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July 29, 2015

RostrosdelDespojoPalenqueSIPAZ accompanying a march of indigenous people in Palenque, Chiapas

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National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders in México

February 10, 2015

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On 3 February, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a report that evaluates the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders, which has existed formally in Mexico for a little over two years.  While the report recognizes the “importance of the Mechanism and the courageous work done by the team that comprises it,” it also identifies a number of areas in which “improvements are needed, using several cases that will serve as examples to illustrate these weaknesses.”

The report details how Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and human-rights defenders: “During the first nine months of 2014, the Mexican section of the international organization Article 19 documented 222 aggressions against journalists; […] and between January 2011 and December 2013, the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Groups documented 27 cases of human-rights defenders being murdered as a result of their labor.”

The report on the Mechanism notes that, “since the beginning, the lack of personnel and funds has limited the capacity of the Mechanism to respond efficiently to urgent petitions it receives from journalists and human-rights defenders.  A large part of the constrained number of personnel who were initially assigned to the Mechanism have not been adequately trained, were insufficiently qualified, and had merely temporary contracts.”  It indicates that “there has been an accumulation of cases for the Mechanism, and the majority of the human-rights defenders and journalists who have submitted petitions to the Mechanism have had to wait many months, and on some occasions longer than a year, with no response.”

According to WOLA and PBI, there was seen “bad communication between the beneficiaries and the personnel of the Mechanism,” as well as a “lack of coordination among the different organizations involved in the process,” leading to “grave failures in the provision of protection.”

Both organizations lamented that the investigations linked to aggressions against journalists and rights-defenders “have not advanced,” thus maintaining a situation of near-total impunity in these cases.  They stressed that, worst of all, the government has deployed forces “to discredit and criminalize the rights-defenders and human-rights organizations,” hence sending the “worrying message that the government neither respects nor recognizes the courageous work of human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en México: desafíos y oportunidades (WOLA y PBI, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Periodistas y activistas están desprotegidos por el gobierno: WOLA y BPI(Proceso, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Gobernación no protege ni a periodistas ni a activistas: ONGs desde Washington (Sin Embargo, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)


National: Report on human rights in Mexico (from June 2013 to May 2014)

September 6, 2014

portada-informe-webOn August 30, the Report “Defending human rights in Mexico: A struggle against impunity (from June 2013 to May 2014)” was presented in Mexico City. It’s based on the work of documentation of Urgent Action for the Defense of Human Rights (ACUDDEH AC), Comité Cerezo Mexico and the National Campaign Against Enforced Disappearances.

The report recorded that since the beginning of Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) Presidency, 669 arbitrary political arrests were registered, of which 412 were documented in the report. 25 extrajudicial executions against human rights defenders were also documented (23 are in the report). As for the forced disappearance, during the administration of EPN, 29 occurred, of which 16 are included in the report. Not including arbitrary arrests in Mexico City, the most dangerous states for the work of human rights defenders are Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero.

The press release highlighted: “We remain convinced that to sum up the information that has been documented with respect to cases of political imprisonment, arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, help to get a much more comprehensive picture of the strategies of social control, political repression and counter-insurgency that the state uses in its quest to impose to the Mexican population a series of reforms that deepen neoliberal policies, or what is the same, that deepen dispossession and plunder in the conditions of a worthy life for people in general.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: La defensa de los derechos humanos en México: una lucha contra la impunidad Junio de 2013 a mayo de 2014 (Comité Cerezo México, 30 de agosto de 2014)

La defensa de los DDHH en México: una lucha contra la impunidad‏. Junio de 2013 a mayo de 2014 (Kaos en la Red, 28 de agosto de 2014)

PRESENTACIÓN INFORME: LA DEFENSA DE LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS EN MÉXICO DE 2013 A 2014 (Protection Line, 26 de agosto de 2014)

La defensa de los derechos humanos en México: una lucha contra la impunidad Junio de 2013 a mayo de 2014 (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos  “Todos los derechos para todas y todos”)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Publication of report “Human rights in Oaxaca 2009-2013. Citizens’ report: a pressing debt” (August 20, 2013)

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


National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmentalists

June 12, 2014
Demostration against the Paso de la Reina Dam in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ)

Demostration against the Paso de la Reina Dam in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ)

The Mexican Environmental Law Center (CEMDA) announced that, between 2009 and 2012, 51 environmental activists were attacked in Mexico. 23 of those cases were murders and two are of forced disappearance.

Andrea Ulisse Cerami, responsible for Defense and Public Policy at CEMDA, also mentioned: “We have a record of cases but we believe there might be many more of them, because several defenders do not even report those aggressions. We believe that there are more; there are cases of persons that come to us and express that they are afraid to denounce. “

These attacks occur when communities oppose development projects of different types. The projects are imposed in their territories without consulting them, although they may imply the sale or abandonment of their lands.

