National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders

CEMDAPress conference for CEMDA 2017 report (@CEMDA)

On March 5th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA in its Spanish a acronym) publicly presented its “Annual Report on the Situation of Defenders of Environmental Human Rights in Mexico, 2017”. In it, it denounced the increase in attacks and the “absence to date of an integral and effective preventive protection on the part of the Mexican State, which has been indicated as the main generator of the attacks against the defenders” (with 36% of the attacks). The same organization reported that from 2010 to 2017, there have been 391 cases of assaults.

The report documents that in the period from July 2016 to December 2017, there were 88 cases of attacks against human rights defenders in Mexico. It highlights the increase in the number of homicides that in this period reached 29, in comparison with the previous period, where only one murder was recorded. The state that continues with the highest numbers of attacks is the State of Mexico followed by Oaxaca, Puebla, Chiapas and Sonora. The projects or activities most frequently related to the attacks are the dispossession of land/territory and mining, both with 17 cases. Next are infrastructure projects (14 cases), hydroelectric projects (eight cases); those of public works and/or public policies in water administration (seven cases); real estate projects (five cases); renewable energy (four cases); sowing of GMOs (four cases) and illegal logging (three cases).

The Cemda Report concludes that “the situation of risk and threat to environmental defenders in Mexico continues to be increasingly worrying and the Mexican State is not taking the necessary, forceful, or relevant actions to generate a comprehensive policy of protection for defenders, as the capabilities of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (Mechanism) of the Ministry of the Interior are limited and do not solve the underlying problem that causes social conflict and risk.”

The following recommendations are found in the report:

“a) Align and harmonize the legal framework, as well as the public policies of the agricultural, environmental, water and indigenous peoples sectors, with a focus on human rights and the pluricultural State;

b) Implement the gender perspective in environmental legislation and public policies;

c) Guarantee timely compliance with the right to free, prior and informed consent of the peoples and communities and indigenous people;

d) Suspend development projects when there is evidence of attacks and aggressions against environmental defenders;

e) Carry out, on the part of the corresponding authorities, the social and environmental impact assessments in the first stages of the project to be able to know the level of risks and challenges existing in the region;

f) Strengthen the Mechanism, granting it, among other things, sufficient budget for its operation and;

g) Guarantee the right to full reparation of damages.”

For more information in Spanish:

Boletín de prensa en el marco de la presentación del informe (CEMDA, 5 de marzo de 2018)

Informe anual sobre la situación de personas defensoras de los derechos humanos ambientales en México, documento completo (CEMDA, marzo de 2018)

Suman 29 activistas ambientales asesinados en México: informe (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2018)

El Cemda registra 342 ataques contra defensores del medio ambiente en el sexenio de Peña (Proceso, 5 de marzo de 2018)

29 asesinatos en año y medio: el riesgo de ser ecologista en México (El País, 6 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Internacional/Nacional: alertan nacional e internacionalmente sobre el aumento de agresiones a personas defensoras de la tierra, el territorio y el medio ambiente. (8 de diciembre de 2014)

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