Sydney group campaigns for justice in Juarez

February 6, 2010

In early December, there was a call from Mexico for artistic activities to occur in March 2010 around the world.

The purpose of this global initiative is to raise awareness about the continuing violence against women, in particular in Juarez City, Mexico.

Since 1993, more than 300 women have been sexually abused and then killed in Juarez, which sits just across the US-Mexican border from the Texan town of El Paso.

Very few perpetrators have been brought to justice and the killings continue. The Mexican government has shown itself incapable of stopping the violence.

Typically, victims are reported missing and their bodies are found days or months later — abandoned in vacant lots, outlying areas of the town or in the surrounding desert. In most cases there have been signs of sexual violence, abuse, torture and sometimes mutilation.

Most victims are maquiladora workers. Maquiladoras are factories that import materials and equipment from the US on a duty-free and tariff-free basis for assembly or manufacturing and then re-export the assembled product back to the US.

They have proliferated in the US-Mexico border region, especially since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. Most maquiladora workers are young women. Hours of work are long and working conditions are poor.

The one shining hope in this nightmare is the mothers' network that has sprung up to bring this horrendous wave of violence against women to an end. The mothers have asked for international shows of support around International Women's Day.

Sydney Action for Juarez is committed to raising awareness of this issue through artistic activities, media and political advocacy and fundraising to send money to one of the already existing organisations in Juarez.

Sydney Action for Juarez plans to march at the International Women's Day rally on March 6 under the banner "No More Femicides in Juarez City". It is also planning a concert on March 13.

[This article is abridged from a Sydney Action for Juarez leaflet. For more information or to find out how you can support the campaign, please contact Rosarela on (02) 9698 9949, email, or Liliana on 0450 376 672 or email]

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