* Jessica Gonzales with picture of her daughters
Domestic Violence Victim Goes Before International Human Rights Commission to Sue U.S.
In a history-making human rights challenge against the United States, Jessica Gonzales, spoke out publicly last week in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Gonzales lost her three daughters after they were kidnapped by her estranged husband, and later killed in his standoff with Colorado police.
Her domestic violence protection claims were then rejected by the U.S. Supreme
Court. Gonzales, who was represented by the ACLU, is the first victim of
domestic violence to bring an individual complaint against the United States for
international human rights violations.
"I brought this petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights because I have exhausted all avenues in the United States and still there has been no justice for my little girls,”
said Gonzales. “Police must be required to enforce restraining orders or else
these orders are meaningless. We need to hold the U.S. government accountable."
Gonzales was living in Colorado when her three young daughters, Rebecca,
age 10, Katheryn, age eight and Leslie, age seven, were killed after local
police failed to enforce a restraining order against her estranged husband.
The girls were abducted by their father and although Gonzales repeatedly called the
police, telling them of her fears for the safety of her daughters, the police
failed to respond. Several hours later, Gonzales’ husband drove to the police
station with a gun and opened fire. The police shot and killed him, and then
discovered the bodies of the three girls in the back of his pickup truck.
"In domestic violence cases such as Jessica’s, international bodies provide access to redress when the home country fails to act," said Steven Watt, an attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program.
Gonzales filed a lawsuit against the police, but in June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court found that she had no constitutional right to police enforcement of her restraining order.
To learn more about the Gonzales case, go to: