The Per Anger Prize 2023: She demands justice for disappeared and murdered women in Mexico

Malú García Andrade. Photo: Nikola Anakabe

Human rights defender Malú García Andrade from Mexico is awarded the Per Anger Prize 2023 for her efforts to support the families of disappeared and murdered daughters. She demands that murders of women are investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

Human rights defender and lawyer Malú García Andrade from Ciudad Juárez in Mexico heads a support organisation for families seeking justice for their disappeared and murdered daughters. For over 20 years, she has demanded that judicial authorities and lawmakers take crimes against women seriously, that the murders are investigated, and that those responsible are punished.

“Families need to know their rights so they can demand restitution, and the state must bring the perpetrators to justice and stop widespread impunity. Not until then can girls and women live without violence and fear”, says Malú García Andrade.

In February 2001, the prizewinner’s own sister was murdered. During several years, her family demanded justice and redress, but in vain. Mexico is a country steeped in patriarchal structures and marked by corruption. On average, ten women and girls are murdered every day. Many of these are femicides – the murder of women simply because they are women.

Since the death of her sister, Malú García Andrade has kept the struggle alive. She has represented hundreds of families against authorities that have been unwilling or unable to bring perpetrators to justice. Today, she is one of the prominent figures of the Mexican human rights movement in the work against femicide.

The prizewinner and her family have repeatedly been subjected to death threats and attempts to kill or kidnap them. They now live with bodyguards and protected identities.

“Malú García Andrade wages a tireless struggle for the rights of girls and women in Mexico. In spite of the mortal danger to herself and her family, she refuses to back down and instead demands that murders committed against women stop going unpunished”, says Petra Mårselius Director General of the Living History Forum and Chairperson of the Per Anger Prize jury.

The jury’s motivation

“María Luisa García Andrade shows enormous courage in her fight for all the women who have disappeared and been murdered in Mexico. In an extremely violent environment, she demands that the state investigates femicides and that the guilty are sentenced. She works tirelessly to provide support for affected families, pushes for legal reforms, and refuses to give up even after she and her family have been forced to live in hiding. Her determination and unconditional courage is inspiring and provides hope for change.”

About the Per Anger Prize

The prize is the Swedish Government’s international prize for human rights and democracy. The prize was established in 2004 in memory of the efforts of diplomat Per Anger during the Second World War, when he saved Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. The Living History Forum has been tasked by the government to award the prize annually.

Nine international organisations participated in the nomination work for this year’s Per Anger Prize: Afrikagrupperna, Amnesty International Sweden, Civil Rights DefendersDiakonia, The Kvinna till Kvinna FoundationIM – Swedish Development PartnerSave the ChildrenWe Effect, and the Church of Sweden.

This year’s prizewinner was nominated by Amnesty International Sweden.

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