PBI UK director Susi Bascon, Baroness D'Souza, Tita Radilla and PBI Mexico in-country coordinator Michael Tamblyn at the House of LordsRosendo Radilla Pacheco, a respected community leader, disappeared in 1974 after being stopped at an army checkpoint in Mexico’s Guerrero state. In July 2009, his became the first case of forced disappearance to be brought against the Mexican Government: the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is due in December. His daughter, Tita Radilla, vice-president of the Mexican Association of Relatives of the Detained, Disappeared and Victims of Human Rights Violations (AFADEM), was in London between 29 October and 7 November 2009, to raise awareness and support for the case and for the struggle against impunity in Mexico.
 

Visit to the UK

Tita met with Members of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn, Dai Davies and Mark Pritchard of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group and former Latin America Minister Tony Lloyd, and with Lord Joffe, Lord Brennan, Baroness Miller and Baroness D'Souza from the House of Lords. She met eight officials of the Foreign Office, including the desk officer and head of section for Mexico. She spoke with Amnesty International, with lawyers representing the Law Society, the International Bar Association, the Bar Human Rights Committee and the Solicitors Human Rights Group and with the high court judge Peter Roth and former Lord Justice Sir Henry Brooke. She also met with former UN rapporteur on torture and current PBI UK patron Sir Nigel Rodley and Dr Clara Sandoval at Essex University. She was interviewed by journalists and by an academic from Sheffield University writing a book.

Along with Michael Tamblyn, PBI Mexico's in-country coordinator, Tita told her story at public events at the Frontline Club, Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Canning House, the University of Essex Law School, and the Institute for Latin American Studies, where screenings of the film 12.511 - Rosendo Radilla case: An Open Wound from Mexico's Dirty War were also shown. These events drew around 500 attendees, among them many journalists, lawyers, judges, academics, students, activists and politicians as well as members of the general public, and were chaired by experts in their fields, including former senior law lord, Lord Bingham of Cornhill KG, who chaired the lawyer's event at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

During her visit Tita spoke about her experiences during 35 years of working to discover the truth about the numerous people forcibly disappeared during Mexico's 'Dirty War'. She acknowledged the progress that has been made as well as the set backs suffered, explaining the context, both of the conflict and of the current conditions that have led to the Rosendo Radilla case being heard in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as an emblematic case of forced disappearance in Mexico.
 
A large number of influential people expressed concern about her situation and committed to monitoring Mexico's fulfillment of the sentence, if the court rules in favour of Tita and ADAFEM. Tita also urged them to do whatever they could to pressure the Mexican government to resolve, investigate and sanction those responsible for forced disappearances.

"It’s very important for the world to know what happened in Mexico," Said Tita.

“People say ‘don’t re-open the wound’. Re-open? The wound has always been open. It never healed."

Tita’s security and protection is PBI's ultimate concern. It is crucial that she is able to make her plea for justice without fear of intimidation. Tita had the opportunity to meet many in the British political sphere, who expressed their commitment to ensuring Tita’s protection as mandated by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the European Union’s Guidelines for the protection of Human Rights Defenders.

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