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Mexico: President Signs Law Two Years After Daycare Centre Fire

On June 5, 2009, in Hermosillo, Sonora (Northeastern Mexico), a daycare centre called Guardería ABC burned down; 49 children lost their lives in the fire and 76 were injured. The event caused an outcry in Mexican society and many people asked themselves if it would be just another bitter case of impunity.

The childrens’ parents ran an astute campaign to find those responsible and bring them to justice before the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice.

In addition, they promoted a bill that would require all daycare centres in the country – public, private or mixed – to meet minimum safety requirements, assure quality standards, and submit to periodic inspections. It also includes the creation of a national register of daycare centres.

This bill has become known as the Ley 5 de Junio (5th of June Law) after the date of the tragedy, and its path to approval has been a difficult one. It passed through the Senate in the last days of ordinary sessions (at the end of April this year), meaning that it had to wait until September to be discussed and approved in the Chamber of Deputies. Nevertheless, after its approval in the Chamber and after being sent to the Executive for final signature and enactment, President Felipe Calderón was reluctant to sign it.

August 2009: Protest by parents of children who died in the fire, photo by Prometeo Lucero (CC BY-NC 2.0)

August 2009: Protest by parents of children who died in the fire, photo by Prometeo Lucero (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Faced with this fact, Mexican netizens embarked on a targeted campaign to generate pressure. Thanks to this exercise of collective citizenship, the President has conceded and announced the enactment of the law at his residence yesterday, Monday, October 24. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter.

Daniel Gershenson (@alconsumidor) [es], one of the main promoters of this law on Twitter, couldn't hide his joy:

Nada más fuerte, que el poder de una gran idea cuyo momento ha llegado « #ley5deJunio #GuarderiaABC, VA

There is nothing stronger than the power of a great idea whose time has come « #ley5deJunio #GuarderiaABC, VA

Manuel Robles (@mroblesmx) [es] expresses his admiration and respect for these parents who played with the rules of politics to achieve their objective:

Respeto y admiración para los padres de #GuarderiaAbc . Saludo a quienes les han acompañado en su peregrinar #Ley5deJunio.

Respect and admiration for the parents of #GuarderiaAbc. I salute those who have accompanied them on their pilgrimage #Ley5deJunio.

Jesús Robles Maloof (@roblesmaloof) [es], pointed out the importance of the law:

Increíble que no existiera una regulación integral de todos los centros de atención a la infancia. Gracias a la #Ley5deJunio ahora la habrá

It's incredible that there was no comprehensive regulation of all early childhood care centres. Thanks to the #Ley5deJunio there will be now

Oscar López (@oscarl) [es] highlights the importance of this citizen achievement:

#ley5dejunio El logro de un movimiento de una tragedia que indignó a todo el país. Es lo mínimo que merece la memoria de aquellos niños(as)

#ley5dejunio The achievement of a movement from a tragedy that outraged the whole country. This is the minimum that the memory of these children deserves.

Julio Márquez (@juliomarquez1) [es], father of Yeye, sends out an emotional message in 140 characters:

Gritenlo todos en TW¡¡¡¡ Mañana se publica #Ley5dejunio. Mis lagrimas hoy son de agradecimiento a ustedes, en nombre de mi hijito Yeye y mio

Everyone shout it out on TW!!!! Tomorrow the #Ley5dejunio will be enacted. Today my tears are of gratitude to all of you, in the name of little son Yeye and myself.
Thumbnail image shows protest for daycare centre fire victims, by Flickr user cdsymonds (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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