National: Law for protection of human-rights defenders and journalists is enacted; warning from CNDH regarding attacks on activists

Felipe Calderón, 22 June 2012 (@Presidencia de la República)

On 22 June 2012, President Felipe Calderón ratified and enacted the Law for the protection of human-rights defenders and journalists that was approved by Congress at the end of April 2011, as well as the decree of Federalization of the Crimes committed against Journalists, persons, or installations that affect the right to information or freedom of expression.  He recognized that “The free manifestation of ideas, as well as the struggle in favor of human rights, are two essential elements of democracy and the State of Law […].  It is enraging to see how it is that in some regions of the country, journalists and activists are exposed to aggression, abuse, and acts of harassment in the exercise and due to the very exercise of their activities.  To them all, to you all, brave Mexicans who dedicate yourselves to journalism and the defense of human rights, I would like to say that you are not alone.”

In this sense, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, welcomed the enactment in Mexico of the Law, and she called for its immediate implementation, so that the objectives of the new law be realized.

In a communiqué, the national ombudsman, Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, notes that the sum of the efforts of authorities, non-governmental organizations, and civil society in general would allow for the work of rights-defenders to be guaranteed in Mexico.  He reported that to date this year, the National commission on Human Rights (CNDH) has documented 27 presumed violations of basic rights of defenders in Mexico, a statistic that would rise to 86 if one were to include the total cases since 2011.  In the case of journalists, the CNDH estimated that from 2000 to April 2012 there have been seen 76 murders of journalists in the country (up to 80 since the close of the report).

For their part, civil-society organizations also welcomed the enactment of the law.  At the same time, they warned of the responsibility that the Secretary of Governance has as regards the effective institution of the Mechanism of Protection “in strict application to the law, with the participation of civil society and the state authorities.”  They stressed also that “in light of the recurrence of the death-threats against these groups, investigations will also have to be a fundamental aspect to continue with.”  They demanded at the end that “the present federal government work on a transition plan that would guarantee the continuous and effective implementation and functioning of the mechanism, during and after the change in government.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Video del discurso de Felipe Calderón durante la firma de los decretos (Presidencia de la República, 22 de junio de 2012)

Comunicado emitido por el Ejecutivo Federal (22 de junio de 2012)

“No están solos”: FCH a periodistas (El Universal, 22 de junio de 2012)

Comunicado del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos. (22 de junio de 2012)

Urgen garantizar la efectiva implementación de la Ley de Protección a Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas (OSC de derechos humanos, 22 de junio de 2012)

Los delitos contra periodistas serán perseguidos por autoridades federales (CNN México, 22 de junio de 2012)

Van 27 violaciones a defensores civiles en 2012CNDH (El Universal, 24 de junio de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)

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