Peter Gabriel asks for political will and muscle to end impunity over Ciudad Juarez’s dead women

Peter Gabriel, the musician and activist, implored Mexico President Felipe Calderon to show "real political will, muscle and budget" in investigating the hundreds of unsolved murders of young women in the border town of Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua Friday.

Speaking to a packed press conference through a translator, and flanked by Mexican film star Diego Luna and musician Saul Hernandez from the band Jaguares, Gabriel said that he asks no more young women have to suffer the same fate as more than the 300 girls and young women who have been murdered in the border town since 1993.

He also asked that "all those families who are still suffering an enormous pain have the chance to find out the truth of what happened to their kids, to their family members, and to get some kind of justice and reparation."

Towards the end of the press conference, Gabriel was asked what he thought about the current levels of drug-related violence in Mexico and whether Calderon’s military strategy would be a success. The drug war in Mexico has killed more than 7,000 people since the beginning of 2008 — read more about it here.

Gabriel answered that a new, global approach was needed to fight the illegal drug trade, and that, in his opinion, legalization of drugs is the obvious solution.

"I would rather the doctors were administering the drugs than the drug traffickers," said the musician.

Peter Gabriel is a prominent human-rights activist, and in 1992 founded the nonprofit group Witness, which uses video and online technologies to bring human-rights violations to light.

A press release from the federal government about the meeting between Calderon and Gabriel reported that "President Calderón pledged to combat any abuse of authority and to promote the repairs of damage to victims. At the same time, he confirmed his government’s will to combat impunity. He said that federal forces are collaborating with the local authorities to solve the cases of feminicides."

See the video for footage from the press conference.

— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City for La Plaza