Helping 49 Families Fight For Justice

You can help! Share our video & sign the Avaaz petition.

(Para Español)

Six years ago, on June 5, 2009, a fire in the daycare Guardería ABC in Hermosillo, Sonora claimed the lives of 49 children and seriously injured dozens more.  The fire started in a warehouse next door and quickly spread to the daycare, which despite having several dangerous safety violations, had continued to pass inspections by civil authorities–the result of deep-rooted corruption within the Mexican government.

To date, the Mexican government has not conducted an official comprehensive investigation, nor prosecuted a single civil authority responsible for the daycare operations.  Furthermore, the nursery system in Mexico is a state-run institution, which places a responsibility on the Mexican government to ensure safety standards are met. Six years later, the families of the Guardería ABC victims are still on a quest for justice, access to truth, and effective guarantees of non-repetition.

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Last year, N-Map travelled to Mexico to film the annual march in Hermosillo on the fifth anniversary of the Guardería ABC fire.  With our partners, the Movimiento 5 de Junio (M5J) and the Centro Prodh, we conceptualized and produced a video to position the families’ stories and struggles as a centerpiece of the legal petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to refer the case to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.  The families’ stories are as painful as they are strong.  They have tried and exhausted all their options for justice in Mexico and are now seeking international help.  The video N-Map produced was included in the families’ petition and screened at a special session with Commissioners during an audience the families and their lawyer requested with the IACHR in Washington, D.C. last October. The Commission is now analyzing the case for admissibility in the international system based on violations of the right to life; personal integrity; judicial guarantees and protection; and child protection.  In our video, you will learn the history of the families’ pain, but also of their fight for justice, in their own voices.

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The sixth anniversary of the tragedy was last week, and citizens marched in Mexico City, Hermosillo and several more cities, to continue asking for justice and truth.  At N-Map, we decided to use the material we developed to help civil society demonstrate its desire for justice in this case. N-Map worked with our partners to develop a strategy to show civil society’s support for the case to the Commission by creating a shorter version of our video in order to support a petition on Avaaz sponsored by the digital rights collective ContingenteMX which urges the IACHR to accept the Guardería ABC case.  In less than a week, over 27,000 signatures were collected online and countless more people signed a mural installed by Avaaz in the Zocalo at the heart of Mexico City, showing that people in Mexico and worldwide are looking for justice.

This case is urgent not only in its search for justice for the sons and daughters lost or injured in the Guardería ABC fire, but because it is looking to break the cycle of impunity that pervades Mexican governance and politics.  Obtaining justice for the lives lost in the fire six years ago also means securing protection for the millions of children currently under the care of IMSS-run daycare facilities.  As Stephanie Brewer, the family’s lawyer at Centro Prodh, states in the video, “in 2009 only .3% of daycares passed with adequate safety regulations. This means a significant number of children are at risk.” There have been other incidents in daycares since 2009 and a high probability of more tragedies occurring, further proving that this fight for justice and for protections is a critical and timely last resort. The families of the Guardería ABC are looking for justice for their children, but they are also looking for state remedies to ensure that this kind of tragedy does not occur again.

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Everyone in Mexico has a stake in this fight for justice, whether it’s for protecting their own children or the children of loved ones.  It is our hope that the Mexican government can hold those responsible accountable, respond to the families’ requests for answers, and take measures so that a tragedy like this never happens again.  With the support of Mexican citizens and people worldwide, this is possible

Watch the video, sign and share the petition, and support justice.

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