Calls for suspension of all U.S. military and police aid
Issues presented included disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Acteal and San Fernando massacres, feminicide and gender violence, militarization of the border, case of the ExBraceros, and abuses against migrant youth
The preliminary verdict of the International Tribunal of Conscience will be presented on December 18 in New York City as part of observances of International Migrants’ Day organized by the Migrant Center of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (5 PM rally, march and procession at Union Square, followed by forum at 135 W. 31st Street, Manhattan).
The Tribunal’s jury included lawyers, human rights experts and advocates, and scholars from the U.S, Mexico, Australia, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, and was presided over by former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso and by Dr. Jorge Bustamante, former UN Special Rapporteur for Migrant Rights. The verdict will also be presented in Mexico City in January, submitted to human rights monitors at the UN and Organization of American States (OAS), and disseminated globally by several international organizations which co-sponsored the Tribunal.
Justice Reynoso highlighted the Tribunal’s role in mobilizing U.S and global public opinion against the types of state crimes emphasized in the verdict:
“If an individual commits a crime or a violation of human rights, punishment can follow. But what if a nation commits a crime or a violation of human rights? The International Tribunal of Conscience has heard the evidence and the preliminary verdict has been filed. Its conclusions are worthy of attention by all individuals worldwide. Now the time has come for all of us to consider what actions need be taken in response.”
“The U.S. through its massive military and diplomatic aid for the government of Mexico is enabling the continuation of egregious and systematic human rights violations. We must demand an end to this complicity,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, a member of the jury and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild.
The verdict is based on testimony and documentary evidence presented at a hearing held at New York University on September 26, 2015, which coincided with the first anniversary of the Ayotzinapa case and with visits to New York City by Pope Francis and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto for the annual opening session of the UN General Assembly.
Witnesses included journalists Anabel Hernández (herself the victim of reiterated death threats for her work as a journalist) and Steve Fisher, who have painstakenly reconstructed the events leading to the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, and spokespersons for immigrants’ rights organizations such as the Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio (Movement for Justice in El Barrio), the Asamblea Popular de Familias Migrantes (APOFAM, Popular Assembly of Migrant Families), and the Alianza de ExBraceros del Norte 1942-1964 (Northern Alliance of Ex Braceros). Father Alejandro Solalinde, founding director of the migrant shelter “Hermanos en el Camino” in Ixtepec, Oaxaca also testified. Witnesses also included representatives of human rights groups based in Chiapas and Oaxaca such as Rosalinda Santiz Díaz and Marina Patricia Jiménez, and human rights defenders based in the U.S-Mexico border region in Las Cruces, El Paso, and Ciudad Júarez.
Jury members included: Cruz Reynoso (former Associate Justice, Calif. Supreme Court), Jorge Bustamante (former UN Special Rapporteur for Migrant Rights), Azadeh Shahshahani (immediate past president, National Lawyers Guild – NLG), Jeanne Mirer (President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers- IADL), Gill Boehringer (former Dean, Macquarie Law School, Australia: representative, International Association of Peoples´ Lawyers- IAPL), Arturo Viscarra (School of the Americas- SOA Watch), Wilma Reverón-Collazo (MINH/ACLU, Puerto Rico), Laura Carlsen (Americas Project, Center for International Policy, Mexico City), Julia Camagong (International Migrants´ Alliance- IMA), Roberto Márquez (Professor Emeritus, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Mt. Holyoke College), Katrina Abarcar (International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-ICHRP), Sandra Trujillo (former Deputy Director, Childrens´ Defense Fund-CDF), Katherine Culliton-González (Hispanic National Bar Association; Advancement Project), Terrence Valen (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns- NAFCON), Aaron Ceravoy (Ibon Foundation, the Philippines), Johanna Fernández and Sophia Williams (Bring Mumia Home Campaign), Peter Clark (International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee), Kerry McLean (NY chapter NLG)
To download the verdict and findings, please click here.