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World News

Indigenous minority women in Mexico denied religious freedom as basic services taken away

by Sophie Drew

Indigenous minority women in Mexico are not being given religious freedoms, a Christian charity claims.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide has published an in-depth report stating that attacks on religious freedoms and human rights in Mexico are gender-specific, meaning women are most often the victims. 

The report – Let Her Be Heard - explores the experiences of 25 indigenous women and two mestiza women from religious minority communities.

These women represent a sector of the population that is marginalised in multiple ways, including by their ethnic and linguistic identity, their socio-economic status, their gender and their religious beliefs.

One participant - Mrs Martínez Hernández – suffered a hernia after carrying water from the river to her house.

Following a surgery, she was unable to access the water for herself. 

When people tried to help her, they were threatened by the local authorities.

Mrs Martínez Hernández claims that the authorities told her to renounce her religion – that was the only way they would permit her access to water. 

When she refused to sign a contract denouncing her faith, she lost access to water and sewage services for a year. 

The report includes further examples of freedom of religion violations, including pressured or forced participation in religious majority activities, harassment by the religious majority, threats or attacks on property and land, being unable to access justice, and denial of access to government benefit programmes and basic services

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