National/International: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits Mexico

April 11, 2019

UNHCHR.pngMichelle Bachelet (@CINU)

At the end of her official visit to Mexico, which took place between April 5th and 9th, the United Nations Organization High Commissioner of the for Human Rights (UN-DH), Michelle Bachelet, said she was surprised by the levels of violence and the dimension of the human rights crisis in the country. “It was a surprise to me what I found. Without a doubt, the case of Ayotzinapa is well known by the press, but the 40 thousand disappeared was not something that was so clear, of the 26 thousand bodies without identification (in the forensic services). Or ten women murdered a day. I knew very well about the violence, but I had no idea of ​​the dimension (…) The data are terrifying.” She pointed out that Mexico has figures for violent deaths equivalent to a country at war: 252,538,000 since 2006.

She highlighted outstanding human rights issues in different areas, in particular regarding forced disappearances, femicides, violence against defenders and journalists, torture, abuses against migrants, as well as high poverty rates -especially in indigenous communities- and the need to carry out consultations in accordance with international standards, among others, in order to undertake megaprojects.

The High Commissioner also signed a collaboration agreement on the National Guard and another on the collaboration of the agency in charge of the investigation of the forced disappearance of the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa (Guerrero, 2014).

The former president of Chile stressed that the new authorities of the country “have recognized that Mexico has a human rights crisis,” that there is political will to move forward with the pending issues and that “President Lopez Obrador has expressed his willingness to implement a change of paradigm.” She stressed that in the case of the National Guard, the Mexican government is talking about “accountability, transparency, human rights indicators that allow us to see if the National Guard is indeed going in the right direction or is deviating.” “The office will not hesitate to raise the alarm if it sees that there is any type of situation that does not correspond to the spirit of what is sought and the spirit of the agreement”, she said.

In the Ayotzinapa case, she said: “My office will be an ally that will not hesitate to contribute to progress and at the same time will raise the alarm in case of non-compliance. We request to know the whereabouts of the boys”, she added.

For more information in Spanish:

Enfrentar las desapariciones forzadas es el problema central en México, insta Michelle Bachelet (ONU México, 9 de abril de 2019)

México tiene cifras de muertes violentas propias de un país en guerra: Bachelet (Proceso, 9 de abril de 2019)

La ACNUDH asesorará la creación de la Guardia Nacional (Proceso, 9 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet defiende a la sociedad civil: Es importante para la democracia, le dice al gobierno de México (Animal Político, 9 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet se va desolada de tanto horror en México: “No sabía de todo lo que me he encontrado…” (Sin Embargo, 9 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet: como una guerra, las muertes violentas en México (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Consultative Council on Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (April 11, 2019)

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Law that Creates National Guard after Three Months of Debate and Negotiation (March 9, 2019)

National / International: UN-DH denounces that 10 Human Rights Defenders have been murdered in Mexico until now in 2018

September 21, 2018

National / International: UN-DH denounces that 10 Human Rights Defenders have been murdered in Mexico until now in 2018 (September 21, 2018)

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National: Consultative Council on Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists

April 11, 2019

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On April 4th, on the eve of the official visit of Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from the 5th to 9th this month, the Consultative Council of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, requested, “in compliance with the recommendations of both the United Nations System and the Inter-American System, the Mexican authorities respect and revindicate the work of human rights defenders and journalists in our country.” This followed “from different points -even from the highest levels of the executive- that call into question the work of journalists and defenders.” The Consultative Council of the Protection Mechanism affirmed that, “statements that disqualify the exercise of journalism, the promotion and defense of human rights, in addition to delegitimizing it, contribute to sharpening the adverse context that day by day, both defenders and journalists live in.” It recalled that since the entry of the new government, 17 defenders and journalists have been killed in the country.

The Consultative Council raised the need to strengthen the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico, “since this is the main official tool to guarantee their protection and exercise the right to freedom of expression, the right to information and the right to defend human rights” and proposed a series of actions in this regard, including the importance of guaranteeing not only economic resources, but also human resources for this purpose.

