again, in fulfillment of its obligations to prevent and guarantee the basic rights recognized by the American Convention on Human Rights. This includes the need to implement a comprehensive and coordinated policy, backed by adequate resources, to guarantee that cases of violence against women are properly prevented, investigated, and punished, and its victims redressed; strengthen the capacity of institutions to combat the pattern of impunity in cases involving violence against women, through effective criminal investigations that carry cases to trial, thereby ensuring that the crimes are properly punished and redressed; and continue adopting public policies and institutional programs intended to reconfigure the stereotypes about the role of women in society and to promote the eradication of discriminatory social patterns that obstruct women's full access to justice. This should include training programs for public employees in all branches of the judiciary and the police, as well as comprehensive prevention policies. 


A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


Useful links

IACHR Report Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence in the Americas: index in html; complete report in pdf

Cotton Field Case, Mexico. Judgement of the IA Court: Word or pdf

Cotton Field Case, Mexico. Application of the IACHR to the IA Court (pdf)

IACHR Press Office

Website of the IACHR






Read this press release in Spanish / Lea este comunicado de prensa en español


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