On March 29th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) presented a report in an online event on the situation of environmental defenders and communities in Mexico 2021, in which it indicated that it continues to go against them. As documented by the organization, in 2021, 25 environmental defenders were murdered and there were 238 attacks of different types, almost 165% more than during the year 2020. This made 2021 the most violent year for environmental defense in the country since 2014. So far in the current administration, 58 environmental defenders have been murdered, the Report indicates. Oaxaca (in first place), Guerrero, Sonora and Morelos were the states with the highest number of lethal attacks against defenders.
46.3% of the attacks were directed against members of indigenous communities, followed by 27.8% directed against members of civil society organizations and, in third place, 17.6% directed against independent defenders. In addition, the report details that “the government, at the three levels and its action in conjunction with another agent of aggression, constitutes the first agent of aggression with the highest level of incidence, participating in 45 of the 108 events of aggression documented during 2021 (41.7% of the total). This makes it, for the second consecutive year, the aggressor with the highest concurrence in the perpetration of aggressions against people and communities that defend the environment.”
In the reasons for trying to explain so much violence, CEMDA points out that “environmental processes that are not carried out legally, that are not culturally appropriate, that do not respect the rights to information, participation or autonomy and that, in general, do not adhere to the constitutionally established protection standard. (…) Secondly, the slowness and omission of the judiciary to resolve socio-environmental conflicts that have been brought before the courts stands out. In addition, in some cases it contributes to validating acts of criminalization against defenders. In the third place, prosecutors continue to fail in their obligation to investigate acts of violence. Finally, it highlights the ineffectiveness of the protection mechanisms for human rights defenders in carrying out their work.”
Faced with this discouraging scenario, CEMDA demanded “truth, justice and reparation for environmental human rights defenders who are victims of aggression in Mexico.”
For more information in Spanish:
Continúa en ascenso la violencia contra las personas y comunidades defensoras del medio ambiente durante 2021 (CEMDA, 29 de marzo de 2022)
2021, el año más violento desde 2014 para defensores ambientales: Cemda (La Jornada, 29 de marzo de 2022)
2021, el año más violento para defensores ambientales en México con 25 asesinatos: CEMDA (Animal Político, 29 de marzo de 2022)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA) (April 1, 2019)
Nacional: 21 defensores ambientales fueron asesinados en 2018 (CEMDA) 26 de marzo de 2019.