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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 08:08 GMT
Women demand Mexico murder probe
Police comb the area where the women's bodies were discovered
In November, eight bodies were found near the US border
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By Nick Miles
BBC Mexico City correspondent
line

A coalition of women's groups from Mexico and the United States has called for a joint taskforce to investigate the murders of hundreds of women in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez.

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission says almost 270 have been murdered in the town since 1993.


We have a serious human rights issue here - the brutal murders of women have been allowed to continue unabated

US Congresswoman Norma Chaves
The women's groups called for the taskforce on the basis of FBI suggestions that the murders may involve suspects living in the United States.

At a press conference in the Texan border town of El Paso, Texas state congresswoman Norma Chaves said the failure to stop the nine-year killing spree was a disgrace.

She called for urgent action. "We have a serious human rights issue here," she said.

"The brutal murders of women have been allowed to continue unabated."

Reward

The Coalition on Violence Against Women and Families on the Border, the women's group headed by Mrs Chaves, said it also wanted to set up a reward fund for information that led to the arrest of the killers.

Most of the victims were raped and strangled, their bodies left in mass graves in the desert surrounding Ciudad Juarez.

One of the relatives of an earlier victim painted crosses to remember those killed
Families are angry at what they say is police inaction
Many of those killed had worked late night shifts in the US-owned component factories that dominate the local economy.

Although a number of people have been arrested in connection with the killings, the murders have continued.

In November, the bodies of eight women were discovered in a cotton field near the border with the United States.

In the light of the public outcry that followed, the Mexican President Vincente Fox called for federal officers to help the local authorities investigate the unsolved murders.

See also:

09 Nov 01 | Americas
Mexico's serial killer fears renewed
09 Sep 99 | Americas
Mexico's murder town
03 Aug 98 | Americas
FBI hunts for Mexico killer
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