It concluded that the Protection Mechanism “is not everything, but a tool that can contribute to the construction of a governmental system and/or policy that protects the exercise of these rights, and that without a doubt has to be a State priority.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado completo ( Consejo Consultivo del Mecanismo de Protección a Defensores de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas, 4 de abril de 2019)

Activistas y periodistas en riesgo por críticas gubernamentales (La Jornada, 4 de abril de 2019)

Bachelet debe contribuir a garantizar protección a periodistas y activistas: Mecanismo de Protección (Proceso, 4 de abril de 2019)

Consejo Consultivo del Mecanismo exige respeto a defensores y periodistas (Contralínea, 4 de abril de 2019)

Señalamientos del gobierno contra la prensa y activistas “contribuyen a agudizar el contexto adverso que viven día con día”: Mecanismo de Protección (Desinformemonos, 5 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed (March 31, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)

National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)


National: Espacio OSC Requests Dialogue and Effective Protection Measures for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists

April 1, 2019

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In a statement published on March 26th, following statements the previous day by the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, Espacio OSC (Civil Society Organization Space), an articulation of national and international organizations for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico, urged the Mexican State to take urgent measures for the attention of both sectors guaranteeing their right to defend human rights and exercise freedom of expression.

They regretted that the “ineffectiveness” of the Mechanism for the Protection of Defenders and Journalists has not been recognized until “after 114 days of government”, and even “after the assassination of at least 15 human rights defenders and journalists so far of the current [period of] government.”

Beyond the Mechanism, they emphasized “the need to take a turn towards an integral public policy that addresses structural problems from the axes of: respect, prevention, protection and investigation, sanction and reparation.” They also demanded that the authorities at all three levels of government “recognize the importance of the work of human rights defenders and journalists in strengthening a democracy, as well as ceasing to give stigmatizing speeches that delegitimize such work.”

They stressed, however, that the recognition of the failures of the Mechanism could be an opportunity for “the construction of solutions.” Therefore, they requested “to form work groups in conjunction with organizations and human rights defenders and journalists throughout the country to meet the set of challenges facing the Mechanism; and that there be wide spaces for discussion at the national level with different authorities and organizations that pave the way for the construction of an Integral Public Policy.”

 For more information in Spanish:

ONG llaman a proteger de forma eficaz a defensores y a periodistas (Proceso, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Pide Espacio OSC mesas de trabajo sobre Mecanismo de Protección de Segob (Aristegui Noticias, 26 de marzo de 2019)

EPN dejó en una empresa privada seguridad de periodistas, es hora de que el Estado la asuma: ONGs (Sin Embargo, 26 de marzo de 2019)

La Segob empleó entre polémica a empresa que “cuida” a periodistas, y aún así la recontrató 6 veces (Sin Embargo, 27 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed (March 31, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)

National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)

National: Defenders and Journalists Denounce Insufficient Resources for Continuity of Protection Mechanism (September 26th, 2018)

National: UN-DH urges Mexico to guarantee resources for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders (September 17, 2018)


National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA)

April 1, 2019

CEDMA.pngPresentation of CEMDA 2018 Report (@MVS Noticias)

On March 25th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA in its Spanish acronym) presented its report on the situation of Defenders of Environmental Human Rights 2018, in which it reports that there were 21 murders of activists in our country during 2018, maintaining “the lethal trend of 2017 when the country was included in fourth place in the world where there have been most murders of people who defend the environment.”

CEMDA stressed that “homicide was placed first of the aggressions committed against defenders of the environment in Mexico,” 49 attacks being documented in 2018 and acknowledged that “not all aggressions are reported or recorded by public media.” The report details that of these aggressions, 25% were murders; 19%, acts of criminalization; while threats and physical aggression accounted for 17% of the cases. The states most affected by aggressions were Puebla followed by Oaxaca and Chihuahua.

The vast majority of the attacks (37) occurred in a context of dispute over land and territory. The report also emphasizes that, “unfortunately, it is the Mexican State itself – which should be the guarantor of the human rights of environmental defenders – who was identified as one of the main aggressors.”

CEMDA urged the Mexican government to opt “for the consolidation of the pluricultural State” and to ratify the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (The Escazu Agreement, September 2018)) as soon as possible to establish a comprehensive and effective policy for the effective protection of environmental defenders and the prevention of aggressions.

