“Their weapon was their T-shirts.” – Obtilia Eugenio Manuel
“I am very grateful to PBI because it is very useful. I like how they work: their weapon was their T-shirts.” – Obtilia Eugenio Manuel
Obtilia defends the rights of the Tlapanec people in the state of Guerrero, Mexico and founded the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).
Peace Brigades International accompanied Obtilia between 2005 and 2011.
Obtilia has always worked to demand the right to a dignified life free of violence in the Mountain of Guerrero. She continues to be subjected to threats, surveillance and harassment because of her work defending indigenous rights. In February 2019 she was the victim of kidnapping and forced disappearance with her colleague Hilario Cornelio Castro.
When Obtilia was disappeared on February 12, 2019, PBI entities around the world, including PBI-Canada, alerted officials, allies and the broader public around the world via email and social media about the urgency of this situation.
We believe that opening the eyes of the world to activities being carried out in certain places increases their visibility to such an extent that it dissuades the armed actors involved, be they legal or illegal, from doing things that violate human rights.
We collectively raised the profile of this disappearance and pressured the government of Guerrero to implement urgent measures to locate Obtilia and Hilario.
By February 17, 2019, they were both released.
To read a Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project interview with Obtilia in their 2019 annual report, please click here.
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