Mexico: 2019 Highest Number of Attacks on the Press – Articulo 19

May 28, 2020

disonancias

On May 26th, the organization in defense of freedom of expression, Articulo 19, presented its 2019 annual report “Dissonance: Voices in Dispute”, which records the highest number of attacks against the press ever in one year: 609 cases, including ten murders of journalists.

The ten journalists killed imply an increase of 12% compared to 2018; in addition, 99% of crimes against communicators remain unsolved and, out of 1,614 cases pending since the creation of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for this sector in 2010, only 14 sentences have been handed down.

“In 43% of the 609 attacks, public officials from the three levels of government were identified as perpetrators, especially at the state and municipal levels, and that the coverage of political and corruption-related information was 56% of the cause of the attacks”, the report states.

“After murder, journalists in Mexico were also victims of illegal entry, threats, attacks on material goods, attacks on digital communications media and computer systems, physical attacks, forced displacement, illegal communications surveillance, torture, as well as illegitimate use of the public power”, it also stresses.

Ana Cristina Ruelas of Articulo 19 expressed that at the beginning of the administration, there were expectations of change due to the presidential commitment to end censorship, due to the public apology to journalist Lydia Cacho, for the budget reduction for the hiring of official advertising; for the preparation of the diagnosis on the failures of the Mechanism to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Defenders. However, throughout 2019, “we witnessed new threats arising from stigmatization of journalistic work from the presidential rostrum.” She stated that the president “made his word an instrument and a weapon of government (and) decided to neutralize or annul anyone who sought to question his version. He confused the resistance of his adversaries and the old elites, with the rationality of those who sought to understand and report on the strategy that supports the narrative.”

Articulo 19 also reported that last year the attacks classified as “illegitimate use of public power” by the three levels of government increased by 100% due to attacks such as “stigmatization through official communication, threats of legal action and smear campaigns.”

The report raises the use of automated accounts on social networks as another point of concern, as well as “a coordinated and sustained articulation of networks to promote the image of governments, local and federal, and reduce the reach of critical and dissident voices”, reflecting in “waves of aggression” against journalists, especially women.

For more information in Spanish:

Registra 2019 la cifra más alta de agresiones contra la prensa en México: Artículo 19, SDP Noticias, 26 de mayo de 2020

AMLO hizo de su palabra un arma de Gobierno: Art. 19; condiciona el debate público y polariza, afirma, Sin Embargo, 26 de mayo de 2020

Más agresiones contra periodistas pese a expectativas con AMLO: Artículo 19, Proceso 26 de mayo de 2020

2019 registró el mayor número de ataques contra periodistas de la última década: Artículo 19, Animal Político, 26 de mayo de 2020

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Reform Of Law for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Debated in Context of Greater Vulnerability in Pandemic (May 26, 2020)

Nacional: ONU-DH condena asesinato de un defensor ambiental (Oaxaca) y un periodista (Sonora); sexta persona defensora y el segundo periodista asesinados en 2020 (May 21, 2020)

National: CNDH Demands Clarification of Crimes against Journalists in Mexico – 90% Remain in Impunity (November 8, 2019)

National/International: UNO Presents Diagnostic of Protection Mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (September 2, 2019)


Oaxaca/National: No Truth nor Justice for Victims 13 Years after Forced Disappearance Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sanchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya

May 28, 2020

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May 25th marked thirteen years since the enforced disappearance of the militants of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sanchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya in Oaxaca.

In an online press conference, Nadin Reyes, daughter of Edmundo Reyes and representative of the Comite Hasta Encontrarlos (Until They Are Found Committee), declared that “these have been difficult years and, undoubtedly, today they are more difficult given the context that forces us this year to remain in the compulsory confinement given the COVID-19 pandemic that has paralyzed everything in the country and which is blamed for all the ills of this system, as if the virus were responsible for impunity.”

She claimed that in the case of Cruz Sanchez and Reyes Amaya three presidents passed without any significant progress, which, she considered, is “the evident proof that, regardless of who is ruling in the country, the policy of enforced disappearances is a State policy that is committed government after government and that the government headed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not changed and we say this because it has not fulfilled its commitment to find the thousands of disappeared detainees in the country, much less to prosecute and punish those responsible.”