Some recommendations issued by CEMDA in its Report include: “a) Align and harmonize the legal framework and public policies under a human rights approach and the principle of the pluricultural State; b) Implement, in environmental legislation and public policies, the gender perspective; c) Respect the right to autonomy, to the territory and to their own development for the indigenous communities facing development megaprojects; d) Guarantee timely compliance with the right to free, prior and informed consent of the peoples and communities and indigenous peoples, as well as information and participation in development projects that significantly affect their way of life; e) Implement measures such as the temporary suspension of work and activity until the rights of the indigenous communities are guaranteed; f) Review the content of the criminal types that facilitate the criminalization of environmental defenders; g) Suspend the implementation of a development project when there is evidence of attacks and aggressions against environmental defenders; h) Carry out the social and environmental impact assessments in the first stages of the project, before granting concessions or permits for natural resources; i) Strengthen the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, providing sufficient budget and material resources to fulfill its objective; as well as granting protection to groups that defend environmental human rights; j) Guarantee the right to full reparation of damage to defenders for attacks and violations of their human rights “; among others.

For more information in Spanish:

En 2018 fueron asesinadas 21 personas en México por defender la tierra, el medio ambiente y el territorio (CEMDA, boletín de prensa, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Informe sobre la situaciónde las personas defensoras de losderechos humanos ambientales México 2018 (CEMDA, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Defensores ambientales viven una complicada situación: AI (La Jornada, 26 de marzo de 2019)

Advierten tendencia al alza en homicidios de defensores del medio ambiente en 2019 (MVS Noticias, 25 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Map of over 800 Environmental Conflicts Caused by Megaprojects in 12 Years (March 12, 2019)

National/International: Global Witness Publishes “At What Price? Irresponsible Business and the Murder of Land and Environment Defenders 2017”

(August 6th, 2018)

National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders (March 26th, 2018)


National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed

March 31, 2019

Mechanism.png

At the morning press conference on March 25th, the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and the Undersecretary of Human Rights, Migration and Population of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, presented their diagnosis of the functioning of the mechanism of protection for journalists and human rights defenders, and announced new measures.

Regarding the functioning to date, Encinas acknowledged several deficiencies, among them, its bureaucratic and fundamentally reactive nature: “the preventive part is not taken care of not only of those who are subject to the Protection Mechanism, but journalists defenders in general”, he stressed. He also presented as a limitation the fact that the person in charge of “all the application of the mechanisms for each one of the persons who are subject to protection and who report deficiencies in the operation, particularly in their technological equipment and in their personnel” is a private company.

He said that the services of the company will be maintained, but “under a much more direct control mechanism” until the State can assume this responsibility “that cannot be delegated to a private person … We will rethink everything, which will even involve a saving of at least 15%, more than 30 million pesos currently channeled to a private company”, he explained.

He also questioned the use of panic buttons: “Of the 792 buttons, 209 of the users have turned off the button for more than 150 days a year; 100 more have it off between 61 and 150 days of the year. And although an important number, 230, have it on practically permanently, it is very unequally used.”

Currently, there are 790 beneficiaries of the mechanism: 292 journalists and 498 human rights defenders. Since December 1st (when AMLO came to power) to date there have been six murders of journalists, of which only one was under the protection of the mechanism, and in four cases there have been arrests. In the case of the defenders, nine homicides have been reported and only two have been clarified.

For more information in Spanish:

Mecanismo de protección a periodistas y defensores es reactivo, no preventivo: Encinas (Proceso, 25 de marzo de 2019)

Presenta AMLO mecanismo de protección para periodistas (Video; Aristegui Noticias, 25 de marzo de 2019)

El Gobierno anterior entregó a empresa privada la protección de periodistas y defensores: Encinas (Sin Embargo, 25 de marzo de 2019)

AMLO reconoce el asesinato de seis periodistas y ocho defensores en lo que va de su gobierno (Proceso, 25 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)

National: Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Defenders without Funding (October 14, 2018)

National: Defenders and Journalists Denounce Insufficient Resources for Continuity of Protection Mechanism (September 26th, 2018)

National: UN-DH urges Mexico to guarantee resources for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders (September 17, 2018)


National/International: Mexico Accepts 262 of 264 UN Recommendations from 2018 Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

March 21, 2019

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On March 14th, the Mexican State accepted 262 of the 264 recommendations issued by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council last November, in the context of the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It should be remembered that during these examinations, the situation of human rights in the assessed country is analyzed and each State makes a series of recommendations that are added to a final report.

