The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) and the Swedish Movement for Reconciliation (SweFOR Mexico), expressed their concern about the acts of criminalization against Father Marcelo Perez Perez, for his work in the defense and promotion of human rights.
Father Marcelo Perez Perez is a recognized human rights defender who as parish priest of Simojovel and Coordinator of the Social Pastoral of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas works with the Tsotsil, Tseltal, Zoque and mestizo peoples, accompanying processes of defense of land and territory, mediating conflicts and accompanying displaced communities. In turn, the Father accompanies migrants, as well as defenders who have been criminalized for their work defending human rights.
The organizations stated that “because of his human rights defense activity, Father Marcelo has been the victim of delegitimization, defamation and constant discredit; since the beginning of this year the attacks have intensified, proof of this are the statements and remarks made by a recently elected municipal public official.”
The statement recalled that since 2016 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures number MC-506-14 to protect Father Marcelo. These measures are still in force today, being essential, although not sufficient, so that he can continue with his defense activity in a safe environment, the organizations said.
“The IACHR itself has affirmed that public statements that delegitimize and discredit the work of human rights defenders, such as Father Marcelo, make them more vulnerable and it is the obligation of the State to publicly recognize that the exercise of the promotion and defense of human rights is a legitimate act”, the signatories stated.
Frayba and SweFOR Mexico demanded that the Mexican government comply with its human rights obligations and requested that the State recognize Father Marcelo Perez Perez’s work of defense of human rights and peacebuilding in Chiapas of. The organizations requested “that any act of authority that puts his person and those he accompanies at risk be avoided.”
For more information in Spanish:
Defensores de derechos humanos piden protección para el Párroco de Simojovel (Prensa Libre Chiapas, 20 de julio de 2021)
Amenazas a la vida del defensor comunitario Padre Marcelo Pérez Pérez(Frayba, 18 de abril de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ: