Mariclaire Acosta


Mariclaire Acosta Urquida born November 7, 1948. Mexican human rights advocate. First woman to hold position of Utrecht University UNESCO Human Rights Chair. Representative, Amnesty International, Mexico section, 1977-84. Founding director, Mexican Academy of Human Rights, 1984-89. Chairperson, Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, 1990-2000. Special Ambassador for Human Rights and Democracy, 2000; Secretary of Human Rights and Democracy in Foreign Ministry, 2001-03. Director, Freedom House Mexico, 2011-present. Coordinated mediation in peace talks with Zapatistas, Chiapas, 1994.


There are no magic solutions to human rights violations, but with the establishment of this office we are opening up to international scrutiny.” (thenewsMexico, Dec. 7, 2002)

The human rights situation in Mexico is dire. This is primarily a result of the lack of structural reforms of the criminal justice system and policing—we are still living under the legacy of authoritarianism. . . as well as the misguided strategy of fighting a 'war' against the drug cartels. The consequences of this 'war' have been thousands of disappearances, several hundred extrajudicial executions, several thousand internally displaced persons, the institutionalization of torture and detention without charges, and last but not least, the deaths of almost 50,000 people.” (Freedom House interview, June 26, 2012; photo