She explained that in the case of the new administration “despite having endless documentation that confirms the crime that was committed against our relatives and having a legal resolution for more than six years which orders the search for both fighters in military barracks and the creation of a special search commission, among other points, to this day it has not been accomplished.” This, she stated is because “although it is said that this government is different, in fact, it maintains the same policy of covering up with impunity and giving greater power to those who for years have repressed and committed the worst crimes against the people: the army.”

For this reason, she considered that the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is “co-responsible for maintaining and expanding access to truth and justice more and more in the case of our relatives. During this last year, on repeated occasions, he was notified of the latest developments in the case, and of the recent request of the Second Court to the SCJN to take on the case and has done nothing to expedite and guarantee true access to Justice for the victims.”

In view of this, the Committee confirmed that “we will carry out all legal and human rights actions to firmly maintain our demand. Neither will this government be the one to bend us in this decision.” It extended the invitation to join the activities planned in the framework of the International Week of the Disappeared Detainee (#NOSFALTANENCASA).

For more information in Spanish:

Como Peña y Calderón, AMLO mantiene impunidad del ejército: Comité Hasta Encontrarlos (Proceso, 26 de mayo de 2020)

Continúan con incansable búsqueda de desaparecidos (NVI Noticias, 26 de mayo de 2020)

Reclaman a AMLO esclarecer desaparición de miembros del EPR (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2020)

Boletín de prensa : A 13 años de la Desaparición Forzada de Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sánchez y Edmundo Reyes Amaya: sin verdad ni justicia para las víctimas (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos Hasta Encontrarlos, 25 de mayo de 2020)

“4T”, sin noticias de los desaparecidos del EPR (Contralínea, 21 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca/National : SCJN May Take On Case of Forced Disappearance of Two EPR Members in 2007 (January 31, 2020)

Oaxaca: FGR and SEDENA Dispute Search for EPR Disappeared (May 30, 2019)

Oaxaca: Order to Open Army Barracks in Search for EPR Members Disappeared in 2007 (May 16, 2019)

Oaxaca: Search for EPR Members Missing for 11 Years on State Properties (August 21, 2018)

Chiapas: National Day: “The Victims of State Terrorism are of the People, We will not Stop until We Find Them!” (March 15, 2017)

 


National: Reform Of Law for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Debated in Context of Greater Vulnerability in Pandemic

May 26, 2020

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On May 20th, a controversial initiative was proposed to the Permanent Commission by the MORENA deputies that proposes to abolish 44 trusts, related to support for the Mexican film industry, agriculture, science and technology, national sports, and energy sector contractors and suppliers among others. It proposes to modify 14 legal systems, among them the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.

Given this, former members of the Governing Board and the Advisory Council of the Protection Mechanism for both sectors warned of the fact that “it intends to disappear all those measures and locks that allow the management of resources through the trust to be transparent, with supervision of a collegiate body and with the active participation of a representative of civil society or academia.” “The Protection Mechanism (…) must be strengthened not weakened,” they declared. “Legislative measures to modify the regulatory framework that regulates the Mechanism are not necessary. What is urgent is the generation of a comprehensive public policy of protection that coordinates ordinary state scaffolding, until now ignored, which should guarantee that journalists and defenders can do their daily work in safety”, they stressed. “Although the operation of the Mechanism has had great vicissitudes, the trust has guaranteed that the lives of hundreds of defenders and journalists were protected in the last seven years,” they recalled.

Shortly before, activists, organizations and networks justly denounced that “in the current context of the health emergency caused by COVID-19, the risk situation experienced by human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico has worsened, without an adequate response from the authorities.” Espacio OSC (SCO Space) noted that “since March 15th, the date on which the health emergency was decreed, according to official figures from the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (…) at least 44 attacks against human rights defenders and journalists have been identified and the murder of two journalists and four human rights defenders, with the state of Guerrero presenting the greatest increase in risk situations for journalists.”

Putting these figures in context, it indicated that “according to the annual report of the Mechanism, in 2019 a total of 295 attacks were registered, on average 24.5 attacks per month, which implies that in the context of a health crisis the attacks have doubled.”

The CSOs expressed their concern about the fact that “the Head of the Executive continues to use a discourse that discredits the role of the media and journalistic work. These statements contribute to creating a hostile environment against those who practice journalism and the media, and to that extent can undermine freedom of expression.” They noted that in several states the imposition of measures that restrict and hinder freedom of transit and association, such as curfews, “have a negative impact on the work of defense of human rights and freedom of expression.” They called to “strengthen the work of the Mechanism.”

