"This is no longer the CNDH but Okupa, a refuge for women"

Feminist collectives settle at the CNDH (National Commission of Human Rights) until authorities address their demands

  • 10/09/2020
  • 20:19 hrs
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This is no longer the CNDH but Okupa, a refuge for women
"This is no longer the National Commission of Human Rights. It's Okupa, Ni Una Menos, and Frente Feminista Bloque Negro refuge from the moment of its occupation. (Cuartoscuro)

"I am in what use to be the CNDH," Erika Martínez affirms. She listens to herself, certain of what she says, speaks without hesitation, and thus directly confirms to La Silla Rota, "this is no longer the National Commission of Human Rights. It's Okupa, Ni Una Menos, and Frente Feminista Bloque Negro refuge from the moment of its occupation. And the first inhabitant who requested shelter is me because I have been living on the street for three years."

This morning she and Silvia Castillo left Cuba 60 in the historic center, to attend a meeting with the Secretary of Interior, Olga Sánchez Cordero. In the assembly Fabiola Alanís, head of the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women, and Alicia Leal, technical Secretary of the Inter-institutional Group of Strategies against Violence (GIEV) were also present. There, Erika raised the abuse that her daughter suffered, and together with Silvia, demanded justice for both cases.

Segob's official statement reported, "Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero emphasized that they will forge ahead with their claims and give them a solution as a Mexican State. "She instructed the commissioner of Conavim to visits the different states and listen to the victims because "this working group intends to provide a timely response to the demands."


She remains with that impression a few hours after the meeting. However,  grants a vote of trust to the Ex-Minister of Court, this is not a blind vote. "We are waiting for an answer because they are studying our requests; it is a small step, but a great achievement and Mrs. Sánchez Cordero promised to hear each of our cases."

What justice do you expect?

-My daughter's attack occurred in November 2017.

Her aggressor is free because the judge ruled that he could not violate her rights. Those are the authorities and the laws. I am asking for justice for my daughter.

But Erika doesn't just want to see the attacker arrested; her justice concept is broader, "I am from Mexico City, and in my case, I want justice. I want everything: for this man to pay because we already have the evidence, I want reparation for the damage and security for my daughters and all my family, I want a decent and free place of violence ". She refers specifically to the incident of Madero's portrait made by plastic artist Juan Manuel Núñez. A photograph that quickly spread on social networks when feminists and Erika's daughter painted red lips, colored shadows on the eyelids, and purple hair on the historical figure. President López Obrador condemned the scene, saying, whoever does something like that is a conservative. "I want a public apology - not from the president - but from the artist who drew the painting that my daughter sketched and for which he was outraged. The best thing would be if he gave her this painting as a symbol of not wanting to force my daughter by making that comparison. "


Erika says that she is a people for the people. And returning the property to the CNDH was not part of the meeting with Sánchez Cordero. "At no time was the issue of returning the place discussed. And we are not in a position to leave because we already have many families here. Right now, a family is on the way, and there are 40 people."

"We are victims helping other victims, the CNDH has already come for their documents, and others are under lock and key, but we have not touched them. We do not know if those filing cabinets contain documents, but when they come, we are going to hand them out. We need the place, not the things, " she clarifies.

"In this occupation," she describes, "the offices ceased to become bedrooms"; she sleeps with her daughters and other victims, eight people can fit. "It depends on the size of the office, it is the number of people who sleep in these, now, rooms. The kitchen is huge! An industrial kitchen. We battled in the shower because we had to improvise it in the men's bathroom; we bathed in buckets, we heated the water with resistance in a bucket. Someone said that they were going to shut down services to leave. When that moment comes, we will think of a solution. We can cook with charcoal or firewood. And if they take away the electricity, we will light with candles ".

"We have already demonstrated that we have come and gone to work; we are working for these victims. With or without justice, we are not going to leave the place. What happened to my daughter also happened to other children, and these children also need this. We demonstrated that the government was not interested in us and that it was only by exerting pressure that we obtained a response. Thanks to the support of citizens, other victims, feminist groups, the LGTB community who have brought us food and mats. We had demonstrations, visualized our concerns with murals, we did many things but went unheard. It was necessary to do this because they have already promised that they will address and deliver. If a political party were involved, as they say, perhaps I would already be with a house. "

Traducción: Valenitna K. Yanes