The Mexican State took note of the recommendation proposed by the Vatican in the sense of “respecting and defending life from conception to natural death” on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional to accept it due to several resolutions of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that guarantee the legal interruption of pregnancy for several reasons, for example in case of rape.

The second recommendation that Mexico did not admit was the ratification of the Kampala measures to the Statute of Rome, to attain a caregorization of the crime of aggression so that it can be made known to the International Criminal Court (ICC), requesting more time to make that decision.

Cristopher Ballinas, general director of Human Rights and Democracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs -which led the Mexican delegation- reported that the Mexican government would create a platform to process the more than 2,800 international recommendations that the country has received since 1994, which he proposes to do in collaboration with civil society organizations. He expressed that the decisions were taken to “maintain a policy of openness to scrutiny and collaboration with international organizations in the field of human rights, in parallel with the defense and enforcement at the national level.” He acknowledged that “the Mexican government is aware of the challenges that prevail in the country and is determined to take the necessary measures to guarantee the rule of law, based on a model that promotes the prevention of violence and the strengthening of institutions, the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, as well as the elimination of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

For their part, representatives of Mexican civil society at the event reiterated several concerns after the first 100 days of government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. On behalf of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Protection of Human Rights, the defender Tita Radilla, daughter of Rosendo Radilla, victim of enforced disappearance in 1974, and actor Luis Gerardo Mendez, warned of the fact that “we are concerned that after only 100 days of management, 14 human rights defenders and journalists have been killed”, among other issues. They also expressed their concern about “the attempts of the president (Lopez Obrador) to discredit the work of civil society organizations, many of whom accompany victims of human rights violations and whose work is at risk in a hostile environment in their defense.” Gerardo Mendez also called for “the government of Mexico to undertake an adequate and effective communication and follow-up mechanism with civil society organizations, with human rights defenders and with victims, in order to fully comply with the recommendations made today and accepted by the government of Mexico.”

In turn, the president of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez, urged the government of Lopez Obrador to ensure that the National Guard is led by a civilian command and that the Army withdraws from the streets in five years: “Security requires a comprehensive approach, not just reactive measures based on the use of force.” He stressed that “in the three cycles of the UPR, the issue of justice, security and the rule of law have led to multiple recommendations to Mexico and are currently cause for concern.” He also called on the government to “build bridges with the academy, with civil society, with autonomous agencies, with international organizations and something fundamental, that the victims are heard.”

For more information in Spanish:

Proteger a periodistas y activistas; frenar desapariciones y erradicar feminicidios, compromisos de gobierno de AMLO ante la ONU (Aristegui Noticias, 15 de marzo de 2019)

México admite 262 de 264 recomendaciones de ONU (La Jornada, 15 de marzo de 2019)

OSC reprueban gestión de AMLO en materia de derechos humanos ante la ONU (Proceso, 14 de marzo de 2019)

México: El EPU debe utilizarse para abordar retos fundamentales en materia de derechos humanos (Amnistía Internacional, 14 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National: Mexico’s 2018 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) (November 14, 2018)

2018: México será examinado por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU en el tercer ciclo del Examen Periódico Universal (EPU) (April 4, 2018)

National: 176 recommendations for Mexico during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) (November 13, 2013)

Nacional: informe de OSC sobre DH rumbo al segundo Examen Periódico Universal (EPU) en octubre (July 12, 2013)


National: Several Organizations Express Concern over Freedom of Expression in Mexico

March 19, 2019

Freedom.png(@Reporters without Borders)

