Mexico: Demand Investigation into Murder of 13 year old in Guerrero

On March 13, 2006, the body of Emilio Zuñiga (13) was found. Emilio had been beaten to death, with stones and sticks. He did spare jobs in exchange for food and allegedly was also engaged in commercial sex work. According to CEPRODEHI (Centro de Estudios y Proyectos para el Desarrollo Humano Integral A.C.), a local human rights NGO, it is likely that homophobia has played a role in this case and authorities need to be pressured to properly investigate and punish those responsible.

IGLHRC joins CEPRODEHI in asking for letters to the relevant authorities demanding an exhaustive investigation into Emilio’s murder, as well as other measures that might contribute to improve the conditions under which trans and bisexual people, lesbians and gays live in the state of Guerrero, as well as to prevent and punish expressions of intolerance.

Please write as soon as possible to the following authorities:

Gobernador Constitucional de Guerrero (Governor)
C.P. Carlos Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo
Physical address:
Palacio de Gobierno
Chilpancingo, Gro.
México
Secretaria de la Juventud (Youth Secretary)
Lic. Yolanda Villaseñor Landa
Physical address:
Palacio de Gobierno
Edificio “Montaña”
Primer Piso
Chilpancingo, Gro.
México
Procurador General (Attorney General)
Lic. Eduardo Murueta Urrutia
Physical address:
Carretera Nacional México - Acapulco Km. 6+300 C.P. 39090
Chilpancingo Guerrero.
Phone: +52-747 4725657
Fax: +52 747 4728200
Email: cprocurador@pgjgro.gob.mx
Subprocurador de Control Regional y Procedimientos Penales (Head of the Penal Procedures Department – Attorney’s Office)
Lic. Jesús Alemán del Carmen
Physical address:
Carretera Nacional México - Acapulco Km. 6+300
Interior de l edificio, Planta alta
C.P. 39090
Chilpancingo Guerrero.
Mexico
Phone:+52 747 4719433
Fax +52 747 4724284
Email: subprocuraduriad@pgjgro.gob.mx
Subprocurador Jurídico y de Atención a Victimas del Delito (Head of the Department for Assistance to Crime Victims – Attorney’s Office)
Lic. Antonio Sebastián Ortuño
Phyisical address:
Carretera Nacional México - Acapulco Km. 6+300
Interior del edificio, Planta alta
C.P. 39090
Chilpancingo Guerrero.
Mexico
Phone +52 747 4719437
Fax: +52 747 4719418
Email: subprocuraduriajuridica@pgjgro.gob.mx
Visitadora General (Officer in charge of the case – Attorney’s Office)
Lic. Martha Elva Garzón Bernal
Physical address:
Carretera Nacional México - Acapulco Km. 6+300 Planta Baja
C.P. 39090
Chilpancingo Guerrero.
Mexico
Phone +52 747 47194 23
Fax: +52747 47194 57
Procuraduría General de Justicia del estado de guerrero
Fiscal Especializada para la Investigación de
Delitos Sexuales y Violencia Intrafamiliar (Head of the Sexual Crimes and Family Violence Department – Attorney’s Office)
Agencia Investigadora del Ministerio Público
del Distrito Judicial de los Bravo
Lic. Rosa Hilda González Zagal
Physical address:
Adrián Castrejón No. 33
Esquina con José Inocente Lugo
Chilpancingo, Gro.
Mexico
C. P. 39060
Phone +52 747 47 2 85 19
Email fiscaliadelitos_sexuales@pgjgro.gob.mx
Fiscal Especializado para la Protección de Derechos Humanos
Interior del edificio de la Procuraduría General de Justicia (Head of the Human Rights Protections Unit – Attorney’s General Office)
Lic. Manuel A. Saavedra Flores
Physical address:
Carretera Nacional México-Acapulco Km 6+300
Planta baja
Chilpancingo, Gro.
Mexico
C. P. 39090
Phone: +52 747 47 1 94 10 or +52 747 47 1 94 62 or +52 747 47 1 94 24 ext. 9410
Email: fiscaliaderechoshumanos@pgjgro.gob.mx
Fiscal Especializado para la Investigación de Delitos Graves (Head of the Serious Crimes Department – Attorney’s General office)
Lic. José Fernando Monreal Leyva
Physical address:
Cerrada de Caminos No. 12
Despacho 304, 3° piso
Col. Progreso
Acapulco, Gro.
Mexico
C. P. 39355
Phone +52 744 44 85 45 59
Email fiscaliadelitosgraves@pgjgro.gob.mx
Agente del Ministerio Público (Assistant to the Unit in charge of the case – Attorney’s General Office)
Titular de la Agencia Auxiliar
Lic. Alejandro Reyes Ocampo
Physical address:
Calle Nueva México S/N
Col. Centro
Azoyú, Gro.
C .P. 41900
Mexico
Phone +52 741 412 16 67

And please send copies to

Despertar Ciudadano A.C.
despertar_ciudadano@hotmail.com
CEPRODHI A.C.
ceprodehi_ac@yahoo.com.mx

You will find below a sample letter in Spanish, with its translation into English.

SAMPLE LETTER IN SPANISH

Estimadas señoras y señores:

Les escribimos para expresar nuestra preocupación por el asesinato de Emilio Zúñiga Mendoza, de 13 años de edad, cuyo cuerpo fue encontrado el día 13 de marzo, en la localidad de Azoyú, Guerrero. Emilio era una niño que vivía en la calle y que presuntamente realizaba trabajo sexual comercial con hombres. Fue muerto a golpes, con piedras y palos, y aún no se ha identificado al culpable.