For its part, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todas (Red TdT – Rights for All Network)) also stressed that in the case of the homicides of defenders, “two of these murders were in the homes of human rights defenders, which shows the increase in vulnerability to the health crisis due to COVID-19.” It also highlighted that of the four, “the work of three of these people was linked to the defense of land and territory, which is consistent with the trend that has been pointed out by the Red TdT and other organizations. With these four murders, there would already be 30 defenders killed during the six-year term of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.”

They also warned about the fact that “in the framework of the health contingency, it is clear that the work of defending human rights does not stop, but becomes especially relevant at a time when institutional absences become multiple windows of opportunity for the commission of crimes and human rights violations.”

For more information in Spanish:

Las ocurrencias legislativas ponen en riesgo a periodistas y personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Animal Político, 22 de mayo de 2020)

Propuesta de eliminar fideicomisos tambien toca a periodistas (La Jornada, 21 de mayo de 2020)

Espacio OSC, personas defensoras y periodistas llaman a respetar el derecho a defender derechos humanos y el ejercicio de la libertad de expresión durante la pandemia provocada por el Covid-19 (Espacio OSC, 20 de mayo de 2020)

Lista de personas defensoras y periodistas asesinados en México en 2020 (Educa, 20 de mayo de 2020)

Organizaciones denuncian que durante contingencia sanitaria se han recrudecido agresiones contra personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Red Tdt, 14 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: ONU-DH condena asesinato de un defensor ambiental (Oaxaca) y un periodista (Sonora); sexta persona defensora y el segundo periodista asesinados en 2020 (May 21, 2020)

National: CNDH Demands Clarification of Crimes against Journalists in Mexico – 90% Remain in Impunity (November 8, 2019)

National/International: UNO Presents Diagnostic of Protection Mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (September 2, 2019)

 

 


Mexico: Mothers Continue the Search for Their Disappeared Children on Their Day

May 13, 2020

result-4-1Photo: Chiapasparalelo

May 10th is Mother’s Day in Mexico and despite the pandemic, women demonstrated to show that they will continue to search for their missing children. For several years, May 10th has been an emblematic date for the mothers of thousands of disappeared in the country to take to the streets demanding justice.

“Nothing to celebrate, for us this date is not a celebration, it is a fight and a protest”, declared Eva Verduzco de la Cruz-mother of a disappeared son.

The call was broad and due to the pandemic it assumed different forms to in the past, including messages on social networks, videos, photographs (the vast majority wearing face masks with messages alluding to the demand for justice and the presentation of the disappeared), caravans, statements, among others.

The Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico – made up of more than 60 groups of relatives of disappeared people, from 22 Mexican states and three Central American countries – and United Forces for Our Disappeared in Mexico (FUNDEM) urged the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that despite the emergency caused by the COVID-19, the effective and immediate search for the 61 thousand disappeared – according to official figures – that exists in Mexico does not stop and the processes for the identification of the more 37 thousand unidentified bodies, many of them found in clandestine graves, are accelerated.

On another note, the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) joined the actions of protest and demand for truth, justice and guarantees of non-repetition, so it called on society as a whole to echo this virtual mobilization on social networks, “accompanying those who every day must face obstacles and risks in the search for their loved ones, for justice and for the truth.”

For more information in Spanish:

Madres de desaparecidos usan vías alternas de protesta por Covid-19, La Jornada, 10 de mayo de 2020

A pesar de la pandemia, mujer sale a buscar a hijo desaparecido, Aristegui Noticias,10 de mayo de 2020

Madres de desaparecidos en Colima urgen no parar mecanismos de búsqueda, proceso, 11 de mayo

Ante la ausencia del Estado, madres, hijas y esposas aprenden a rastrear a sus familiares, Desinformemonos, 11 de mayo de 2020

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Committee of Mothers and Fathers of 43 Demand the “Search and Investigation Continue” Despite Health Emergency (April 28, 2020)

National/Guerrero: Agreement to Reintroduce Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts in Ayotzinapa Case. Number of Disappeared Increases in the Country (January 14, 2020)

National/International: Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants 2019 Tours Country (November 24, 2019)

 


National/International: Mexico and IACHR Formalize Reinstallation of IGIE for Ayotzinapa Case

May 11, 2020

QueEsElGIEIIGIE in previous phase (@Centro PRO DH)

In a statement published on May 7th, the Interior and Foreign Relations Secretariats reported that the Mexican government signed an agreement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the reinstatement of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE).

