In a statement published on May 30th, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations (UN) expressed their concern facing an increase in acts of violence committed against human rights defenders in Latin America during the first four months of the year.
In the case of Mexico, this trend is notorious where “according to information available to both agencies, at least ten human rights defenders were murdered during this period, nine men and a woman, a figure close to at least 13 cases documented throughout the year 2018, which represents a significant increase in violence. It is especially worrying that eight of the murdered defenders are indigenous.” They listed several of the cases and also expressed their concern over the disappearance of Obtilia Eugenio Manuel and Hilario Cornelio Castro, in Guerrero from February 12th to February 19th, “until they were released by their captors after an intense search campaign.”
The two multilateral organizations acknowledged that “in Mexico the federal government has publicly committed to strengthen the action of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, initiating a diagnosis on the current situation in which the UN Human Rights participates.”
They recalled that it is “the obligation of the states to investigate ex officio facts of this nature and to punish those responsible materially and intellectually. Both agencies urge the states to exhaust all relevant lines of investigation to clarify these facts, including the possible link between murders, disappearances and other aggressions and the work of defending human rights. Such investigations must be conducted with due diligence, in a thorough, serious and impartial manner.” They also stressed that in the case of women human rights defenders and groups in a situation of special vulnerability, “States must take due account of the fact that the inherent risk of their work is compounded by the context of discrimination based on gender or belonging to historically discriminated groups and adopt protection measures and conduct research with full incorporation of the gender and intercultural perspective. States must adopt reasonable measures to prevent acts of violence against persons of these groups and remedy the context of discrimination that promotes their repetition.”
For more information in Spanish:
Alertan CIDH y ONU por aumento de asesinatos de activistas en México (Proceso, 30 de mayo de 2019)
Aumentaron asesinatos de activistas en México este año, alertan ONU y CIDH (LA Jornada, 30 de mayo de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ: