Freedom House Addresses Murder of Mexican Human Rights Defender in Letter | Freedom House

Freedom House Addresses Murder of Mexican Human Rights Defender in Letter

Washington, D.C.

In the wake of the recent murder of Mr. Ricardo Murillo, a well-known human rights activist, co-founder of the organization Frente Civico Sinaloense, and resident of the Mexican state of Sinaloa, Freedom House sent a letter to the governor of Sinaloa. In the letter, Freedom House demanded a full investigation of Mr. Murillo's death, as well as guarantees of protection for other members of the Frente Civico Sinaloense and for all residents of Sinaloa. The text of the letter is below. 

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

C. Jesús Alberto Aguilar Padilla
Constitutional Governor of the State of Sinaloa

Dear Mr. Aguilar Padilla:

Freedom House wishes to express its indignation about the recent murder of Mr. Ricardo Murillo, a well-known human rights defender and a member of the Frente Civico Sinaloense. On the night of September 5th, Mr. Murillo was taken from his offices by unknown agents, and was found executed at 1:00 am on September 6th, inside a vehicle parked in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa.

Freedom House believes that Mr. Murillo’s death may be the consequence of his tireless work in the defense of human rights in the state of Sinaloa. This includes his denunciations of human rights abuses, as well as his litigation of cases of torture and human rights abuses that were allegedly carried out by state agents. Mr. Murillo was cofounder of the Frente Civico Sinaloense and worked tirelessly educating, supporting citizen participation, and defending and promoting human rights in Sinaloa. His work was a real contribution to justice in Mexico and brought international credit to a country in the process of democratic reform.

Freedom House requests that an exhaustive and impartial investigation be conducted immediately by the state, with the objective that the planners and executors of this homicide be sanctioned according to the stipulations of the law. At the same time, Freedom House urges that the authorities take the necessary measures to guarantee the security of the remaining members of the Frente Civico Sinaloense, and especially Ms. Mercedes Murillo, president of the organization and sister of Mr. Murillo. Finally, Freedom House demands that the authorities guarantee the protection of all residents of Sinaloa against all violence, threats, discrimination, pressure, or any other kind of arbitrary action resulting from the legitimate exercise of the rights established within the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights Defenders, approved by the General Assembly on 1998. Respect for these norms will strengthen the international leadership of Mexico in the promotion of human rights.

Freedom House will continue to closely monitor the efforts of the authorities as they seek clarification of this case, and regarding the protection of Ms. Mercedes Murillo and other members of the Frente Civico Sinaloense.

Since its founding in 1941, Freedom House has been dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights around the world and has conducted programs in Mexico with human rights defenders and victims of abuse from 2003 to 2006.


Jennifer Windsor
Executive Director

C. Luis Antonio Cárdenas Fonseca
General Attorney State of Sinaloa
Lic. Conzuelo Gutiérrez Gutiérrez
Visitadora General and Chief of Staff of the President
State Commission for Human Rights of Sinaloa

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.