Mexico: Growing insecurity for the work of human-rights defenders – denunciations from Washington DC, Brussels, and Chiapas

March 31, 2011

On 29 March, 23 human-rights organizations from 11 countries that were meeting in Washington D.C. for the 141st session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) denounced more than 2000 rights-violations against human-rights defenders in the Americas.  They described an alarming situation that finds its basis in “the persistence of attacks on the part of state actors or those who act with its support or tolerance, such as paramilitaries, and the appearance of new forms of harassment on the part of organized crime and extractive firms with economic interests in the region.”  They explained that according to the UN, the countries in which the m ost denunciations are produced are Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, and Peru (in this order).

In other news, the civil organizations requested that the IACHR create a spokeperson’s office or specific unit charged with the protection of rights-defenders.  They also demanded that states implement effective means of protection and better public policies that guarantee the work of rights-defenders as well as the investigation of acts of violence and death-threats carried out against persons who risk their lives to denounce situations of social injustice.

Also on 29 March, in the European Parliament in Brussels, Mexican rights-defenders participated in a conference regarding the human-rights sitution in Mexico.  These defenders denounced that “the Mexican State pretends to be concerned with the attacks and harassment directed against rights-defenders before the international community, but in daily reality things are not so; on the contrary, there is lived a continuous situation of risk.”  They stressed the necessity of having protection-mechanisms for rights-defenders and journalists, with the effective participation of civil society in the design and implementation of such.  They also discussed how to effectively implement the guidelines of the European Union on the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders.

Finally, the Digna Ochoa, Fray Matías de Córdova, and Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas human-rights centers expressed their preoccupation in Chiapas regarding the judicial harassment of the members of the Digna Ochoa Center (Tonala, coast of Chiapas) “specifically with regard to its director Nataniel Hernández Núñez and other lawyers of the same institution.”  They manifested concern “for the utilization of legal actions targeting rights-defenders toward the end of harassing them judicially and discrediting their work.”  They demanded that the federal government observe its obligation “to put an end to all types of aggression or obstruction of the work of human-rights defenders in Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Mexico: The UN, US and the EU Point Out Failure to Respect Human Rights and Recent Serious Violations

March 22, 2010

In the last few weeks, the Mexican government has received severe questioning at the international level regarding human rights.

On March 8 and 9, the UN Human Rights Committee held a session in New York. Ten years after presenting its last report on the advances made in compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Mexican government—which signed on to the agreement in 1981—presented its fifth periodic report to the UN Human Rights Committee some five years late. The experts that make up the committee questioned the Mexican State on its implementation of the measures laid out by the Covenant including different aspects such as: militarization, military tribunals, arraigo (pre-charge detentions), passed crimes and the disappearance of the Special Prosecutors Office for Passed Social Movements (FEMOSSP, Fiscalía Especial para los Movimientos Sociales del Pasado), torture, prison conditions, international treaty hierarchies, violence against women, a framework regulating abortion, protections for journalists and human rights defenders, rights for gays, lesbians and transgendered people (LGBT), as well as the situation concerning indigenous peoples’ rights and the application of Article 33.

In addition, on March 11, the US State Department published their “2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.” The section on Mexico confirms that, in general, the government has respected human rights, however it also recognizes a deterioration of the human rights situation in the country sighting cases of arbitrary executions, impunity within the penal system, confessions obtained under torture, attacks on journalists, as well as complaints of forced disappearance carried out by the military.

Finally, on the same day, the European Parliament in Strasburg adopted a resolution titled “The Escalation of Violence in Mexico” by a vote 53 in favor, 2 opposed and 3 abstentions. In the resolution the European Parliament expressed its concern for the current level of violence in Mexico, the climate of impunity within the country as well as attacks against human rights defenders, journalists and women. The resolution called for the Mexican government to adopt policies that guarantee freedom of the press, protections for human rights defenders, security for women and put an end to the impunity enjoyed by security forces and abuses of power.

For More Information:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

2009 Human Rights Report: Mexico (US State Department, 11/3/2010)

European Parliament resolution on the escalation of violence in Mexico (11/3/2010)

For More Information in Spanish:

Aumentaron los casos de violaciones a los derechos humanos en México, afirma EU (Jornada, 12/3/2010)

Preocupa al Parlamento Europeo la escalada de violencia en México (Jornada, 12/3/2010)

Condena UE creciente violencia en México (Reforma, 12/3/2010)

Eurocámara llama a frenar violencia en México (Universal, 12/3/2010)

Preocupa a Parlamento Europeo violencia e impunidad en México (Revista Proceso, 11/3/2010)

Critica Parlamento Europeo falta de compromiso para defender DH de las mujeres (CIMAC Noticias, 10/3/2010)

Mexico: European Parliament approves the Strategic Partnership between the European Union and Mexico

March 13, 2009

On March 12 the European Parliament approved, by 463 in favor, 20 against, and 52 abstaining, a report by the Spanish representative José Ignacio Salafranca (PPE-DE) which supports the establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the European Union (EU) and Mexico. The European representatives stated as priorities the fight against drug-trafficking, international terrorism, organized crime, as well as cooperation on issues of immigration. The report also requested the inclusion of Mexico as “a permanent member of the new financial and international economic structure of the G-20”. In 2000, the EU and Mexico had signed an “agreement of global partnership”, increasing commerce between the two by more than 100%, and in light of these “positive results”, the European Parliament decided to move forward towards “a qualitative step forward in relations between Mexico and the European Union”.

In the parliamentary discussion regarding the strategic partnership before the voting, the representative of the Green Party Raul Romeva i Rueda stated that instead of developing benefits, this type of agreement has “created a dependence” of Mexico on the EU, and a commercial deficit to Europe. According to him, the “most concerning” without question is the “liberalizing obsession” towards the economy of this country, especially in sectors like banking in which 90% is in foreign hands, a good part of them European. He also stated that “the bulk of the exports from the EU are import-export goods, for example European goods are not consumed in Mexico. To the contrary, they are reassembled and exported. I am referring to the famous maquiladoras (sweatshops). Mexico has become a trampoline for goods from the EU to the United States.”

The Spanish representative also called a resolution to “the problem of impunity, which according to official data, is between 97 and 99 percent”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

La Eurocámara aprueba apoya el establecimiento de una Asociación Estratégica entre la UE y México, Parlamento Europeo (12/03/2009)

UE-México: La Comisión propone una Asociación Estratégica, RMALC (15/07/2008)


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