On August 26th, the Diagnosis of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists prepared by the representation in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) was presented to the Ministry of the Interior. The 410-page document contains information taken from interviews with both beneficiaries and officials of the Mechanism, members of the Council of Government, members of civil society, as well as other authorities, officials of the company that implements the protection, experts and members of the Protection Unit.
Results from the diagnosis that was published on August 21st, 2019 show that there is a lack of resources to fulfill the promises of the Protection Mechanism for Defenders and Journalists. The seven people killed from 2016 to date and who were beneficiaries of the Mechanism reflect the “insufficient economic and material resources to ensure the proper operation of the Mechanism,” it said. This situation is exacerbated by the increasing number of beneficiaries due to the tendency of increasing attacks on journalists and human rights defenders. “The situation of human rights defenders and journalists remains alarming,” said Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Until April of this year, the Mechanism provided protection to 903 people. With respect to the previous year, 70% more people were incorporated and the document predicts that there will be 1,131 beneficiaries by the end of 2019. The expense to guarantee the security of that number of people would reach 325 million pesos, which exceeds the planned budget of 117.4 million pesos. “We started the whole process with Secretary Urzua and we have renewed it again with Arturo Herrera, and hopefully there will be results for 150 million pesos more. Hopefully they will be in the month of October”, explained Aaron Mastache Mondragon, head of the Unit for the Defense of Human Rights of the Ministry of the Interior referring to a request submitted by SEGOB in April 2019.
Another reason for concern is the involvement of public servants in the cases given 55% of the beneficiaries indicate agents of the State as culprits. Jan Jarab, representative of the UNHCHR, who presented the diagnosis, stressed that “there is a local dynamic that is very dangerous (for defenders and journalists) and we will not solve it only with hard protection measures that a company can implement, we have to investigate and sanction these actions (against the groups), we have to take preventive actions and do them not only ad hoc, because since the arrival of Alejandro Encinas and Aaron Mastache they have intervened in several cases, they have done well, but it is necessary that it be part of a systematic policy to reduce these risks in cases of attacks by public servants.”
For more information in Spanish:
Faltan recursos al gobierno de AMLO para garantizar protección a periodistas y activistas, alerta la ONU (El Proceso el 21 de agosto de 2019)
Al ritmo actual no habrá presupuesto para proteger periodistas: ONU-DH (La Jornada el 21 de agosto de 2019)
En octubre podría darse aumento de 150 mdp al Mecanismo de Protección: Segob (El Proceso el 26 de agosto de 2019)
Gobierno responde a ONU sobre protección para activistas y periodistas (La Jornada el 26 de agosto de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)