According to Andrea Ulisse Cerami, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders, and it is among the 5 countries that have received the most complaints. The states with the highest number of reported assaults are Guerrero and the state of Mexico. The cases of Oaxaca and Chiapas, both rich in natural resources, are also notable. “There has been a number of complaints, mainly related to mining. The case of Mariano Abarca Romero, defender of indigenous peoples and anti-mining activist who was killed [in Chiapas], is one of them.”

Finally, the representative of CEMDA emphasized the failure to investigate and punish the perpetrators, “which is the main preventive measure that can be given.” “In the case of murders in recent years, none of them has been clarified. There is the problem of access to justice for environmental defenders. In fact the lack of punishment of those responsible is another measure that encourages new attacks because nobody seems to mind about them.”

For more information (in Spanish)

El CEMDA reporta 51 ataques a activistas del medio ambiente en tres años; hay 23 asesinados y dos desaparecidos (Sinembargo, 5 de junio de 2014)


National: Closure of the Campaign “Let Us Defend Hope”

June 12, 2014

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On May 31, members of various civil Human Rights organizations held a public event to close the campaign “Let Us Defend Hope,” which was launched just over a year ago and aimed at “spreading the positive impacts of male and female Human Rights defenders.  They recalled that the Campaign began in March 2013 and “collected twenty stories of how the work of human rights defenders has contributed to build a more just and democratic society. Irinea Buendia, mother of Mariana Luna Buendia, victim of femicide in June 2010, and Professor Alberto Patishtan, a political prisoner for 13 years who was released a few months ago, were present at the event.

They stressed that forums, conferences and public events were held in eight Mexican states in the framework of this Campaign. Moreover they stated that: “Mexico is a country of high risk to those who defend human rights. One factor that increases this risk is the lack of knowledge and appreciation of the work of human rights defenders. […] No doubt, through this campaign, we helped to publicize these contributions, and invited others to do so. Today more than ever, Mexico needs human rights defenders and to open spaces for public debate so as to strengthen freedom of expression of all people. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Clausuran campaña en pro de defensores de derechos humanos (31 May 2014)

Comunicado de las OSC que integraron la Campaña (31 May 2014)

Website: http://defendamoslaesperanza.org.mx/

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Presentation of book “Accompanying hope: 20 experiences in defense and promotion of human rights” in Chilpancingo (14 February 2014)

Chiapas: Forum “Defending hope and autonomy from southeastern Mexico” (19 July 2013)

National: Campaign “We Defend Hope” in favor of human-rights defenders (8 April 2013)


National: Campaign “We Defend Hope” in favor of human-rights defenders

April 8, 2013

banner_redtdt_3Starting on 20 March, the National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” announced the National Campaign “We Defend Hope” in favor of human-rights defenders.  By means of this campaign, and for a year’s course, it has been proposed that there be shared different experiences of the defense and promotion of the human rights advanced by the 73 organizations that comprise the Network in 21 states of Mexico.

By means of this and other public acts to raise consciousness, the Network seeks to make-visible the contributions of rights-defenders in the construction of a more just society.  During the launch of the campaign, Agnieszka Raczynska, Executive Secretary of the Network, observed that “the work of human-rights defenders is little-recognized in Mexico; on several occasions, it has been the authorities who defame those who defend human rights.  Over the course of the last few years, rights-defenders have been threatened, surveiled, harassed, slandered, and physically assaulted, all because of the work they carry out in favor of the victims or the causes they defend.”

The campaign also proposes the integration and participation of society in general in these efforts, given that all people can be defenders of their own communities and places.

For more information (in Spanish):

Página de la Campaña “Defendamos la esperanza”

Boletín de prensa en el marco del lanzamiento de la Campaña (20 de marzo de 2013)

Página de la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” (Red TDT)

Defendamos la esperanza (La Jornada, 23 de marzo de 2013)


Mexico: Insufficient attention to human rights on the part of EPN

March 20, 2013

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 Nearly a hundred days into the new administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, Annesty International (AI) expressed that “the few measures that Enrique Peña Nieto has taken in terms of human rights simply do not correspond to the gravity of the situation that Mexico is experiencing.”

“There exist worrying indications that this government is not giving sufficient priority to the protection of human rights.  The new administration should break with the empty promises from before regarding human rights, putting an end to the impunity of abuses,” noted Javier Zúñiga, special assessor of AI.

Victims of violence, police reform, code of military justice, migrants, women, indigenous people, human rights defenders and journalists: AI went systematically through the problems that exist and the lack of significant progress in each sphere.

For more information (in Spanish):

Peña Nieto: Cien días esperando verdaderos avances de derechos humanos (Comunicado de prensa de AI, 5 de marzo de 2013)

AI: insuficiente atención de Peña a derechos humanos (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2013)

Ai: Insuficiente respuesta de EPN en derechos humanos (El Universal, 4 de marzo de 2013)

Pide AI al gobierno de Peña más compromiso con derechos humanos(Milenio, 4 de marzo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Nacional: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)

National: International judges report on conclusions of the observation of state of justice in Mexico (12 October 2012)

Chiapas: Presentation of report on torture in Chiapas “From Cruelty to Cynicism” (2 July 2012)

The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)


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