Sandra Alarcón is a 25 year old human rights lawyer, working for the Human Rights Centre of Montaña de Tlachinolan, in the state of Guerrero. Mexico. The Centre supports anybody who has suffered human right abuses in Guerrero, particularly from indigenous communities. Guerrero is a complex state with high levels of violence. Organised crime has a strong presence. The dirty drugs war and the resulting militarisation, has led to more human rights violations. Rates of violence against women are exceptionally high and impunity is a historic problem.
Sandra as worked on the gender violence case of Valentina Rosendo Cantú. Valentina, a Mepá indigenous woman, was sexually tortured by eight soldiers of the Mexican army, in 2002 when she was 17 years old. The impunity of the armed forces was the rule and she was even refused medical assistance when she reported what happened.
Sandra and Valentina could not get justice at local nor at national level, so they took the case to the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights and the Interamerican court. In 2010 a verdict was issued against the Mexican state declaring that the armed forces sexually tortured Valentina Rosendo Cantu. 16 years after the attack, in June 2018, they succeeded in getting a sentence for two of the aggressors. This was a historic moment because it is the first case that having gone to the Interamerican system, achieved a sentence at national level.
"What keeps me here in Guerrero is the possibility of making a difference, however small and that’s why I continue as a human rights worker. We work as a team. The people we work for, Like Valentina are my hope, my motive. The work of a human rights defender is hard and without their example, I wouldn’t continue. Their example and the possibility of supporting them is what makes me continue here" Sandra Alarcón