Saturday, April 28, 2012

Finland: Demand justice for killing of Jyri Jaakkola

On 27 April 2012, I attended a seminar in Helsinki in memory of Jyri Jaakkola, a Finnish activist who was killed in Mexico two years ago. The seminar titled "Mahdollisuus Oikeuteen Meksikossa? Jyri Jaakkolan Muistoseminaari", was organized by Amnesty International - Finnish Section, Helsinki University's Political and Economic studies department and Ius Gentium - the Finnish Society for International Law. Participants included lawyers, human rights defenders, activists, politicians, journalists and people from other walks of life. The family of Jyri Jaakkola was represented at the seminar.

According to Amnesty International, Jyri Jaakkola was killed on 27 April 2010 during at attack on human rights observers in Mexico's southern state of Oaxaca. The attack by armed men left the Finnish activist, Jyri Jaakkola, and a Mexican human rights defender, Bety Cariño, dead. Several other people, including journalists and observers from other countries like Germany, Italy and Belgium, who were part of an International Caravan of Human Rights Defenders were wounded. The group of about 30 people was ambushed while on its way to document human rights violations in the indigenous Triqui area. [Source].

Two years after the armed attack that left two human rights defenders dead and many other people wounded, the Mexican authorities have brought no one to justice.

During the seminar in memory of Jyri Jaakkola, exactly two years after he was killed, a petition to Mexico's Attorney General, Marisela Morales Ibañez, demanding justice for the killings, was circulated for signing. According to information on the petition by Amnesty International in Finland, the investigation into the killings has not come to fruition. No one has been brought to justice and the government of Mexico's efforts to protect human rights defenders will not been realized unless the government shows a strong will to stop impunity. Amnesty International demands that crimes against human rights defenders, like Jyri Jaakkola and Berty Cariño, should be thoroughly and promptly investigated. The organization notes that the lack of witness protection slows investigations and demands that Mexico ensures that witnesses receive the protection they need to enable them voluntarily testify without fear of retribution.

I encourage you to sign the petition demanding justice for the killings Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño. I signed it already. The petition is in Finnish, but don't worry if you do not understand the language. Simply fill in the required fields in the form - keeping in mind that: "Etunimi" means first name, "sukunimi" means surname and "paikkakunta" means town. (P.s. that is Finnish 101 for you). Check the boxes blow the petition form if you want your name to appear on the front page of the petition and if you want Amnesty to send you information about petitions, campaigns and other activities. It is worth highlighting that Amnesty International has been demanding justice in this case since 2010.

We must not forget Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño. Take action now.

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