On February 12th, the Frontline Defenders (FLD) organization publicly presented its “Global Analysis 2019” report in Mexico City, in which it pointed out that Latin America is the most dangerous region in the world to defend human and environmental rights: in 2019, it recorded more than 200 of the 304 documented murders in 31 countries globally. It also reported that four of the five most dangerous countries for activism are part of the subcontinent (with 68% of cases). FLD explained that the five countries with the highest number of murders of defenders in 2019 were Colombia with 106, the Philippines – the only non-American country on the list – with 43, Honduras with 31, Mexico with 23 and also Brazil with 23.
Mexico is also the most dangerous country for environmental defenders: 75% of the 23 murders documented by FLD in the country were against nature defenders and against extractive or development megaprojects in which “there are powerful corporate interests and of public officials and possible profits at stake.” 20% of the murders were against women (internationally the figure was 13%). In addition, by 2020, “we have already documented at least three murders of defenders (two in Michoacan and one in Ciudad Juarez)”.
FDL regretted that impunity remains the norm. In the case of Mexican, in at least 11 cases investigations were initiated without results so far. Impunity is common even in cases identified as “emblematic”, not only with murdes but also in the “high level of criminalization of environmental defenders, who are exposed to physical aggressions, acts of legal intimidation and threats, in particular women, indigenous people and sexual diversity groups.”
Jesus Peña, deputy representative in Mexico of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, present at the event condemned the unfortunate fourth place and stressed that “the best form of protection is undoubtedly the fight against impunity in which many of the aggressions are.”
For more information in Spanish:
México, el cuarto país más peligroso en el mundo para ambientalistas y defensores, revela ONG (Sin Embargo, 13 de febrero de 2020)
Colocan a México como el 4° país más peligroso para defensores de DH (La Jornada, 12 de febrero de 2020)
Ambientalistas, 70 % de los activistas asesinadas en 2019 : ONG (El Universal, 12 de febrero de 2020)
Análisis global 2019 (Human Rights Defenders, enero de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: Red TdT Publishes Human Rights Balance for 2019 (January 13, 2020)
National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA) (April 1, 2019)