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Digna Ochoa

Digna Ochoa y Placido was a Mexican lawyer dedicated to human rights in her homeland. Human rights in Mexico has been precarious historically. In the 1970s, while denouncing human rights violations elsewhere, the Mexican government "disappeared" people as it waged counterinsurgency. By the early 1990's, torture was an established practice although overt political repression had abated. However the 1994 uprising in Chiapas refocused the repression on human rights defenders, as well as perceived or actual supporters of three insurgencies. It is in this backdrop that Digna worked, despite threats and abductions. In 2000, she was forced to leave and lived in Washington, DC, where we really got to know her and witnessed her sense of humor, her steadfastness and dedication to improving peoples' lives, and her courage in her determination to return to Mexico, which she did. She was assassinated in her office on Friday evening, October 19, 2001.