The objective in this new stage will be to provide international technical assistance for the advancement of investigations and to assist in the preparation of search plans, care for victims and other relevant aspects in the case of the forced disappearance of 43 students from Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero, in September 2014.

The statement explained that the process “was carried out taking into account the representation of the parents of the students, the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the experts themselves who will form part of the International Group of Independent Experts.”

It specified that this action is part of the commitment established in the “Decree that instructs to establish effective material, legal and human conditions to strengthen the human rights of the relatives of the victims of the Ayotzinapa case to truth and access to justice”, issued by President Lopez Obrador on December 4th, 2018 and which raised, among other points, the possibility of passing agreements that allow the IACHR to cooperate.

For more information in Spanish: 

Gobierno de México y CIDH firman acuerdo para reinstalación del GIEI, a fin de seguir brindando asistencia técnica en el caso Ayotzinapa (comunicado completo, 7 de mayo de 2020)

Firman Segob y SRE acuerdo con CIDH para reinstalación del GIEI (La Jornada, 7 de mayo de 2020)

Firman acuerdo de reinstalación de GIEI en caso Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, 7 de mayo de 2020)

Formalizan reinstalación del GIEI en el caso Ayotzinapa (Regeneración, 8 de mayo de 2020)

Acuerdan México y CIDH reinstalar el GIEI para el caso Ayotzinapa (El Universal, 7 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/Guerrero: Agreement to Reintroduce Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts in Ayotzinapa Case. Number of Disappeared Increases in the Country (January 14, 2020)

 

Guerrero: Attorney General Will Investigate Ayotzinapa Case “Almost from Scratch”(September 25, 2019)

 

Guerrero: New Stage in Investigation of Ayotzinapa Case – Creation of Special Investigation Unit with Omar Gomez Trejo as Head (July 8, 2019)

 


Oaxaca: Violence in San Mateo del Mar Leaves One Dead

May 7, 2020

Detencion_Yunes_-3-600x274@Cuarto Oscuro

On May 3rd, an armed attack in the municipal agency of Huazantlan del Rio in the municipality of San Mateo del Mar, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, left one person dead, as well as two houses, four motor vehicles, a truck and two motorcycle taxis burned.

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec Tepeyac Human Rights Center and Ikoots or Huaves community authorities Ikoots or Huaves denounced that said armed group allegedly sent by the municipal president of San Mateo del Mar, Bernardino Ponce Hinojosa, attacked the authorities of the municipal agency who maintained a checkpoint at the main entrance to the municipality as a sanitary measure against Coronavirus (COVID-19). The person who was killed was acting as a substitute for the municipal agent of Huazantlan del Rio.

The Tepeyac Center recalled that “the General Secretariat of the Government of the state of Oaxaca, since the beginning of 2020 has had knowledge of the complicated situation that the municipality is experiencing because as community authorities of the different municipal agencies of San Mateo del Mar, we have gone to the SEGEGO offices to request their intervention and, as always, they have ignored it.” It denounced that “Bernardino Ponce Hinojosa, since he took office, has done nothing more than intimidate the population with armed and hooded people who plague the municipality, in addition to giving himself the luxury of not dispatching in the municipal palace, but maintaining his offices and the council in the small community of La Reforma, from where he orders the harassment of our countrymen.”

Given what happened, the Tepeyac Human Rights Center demanded justice and “that the pertinent measures be taken to preserve the safety of the inhabitants of the agencies and of the Municipal capital to carry out their daily activities.” For its part, the Human Rights Defender of the People of Oaxaca issued precautionary measures for the people who live in that municipality.

More than armed aggression, some media presented the events as a confrontation deriving from the retention of a vehicle carrying musical instruments for the celebration of a party in the community of Laguna Santa Cruz, in the same municipality, by the residents who maintained the sanitary filter.

