Alba Cruz is a human rights lawyer and the juridical coordinator of for Codigo-DH in Oaxaca State, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped states in Mexico, with a large, highly marginalised, indigenous population.
PBI’s accompaniment of Alba began when she was working for the November 25 Liberation Committee, following threats against her and her colleagues in 2009.
Codigo-DH was created in January 2011 but arose from the closure of the November 25 Liberation Committee, and continues much of the Committee’s work. It offers legal aid, psychological support and medical attention to victims of human rights violations, as well as promoting access to justice and challenging impunity.
The November 25 Committee was established following the wave of human rights violations on 25 November 2006, when 139 people were arbitrarily detained and imprisoned, with many tortured, and houses and schools raided. The Committee estimated that during 2006-7, there were 502 arbitrary detentions, as well as 26 killings in which the authorities were implicated, 246 cases of torture, and seven forced disappearances.
Along with other organisations, the Committee was instrumental in seeking justice for the victims of what has become known as the ‘Oaxaca Case‘. In October 2009, as a result of their efforts, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that Ulíses Ruiz, Oaxaca’s Governor, and other public officials were responsible for the violation of a range of rights, including the right to life, freedom and physical integrity.
Alba is also the defence lawyer for trade union leader Marcelino Coache. Marcelino was detained illegally and tortured in April 2009 but has still not obtained justice or reparation. He and his family continue being victims of harassment, threats and attacks despite being beneficiaries of precautionary measures from the IACHR since 2009.
In spite of national and international recognition of her work, Alba continues to be threatened and harassed in connection with the cases she represents. She has been the target of physical and verbal attacks, and her car was tampered with several times.