Mexico: Human Rights in the name of Blessed Miguel Pro

In 1999 two founders of a peasant ecology organisation were illegally detained by Mexican soldiers. Because of their successful campaign against the unregulated felling of forests in the State of Guerrero, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera were tortured, forced to confess, charged and jailed. In April 2000, Montiel was awarded an Environmental Prize by the Goldman Foundation, but a few months later the two were sentenced to several years in prison. The Jesuit Human Rights Centre, Pro-DH (named after Miguel Agustín Pro SJ, martyred in 1927) has joined other organisations in campaigning for their release. Founded in 1988, Pro-DH seeks to infuse Mexican society with a spirit of diversity and tolerance. Armed groups (in Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz) as well as members of the armed and security services are violating human rights, fostering impunity and militarising the country. The Centre carefully documents evidence of such violations, offers legal defence for the victims of human-rights abuses, organises and trains human-rights groups, and supports peaceful popular struggles. Indeed the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has recommended that the Mexican government take measures to prevent the justice system from actively contributing to human rights abuses. Pro-DH publishes a quarterly report and distributes an information bulletin daily. See www.sjsocial.org/PRODH [HL10801]