Workers’ Support Centre (CAT) Member Kidnapped, Beaten and Threatened With Death in Puebla, Mexico

May 18, 2012

The Workers’ Support Centre (Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador, CAT), an NGO that defends labour rights in Mexico, has been subjected to harassment since 2008. MoveUP joins trade unions and human rights organisations from around the world in calling for the authorities to guarantee the lives of CAT members.

Add your voice! Click here to send a message to Mexican authorities.

MEXICO: On May 15, four hooded individuals in a van kidnapped the labour and human rights defender, José Enrique Morales Montaño, a member of the Workers’ Support Centre (Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador, CAT).

At approximately 1 pm, Morales set off to attend a hearing at the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board in the city of Puebla, in connection with a case in which CAT is defending a group of textile industry workers. He was kidnapped at approximately 5pm and tortured. The kidnappers repeatedly held a gun to his head and threatened to kill him. At approximately 5 am on the next morning, he was left on the Puebla-Veracruz highway. The kidnappers stole his mobile phone and rucksack. The death threats continued. During the morning, Blanca Velásquez, CAT director took a telephone call on behalf of José Enrique. "You are going to die, dog", said the caller.

The kidnapping took place in a context of systematic harassment and serious threats against CAT. Other members of the CAT team are clearly at imminent risk. Regrettably, this is not the first time that CAT members and offices have been attacked or the first time its members have been threatened. CAT has been subjected to harassment since 2008, mainly by multinational companies. CAT is a non-governmental organisation, which promotes and defends labour rights. Its work has highlighted the precarious working conditions to which workers are subjected on a daily basis.

MoveUP expressed our concern and indignation in a letter to Mexican authorities that labour and human rights defenders have to work in a climate of harassment and that their physical integrity is often violated simply because they are exercising their right to defend human rights.

MoveUP joins trade unions and human rights organizations from around the world in supporting the following demands of Mexican authorities:

  • Guarantee the life, physical integrity and security of José Enrique Morales Montaño and the other members of CAT.
  • Fulfil their obligation to conduct an effective and vigorous investigation that meets the highest international standards, into this attack and the repeated threats, identify those responsible for the kidnapping, beating and robbery of Enrique Morales Montaño and the threats against him and other members of CAT and prosecute and punish them in accordance with the law.
  • Ensure application of the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" and Article 12.2, which states that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration" (Art. 12.2)

Demand justice. Add your voice by contacting Mexican authorities. Click here to send an email or use the contact information below.

Dr. Alejandro Poiré Romero
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez, México D.F., C.P.06600, México
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414

Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Edificio “Héctor Fix Zamudio”, Blvd. Adolfo
López Mateos 1922, 6° piso, Col. Tlacopac San Ángel, Del. Álvaro Obregón, C.P. 01040, México, D.F.
Tels. y fax (55) 56 81 81 25 y 54 90 74 00

Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Fiscal General de la República
Av. Paseo de la Reforma 211-213
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P. 06500, México
Fax: +52 555 346 0908

Lic. Omeheira López Reyna
Unidad para la Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, SEGOB.
Tel: 52 5551280000, Ext: 11875 o +52

Fernando Manzanilla Prieto
Secretario General de Puebla
14 Oriente 1204, Col. Barrio del Alto, C.P. 72290, Puebla, Puebla
Tel: 01 (222) 213 89 01

Mtro. Adolfo López Badillo
Presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Estado de Puebla
Avenida 15 de Mayo 22929 Fraccionamiento las Hadas, 72070 Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza,

Victoria Pacheco Jimenez
Assistant Attorney General for Regional Control, Criminal Proceedings and Amparo
Reforma No. 211, ninth floor, Col. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500, delegation Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, Federal District
53460396 o 53464772