Femicide Reform Sought in Mexico

RFK Human Rights and CEDIMAC submitted observations on admissibility and merits in February 2021. The state will now present its response, and then the IACHR is expected to decide on both the admissibility and merits of the case.

Cristina Escobar González’s Murder Drives Push for Femicide Code Reform in Mexico

Cristina Escobar González worked in a maquila factory by day and as a dancer in a club by night in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. On the night of March 13, 2004, she met a man outside the club who offered Cristina 300 pesos to go to a hotel with him. With some outstanding bills to pay, she agreed. Hours later, after an anonymous call to an emergency tip line, authorities saw the man dragging Cristina’s body across the hotel bed. When they opened the door, they discovered Cristina had been killed.

The story Cristina’s killer told was this: In the middle of the night, she had grabbed him. He tried to stop her, they wrestled, and Cristina accidentally hit her head on a heater. He thought she had been knocked unconscious, but after realizing she was dead, he tried to hide her body.

Cristina’s status as a sex worker—and more importantly, a woman in Mexico—negatively affected her case from the start. Although an autopsy found severe wounds indicating violence that did not corroborate the man’s story, those details were not registered or considered by police on the scene. Evidence went missing. Police did not inform Cristina’s mother of her daughter’s death—she found out from a reporter who came to ask questions. Authorities involved in the investigation even sympathized with the murderer, taking the outlook that because he was a married man who was in a hotel room with another woman, he’ll face enough problems at home.

Cristina’s killer was eventually found guilty of homicide—not femicide, which was not a specific crime in the state of Chihuahua, as opposed to in federal legislation and in most other states in Mexico—and sentenced to eight years and six months of jail time. With time off for good behavior, he was released after less than four years in prison.

Why is This a Key Case?

Cristina was killed simply because she was a woman, something all too familiar in Mexico, Latin America, and other countries around the world. Today, she is one of the 55 femicide victims included in the Cotton Field Memorial in Ciudad Juárez ordered as a reparation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the 2010 Campo Algodonero case, which held the Mexican government responsible for the femicide of eight girls and women.

How is RFK Human Rights Supporting Cristina’s Case?

The organization and partner Center for the Integral Development of Women A.C. (CEDIMAC) continue litigating the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against Mexico for violating Cristina’s right to life and right to equal protection, among other rights recognized under Mexican and international law.

Name of the case (as it appears in the respective legal mechanism)

Cristina Escobar González et al. v. México

Month/Year of filing

May 2007 (RFKHR joined as co-counsel in 2015)

Legal mechanism in which the case is being litigated

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Rights and legal instruments alleged violated (OR found to have been violated)

Articles 1.1 (obligation to respect rights), 2 (domestic legal effects), 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 11 (right to privacy), 24 (right to equal protection), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights

Article 7 (to live free of violence) of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women “Convention of Belém do Pará”

Procedural stage



RFKHR and Centro para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer, A.C. – CEDIMAC

Case Partners

  • Centro para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer, A.C (CEDIMAC)

    We partnered with CEDIMAC to seek justice for victims of gender-based violence and impunity in the cases of Silvia Elena Rivera Morales et al. v. Mexico and Cristina Escobar González v. Mexico.