Por la edad de la víctima, y por las condiciones de extrema vulnerabilidad económica y social en que vivió, este crimen nos golpea de manera especial y por eso queremos pedirles que no permitan que permanezca impune. La protección a la infancia y a la adolescencia –sin discriminación alguna por condición económica y social, ni por conducta sexual- es obligación de ustedes, como funcionarias y funcionarios del Estado. Tratados internacionales como la Convención por los Derechos del Niño y el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos afirman dicha obligación, lo mismo que la Ley Federal para Prevenir y Eliminar la Discriminación y la Ley para la Protección y el Desarrollo de los Menores.

Emilio se hubiera merecido una vida mejor, que le permitiera el pleno ejercicio de sus derechos y el pleno desarrollo de sus capacidades. También se hubiera merecido vivir en una sociedad que no abusara de su indefensión y lo convirtiera en víctima de su homofobia. Nada de eso es ya posible. Pero en el estado de Guerrero, de cuya administración ustedes son responsables, hay otros Emilios y también personas adultas que esperan de ustedes un mensaje claro y unívoco contra todas las formas de discriminación, violencia e impunidad. Por eso les pedimos:

  • Que investiguen en forma exhaustiva e imparcial el asesinato de Emilio y que a los responsables del crimen les sea aplicado todo el peso de la ley.
  • Que –en colaboración con las organizaciones de la sociedad civil- implementen medidas educativas, de apoyo y contención, que apunten especialmente a las y los adolescentes que se sientan atraídas y atraídos por personas de su mismo sexo, o que tengan una identidad de género o una expresión del mismo que difiera de los patrones culturales dominantes.
  • Que apoyen el tratamiento legislativo y la pronta sanción de la iniciativa de Ley para Prevenir y Eliminar la Discriminación en el Estado de Guerrero,

Cordialmente,

(Nombre, organización, dirección)


English version:

We write to express our concern regarding the murder of Emilio Zúñiga Mendoza, who was 13 years old. His body was found on March 13 in Azoyú, Guerrero. Emilio lived in the street and allegedly was engaged in commercial sex work with men. He was beaten to death with stones and sticks. His murderer has not yet been identified.

Given the age of the victim, and the conditions of extreme economic and social vulnerability in which he lived, we feel particularly shocked by this murder and we want to ask that you do not allow the murderer to go unpunished. It is your duty as public officials to protect children and adolescents without any discrimination based on social or economic status or sexual behavior International treaties like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights affirm such obligations, as well as the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination and the Law for the Protection and Development of Minors.

Emilio deserved a better life, with the possibility to fully enjoy his rights and develop his potential. He also deserved to live in a society that would not exploit his helplessness and make him a victim of homophobic bias. None of that is possible now. But other Emilios and also adults still live in the state of Guerrero, for whose administration you are responsible, and they all expect a clear message from you, against all forms of discrimination, violence and impunity. For that reason, we demand:

  • An exhaustive and fair investigation of Emilio’s murder and that those found responsible be punished according to the law.
  • That –in cooperation with civil society organizations- you implement educational programs providing support to adolescents who feel attracted to others of their same gender/sex, or whose gender identity or expression differs from dominant cultural patterns.
  • That you support parliamentary discussion and approval of the Bill to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination in the Guerrero State.

Yours truly,
(Name, organization, address)

BACKGROUND

Emilio lived and died in Azoyú, Guerrero State, Mexico. He had no home; sometimes he slept at his grandmother’s house but, according to local media reports, he spent most of his time in the street, doing spare jobs in exchange for food. He also engaged in commercial sexual work with men.

His body was found on March 13, but he must have been murdered on the 9th or the 10th, due to the advanced degree of decomposition it showed. Some neighbors saw several vultures flying around an area and alerted city authorities, who found Emilio’s body there. The child was lying face down, with his head crushed by stones. Police investigation showed that he was beaten to death with stones and sticks.

INTERNATIONAL LEGISLATION

Right to life is protected by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (Article 3), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 6), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 6) and the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights (Article 4).

Right to be free from discrimination and to equality before the law is protected by UDHR (Articles 2 and 7), ICCPR (Articles 2 and 26), CRC (Article 2) and ICHR (Article 2).

The United Nations Human Rights Committee affirmed in its decision in Toonen v Australia (1994) that existing protections against discrimination in Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) should be understood to include sexual orientation as a protected status. Numerous other human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have subsequently condemned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child mandates State parties to take “all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation including sexual abuse” (Article 19). In Article 32, the Convention recognises “the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child´s education, or to be harmful to the child´s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development”, and mandates State parties to take “legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to ensure implementation of this article”.

NATIONAL LEGISLATION

Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution mandates public institutions to support protection for minors. Article 1 of the Constitution forbids all acts of discrimination “based on ethnic or national origin, gender, age, different abilities, social status, health status, religion, opinion, preferences, civil status or any other damaging human dignity”.

In June 2003, the Mexican government promulgated the “Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination”, unanimously passed by the Legislative Power that same year. “Sexual preferences” are one of the categories protected against discrimination in the text of the law.

The “Law for the Protection and Development of Minors” (New Code for Minors) mandates the Mexican state to provide “assistance and protection for their physical and mental health, suitable conditions for them to access basic education; protection in the case of their becoming victims of abandon, sexual harassment, cruelty and abuse by relatives or third parties” (Article 5). It also recognises the right of children to life, non-discrimination, to live in conditions that will promote their welfare and to be protected at all levels (Articles 6 and 41-54). Article 7 mandates authorities to “provide support, in accordance to their budgets, to those children whose education, survival and development are at risk, due to economic shortages, helping parents or tutors to fulfill their duties”. According to Article 34, minors whose “education, survival or development are at risk due to economic shortages” are entitled to priority attention on the part of the State and those who are involved in activities taking place in the street must also be the subject of special attention on the part of the State, through programs specifically aimed at them (Articles 49 and 94).