Although five municipal agencies, three communities and three neighborhoods of the municipality passed an agreement that the parties and celebrations would be suspended due to the pandemic, the residents and the municipal agent of Laguna Santa Cruz did not comply with this measure. They went to retrieve the vehicle, but were detained. The confrontation occurred when other inhabitants of Laguna Santa Cruz and the municipal agency La Reforma arrived at the scene to liberate them.

It should be remembered that since last year, in San Mateo del Mar, where a regulatory system prevails by uses and customs, a political conflict has continued because five of the eight municipal agencies, in addition to three neighborhoods and three communities, did not recognize Mayor Ponce Hinojosa, considering that there were irregularities in his election, so the city council offices were transferred to the Reforma neighborhood, where he is from.

For more information in Spanish:

Incendian viviendas, vehículos y asesinan a un hombre en San Mateo del Mar, Oaxaca(Proceso, 4 de mayo de 2020)

Mujeres ikoots solicitan medidas cautelares por violencia en San Mateo del Mar; acusan a agente municipal (El Universal, 5 de mayo de 2020)

Responsabilizan a funcionaria de AMLO por violencia en San Mateo del Mar (NSS Oaxaca, 5 de mayo de 2020)

Se enfrentan pobladores de Oaxaca por filtro sanitario contra Covid-19 (Aristegui Noticias, 3 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Conflicto post-electoral en San Mateo del Mar (9 de septiembre de 2017)

Oaxaca: Amenazas de grupo de choque en San Dionisio del Mar; propuesta de plan eólico alternativo en la región del Istmo de Tehuantepec (19 de octubre de 2012)

 


Chiapas: Injunction Granted to Protect Life, Integrity and Security of Displaced Tsotsil Communities in Aldama

May 4, 2020

Aldamaamparo© Frayba

On April 28th, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) published a bulletin in which the injunction granted to communities of the Maya Tsotsil people in forced displacement from Aldama is disclosed, this as a result of the petition filed by representatives of communities in said municipality on March 27th.

The third district court, based in Tuxtla Gutierrez, granted an injunction to protect the life, integrity and security of the Aldama communities. This request was made for the “definitive suspension of violence by armed paramilitary civilian groups who act with the acquiescence and tolerance of State officials.” In this sense, the omission of the responsible authorities was denounced in view of compliance with this resolution.

In addition to the aggravation of violence in this area, the communities of Original Peoples are highly vulnerable to the health emergency caused by COVID-19 and the recently announced Phase Three. On the one hand, the population faces attacks with firearms, and on the other, contracting the virus and not having, in any case, guarantees of adequate medical attention. From this perspective, the United Nations Essential Guidelines establish the need to protect the most vulnerable populations, such as communities in forced displacement: “States must apply additional measures in order to address the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 may have on minorities, because of the remote areas where they live, where there is limited access to essential goods and services.”

For this reason, Frayba demanded that the President of the Republic, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the Governor of the state of Chiapas, Rutilio Cruz Escandon Cadenas, comply with the judicial mandate and also:

  • Guarantee security to “protect the life of the population of the Maya Tsotsil people in the municipality of Aldama, from armed aggressions that intensified since March 24th, 2020.”
  • The investigation of the armed aggressions registered since March 2018 that caused the forced displacement of these communities.
  • Provide humanitarian care, housing, health, adequate and dignified food for the victims of these forced displacements and in greater vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information in Spanish:

Otorgan amparo a comunidades del Pueblo Maya Tsotsil en Desplazamiento Forzado(Frayba, 28 abril 2020)

Otorgan amparo a indígenas de Chiapas en desplazamiento forzado (Contralínea, 28 abril 2020)

Indígenas de los Altos de Chiapas, entre el acoso del gobierno y el Covid-19 (La Jornada, 28 abril 2020)

Otorgan amparo para proteger a comunidades de Aldama (Prensa Libre, 29 abril 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: “ Not Only COVID Threatens Life” – Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society (April 25, 2020)

Chiapas: Attacks against Tsotsil Communities in Aldama Continue (April 16, 2020)

Chiapas: Authorities in Santa Martha and Aldama Denounce New Attacks (March 5, 2020)

National: CNDH Requests Cautionary Measures for Cristobal Santiz Jimenez (March 30, 2020)

Chiapas: Por tercera vez en plantón, desplazados de Ejido Puebla, Chenalhó

Chiapas: Death of Displaced Baby Girl from Rio Jordan, Chenalho (February 28, 2020)