Photo: Alejandro Cerezo
Attorney Alejandro Cerezo received Germany’s Aachen peace prize on behalf of Comite Cerezo, which works to defend human rights in Mexico.
“This is recognition of a collective 11-year effort that has been marked by death threats, harassment and the denunciation of issues that few organizations, unfortunately, document,” such as forced disappearances, extralegal executions and imprisonment for political reasons, Cerezo told Efe.
“Resolving the structural violence, that is, the systematic violence against human rights” would be “a good start” in achieving respect for human rights in Mexico, Cerezo said.
An effort must also be made to fight poverty and provide alternatives for people, the human rights activist said.
Antonio Cerezo, Alejandro’s brother and a fellow activist, said authorities’ arbitrary acts would not end until “the Mexican state decides to stop putting into practice laws and actions that violate human rights.”
There were 29 extralegal executions between January 2011 and May 2012, mainly in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, Antonio Cerezo said, adding that such acts continue to be “a sad reality.”
Thirty-eight human rights defenders disappeared and 158 politically motivated arrests occurred during the same period, the activist said.
Comite Cerezo was founded in 2001 following the arrests of brothers Alejandro, Hector and Antonio Cerezo Contreras.
The organization documents arbitrary actions by authorities across Mexico.
The Aachen international peace prize, which carries a cash award of 1,000 euros ($1,257) went to Comite Cerezo, while the German prize went to Berlin-based Borderline Europe, which monitors human rights at European Union entry points.