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Letter to Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico

Congress Urges Mexican President to Solve Murders of Women in Ciudad Juarez

Today, Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA), along with 93 Members of Congress, sent a letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderón urging him to take action to eliminate violence against women and make solving the murders of women in Ciudad Juárez a top priority in his administration. The letter was signed by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Ranking Member Dan Burton, and more than 90 other Members of Congress.

Specifically, the letter asks President Calderón to encourage state and local law enforcement to renew their efforts to solve older cases of murders of women in Ciudad Juárez, before the 14-year statute of limitations expires on more cases.

A copy of the letter and list of signers can be found below.

Dear President Calderón:

As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are concerned with the brutal murders of young women and girls in Ciudad Juárez and throughout the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, we are writing to commend you for the progress that you have made in combating femicide and making the elimination of violence against women a top priority of your administration.

We thank you for the commitment that you have made in the first months of your presidency and respectfully request that you reinforce that commitment by increasing funding and updating penal codes associated with recent laws to prevent violence against women. We also request that law enforcement in Ciudad Juárez and the State of Chihuahua make a renewed commitment to solve older cases of murders of women in Ciudad Juárez before the 14-year statute of limitations expires.

Since 1993, over 400 young women have been murdered in Ciudad Juárez and the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. Over 150 of these victims were sexually assaulted before they were murdered. More than half of the victims have been women and girls between the ages of 13 and 22, and many of the victims have yet to be positively identified. In May 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate both passed House Concurrent Resolution 90. The resolution expressed the sympathy of Congress to the families of the young women murdered in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, and encouraged increased United States involvement in bringing an end to these crimes. We are very pleased that the Mexican Federal Government has made good-faith efforts in recent years to combat violence against women in Ciudad Juárez and throughout Mexico. Nevertheless, the brutal assaults and murders continue to occur.

The federal law prohibiting violence against women that you signed into law in February 2007 is a critical step to reduce such violence in Mexico. We respectfully request that you include adequate funding to implement this law in the budget for the next fiscal year, particularly for the portion of the law creating a National System to Prevent, Attend to, Sanction and Eradicate Violence Against Women. As you know, this important system will provide coordination between various federal offices needed to implement the law.

In addition to ensuring funding for the violence against women law, a number of key changes to penal codes can be implemented to achieve the important goals of the law. On the federal level, we respectfully request that penal codes be modified to increase penalties for violence against women. Likewise, it would be useful for similar violence against women laws to be passed at the state level and for the state-level penal codes to be modified to ensure full implementation of the new federal law. We respectfully request that you encourage Mexican states to pass the laws needed to implement the broad guidelines of the federal violence against women law. In Chihuahua, a state violence against women law was enacted earlier this year. With your support for state-level laws throughout your country, more states can make important progress to end violence against women.

We applaud your efforts to update laws to eradicate violence against women. With this progress, we ask that you also fight against impunity for past murders of women in Ciudad Juárez. As you know, some of the earliest documented and unsolved murders of women in Ciudad Juárez occurred in 1993, and the statute of limitations for murder in Mexico is only 14 years. Families have fought for 14 years for answers about the murders of their daughters, wives and sisters, and many have been ignored or dismissed by local law enforcement. Now, for an increasing number, the statute of limitations has expired in their quest for justice.

While there has been some progress in investigating the more recent crimes, the murders of women killed 14 years ago cannot be forgotten. We respectfully urge you to encourage state and local law enforcement to renew their efforts to solve these older cases of murders of women in Ciudad Juárez, before the statute of limitations expires on more cases.

We appreciate your early leadership in combating violence against women and very much hope to work closely with you on this issue in the coming years. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Rep. Hilda L. Solis

Rep. Joe Baca

Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Rep. Xavier Becerra

Rep. Howard Berman

Rep. Judy Biggert

Rep. Madeleine Bordallo

Rep. Dan Burton

Rep. Lois Capps

Rep. Julia Carson

Rep. Donna Christensen

Rep. Yvette Clarke

Rep. Stephen Cohen

Rep. John Conyers

Rep. Joseph Crowley

Rep. Danny Davis

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

Rep. Peter DeFazio

Rep. Bill Delahunt

Rep. Diana DeGette

Rep. Mike Doyle

Rep. Eliot Engel

Rep. Chaka Fattah

Rep. Luis Fortuño

Rep. Barney Frank

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez

Rep. Al Green

Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Rep. Maurice Hinchey

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa

Rep. David Hobson

Rep. Rush Holt

Rep. Mike Honda

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Rep. Marcy Kaptur

Rep. Patrick Kennedy

Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Rep. Jim Langevin

Rep. Tom Lantos

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Sander Levin

Rep. John Lewis

Rep. Zoe Lofgren

Rep. Stephen Lynch

Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy

Rep. Betty McCollum

Rep. Jim McGovern

Rep. Michael McNulty

Rep. Gregory Meeks

Rep. Michael Michaud

Rep. Brad Miller

Rep. Gwen Moore

Rep. Jim Moran

Rep. Patrick Murphy

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Grace Napolitano

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Rep. James Oberstar

Rep. John Olver

Rep. Solomon Ortiz

Rep. Ed Pastor

Rep. Donald Payne

Rep. Todd Russell Platts

Rep. Silvestre Reyes

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez

Rep. Steve Rothman

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

Rep. Bobby Rush

Rep. Linda Sánchez

Rep. Loretta Sanchez

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Rep. Adam Schiff

Rep. Jean Schmidt

Rep. Joe Sestak

Rep. Christopher Shays

Rep. Albio Sires

Rep. Louise Slaughter

Rep. Adam Smith

Rep. Betty Sutton

Rep. Edolphus Towns

Rep. Tom Udall

Rep. Nydia Velázquez

Rep. Diane Watson

Rep. Henry Waxman

Rep. Robert Wexler

Rep. Lynn Woolsey

Rep. Albert Wynn


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