On March 12th, in Mexico City, Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of the organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB) held a meeting with the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, and reported that he had gone to the International Criminal Court (ICC) ask it to intervene in Mexico given the murders of 102 journalists and the forced disappearance of 14 others that occurred between 2012 and 2018 in the country. In the text presented, it is argued why they should be classified as crimes against humanity, as stipulated in Article 7 of the Statute of Rome, which establishes the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Deloire told Encinas of the great concern of his organization because in Mexico there continue to be numerous murders and acts of violence against reporters, being one of the most dangerous in the world for the press; it is ranked 147 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Ranking. In the first months of the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), three journalists have been murdered. In a subsequent press conference, he affirmed that “the mandate of President Andres Lopez Obrador must be marked by profound reforms in order to advance in the fight against impunity in which the murders and disappearances of journalists remain, as well as to improve the effectiveness of the protection mechanism for journalists, even in the states of the country where the situation is most difficult, so that journalists can work freely and disseminate all the information that is useful to Mexicans, for the country.”

For its part, the organization for freedom of expression Articulo 19 has expressed its concern over the fact that the new government has not pronounced on improvements in protection policies for journalists or presented clear actions to ensure that crimes committed against the press are investigated and punished: “The violence against the press did not end on July 1st nor in fact did it end on December 1st”, said Ana Cristina Ruselas, regional director of Articlulo 19. She also stated that “it is important and very necessary that the new government refuses to stigmatize the press, in a context like ours, the statements of the President of the Republic against the press only revive the violence and give guidelines to different individuals and different perpetuators to go against the press (…) The highest officials, including the President of the Republic, must expressly acknowledge the importance of the journalists, an express sanction to any type of aggression and a consequent fact that has to do with other State institutions of an investigation and sanction of this type of aggressions.”

Articulo 19 has documented that by using stigmatizing statements such as “conservative” [fifí] press and bribed journalists, AMLO might “legitimize and encourage attacks against journalists in the digital, in the physical physical and affect the plurality of public debate. This increases the level of vulnerability and risk faced by journalists in the most dangerous country to exercise freedom of expression in the Americas.” He demanded the head of state “unequivocally recognize the importance of a free press in democracy.”

In a similar vein, a study by Signa Lab of the Technological Institute of Higher Studies of the West (ITESO in its Spanish acronym) revealed that in recent months a trend in users related to the president in the social network Twitter emerged, whereby they carry out attacks against journalists and media critical to his mandate. The document “Democracy, freedom of expression and the digital sphere. Analysis of topologies on Twitter: the case # RedAMLOve” recommended “that there should be an official statement from the Presidency or from the Office of Social Communication of the same, to clarify what the position of the government against these online non-organic strategies is”. Signa Lab said that these actions “may result in critical voices, necessary in a democracy, retreating given the virulence of the attacks.”

When questioned about this study, the president denied that there is a group organized by the government to defend him from those who question or criticize him. He assured that the media will not be disrespected, freedom of expression will not be curtailed, “but we will exercise our right of reply.”

For more information in Spanish:

Reporteros Sin Fronteras denuncia ante la CPI crímenes contra periodistas en México (CNN México, 13 de marzo de 2019)

Dichos de AMLO incentivan ataques a la prensa, dice Artículo 19; Obrador niega bots a favor suyo (Vanguardia, 13 de marzo de 2019)

Impunidad de los crímenes contra periodistas en México: RSF anuncia su comunicación oficial a la Corte Penal Internacional (Reporteros sin fronteras, 12 de marzo de 2019)

En los primeros cien días de gobierno se ha intensificado la intolerancia a la crítica y al discurso disidente (Artículo 19, 12 de marzo de 2019)

Con AMLO van ya 3 periodistas asesinados y las acciones para protegerlos no aparecen: Art.19 (Sin Embargo, 9 de marzo de 2019)

DEMOCRACIA, LIBERTAD DE EXPRESIÓN Y ESFERA DIGITALANÁLISIS DE TENDENCIAS Y TOPOLOGÍAS EN TWITTEREL CASO DE LA #REDAMLOVE (Signa_Lab, ITESO, 28 de febrero de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National/Guerrero/Chiapas: More Attacks on Journalists; Articulo 19 and European Parliament Launch “By the Hand” Initiative to Protect Journalists at Risk (February 14, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)

Chiapas: Two Members of Movement for Welfare, Peace and Common Good of Amatan and Independent Revolutionary Campesino Movement Murdered (January 28, 2019)

National: Journalist Rafael Murua Murdered (January 28, 2019)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14, 2018)