National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA)

CEDMA.pngPresentation of CEMDA 2018 Report (@MVS Noticias)

On March 25th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA in its Spanish acronym) presented its report on the situation of Defenders of Environmental Human Rights 2018, in which it reports that there were 21 murders of activists in our country during 2018, maintaining “the lethal trend of 2017 when the country was included in fourth place in the world where there have been most murders of people who defend the environment.”

CEMDA stressed that “homicide was placed first of the aggressions committed against defenders of the environment in Mexico,” 49 attacks being documented in 2018 and acknowledged that “not all aggressions are reported or recorded by public media.” The report details that of these aggressions, 25% were murders; 19%, acts of criminalization; while threats and physical aggression accounted for 17% of the cases. The states most affected by aggressions were Puebla followed by Oaxaca and Chihuahua.

The vast majority of the attacks (37) occurred in a context of dispute over land and territory. The report also emphasizes that, “unfortunately, it is the Mexican State itself – which should be the guarantor of the human rights of environmental defenders – who was identified as one of the main aggressors.”

CEMDA urged the Mexican government to opt “for the consolidation of the pluricultural State” and to ratify the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (The Escazu Agreement, September 2018)) as soon as possible to establish a comprehensive and effective policy for the effective protection of environmental defenders and the prevention of aggressions.

Some recommendations issued by CEMDA in its Report include: “a) Align and harmonize the legal framework and public policies under a human rights approach and the principle of the pluricultural State; b) Implement, in environmental legislation and public policies, the gender perspective; c) Respect the right to autonomy, to the territory and to their own development for the indigenous communities facing development megaprojects; d) Guarantee timely compliance with the right to free, prior and informed consent of the peoples and communities and indigenous peoples, as well as information and participation in development projects that significantly affect their way of life; e) Implement measures such as the temporary suspension of work and activity until the rights of the indigenous communities are guaranteed; f) Review the content of the criminal types that facilitate the criminalization of environmental defenders; g) Suspend the implementation of a development project when there is evidence of attacks and aggressions against environmental defenders; h) Carry out the social and environmental impact assessments in the first stages of the project, before granting concessions or permits for natural resources; i) Strengthen the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, providing sufficient budget and material resources to fulfill its objective; as well as granting protection to groups that defend environmental human rights; j) Guarantee the right to full reparation of damage to defenders for attacks and violations of their human rights “; among others.

For more information in Spanish:

En 2018 fueron asesinadas 21 personas en México por defender la tierra, el medio ambiente y el territorio (CEMDA, boletín de prensa, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Informe sobre la situaciónde las personas defensoras de losderechos humanos ambientales México 2018 (CEMDA, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Defensores ambientales viven una complicada situación: AI (La Jornada, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Advierten tendencia al alza en homicidios de defensores del medio ambiente en 2019 (MVS Noticias, 25 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Map of over 800 Environmental Conflicts Caused by Megaprojects in 12 Years (March 12, 2019)

National/International: Global Witness Publishes “At What Price? Irresponsible Business and the Murder of Land and Environment Defenders 2017”

(August 6th, 2018)

National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders (March 26th, 2018)

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