On 17 April, in México City, there was held the Third National Meeting of Human-Rights Defenders, an event which was attended by representatives of 35 civil-society organizations. Participants hailed from the states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Baja California, Mexico City, Mexico State, and Guanajuato to analyze what was referred to in the meeting’s press-release as the “situation that [rights-defenders] face in their everyday work.”
The conference participants denounced that, “due to the promotion and defense of human rights” that their work advances, they find themselves “constantly in threatening situations”–threats that include “death-threats, torture, intimidation, illegal arrest, harassment, and even murder.” They affirmed that “adequate mechanisms of protection” do not exist for their work, and they emphasized that many rights-defenders have had to flee their homes due to threats. They added that recent militarization policies in México “ha[ve] aggravated the situation of vulnerability in which we find ourselves.” They also indicated that this violent context particularly affects women, indigenous individuals, and journalists.
The assembled rights-defenders advocated that the Mexican government to conform with the demands of the December 1998 Declaration on the Rights of Human-Rights Defenders, and they called for the immediate end to the “threats and repression” they face at the hands of the state, or “with its assent or acquiescence.” They demanded that military forces give up work that “corresponds to civil authorities,” and that “all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience” be released as soon as possible.
The press-release concluded by recommending that the work of rights-defenders be constitutionally recognized, and that “an adequate national mechanism for the protection of human-rights defenders” be constructed.
For more information (in Spanish):