Guerrero: Presentation of book “Accompanying hope: 20 experiences in defense and promotion of human rights” in Chilpancingo

February 14, 2014

Presentación "Acompañando la esperanza" en Chilpancingo (@RedTdt)

Presentation of book “Accompanying hope: 20 experiences in defense and promotion of human rights” in Chilpancingo (@RedTdt)

On 10 February in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, there was held a book presentation of “Accompanying hope: 20 experiences in defense and promotion of human rights,” which forms part of the campaign “Let us defend hope” as promoted by the Network “All Rights for All” (TdT).

On the panel for the presentation were  the following persons: Javier Hernández Valencia, representative in Mexico of the UN High Commissioner’s Office on Human Rights; Edgar Cortez, from the Mexican Institute for Human Rights and Democracy; Abel Barrera Hernández, director of the  Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights; and Agnieszka Raczynska, executive director of TdT.  All speakers agreed on the gravity of the situation of those displaced by violence in the state.

The TdT Network also reiterated its concern for the situation faced by human-rights defenders in Guerrero, given that amidst a generalized situation of violence, this state has registered the highest number of attacks (including murders) against rights-defenders in Mexico.  “These communal defenders are those who, in the majority of cases, find themselves at greatest vulnerability of being criminalized, repressed, and above all delegitimized, especially when their communities organize themselves against private interests comprised of powerful groups that promote developmental models that are foreign to the vision of local peoples or who impose violence and fear,” noted Edgar Cortez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Expresan OSC preocupación por incremento de agresiones y asesinatos contra líderes sociales, defensores y defensoras en Guerrero (Comunicado de la RedTdt, 10 de febrero de 2014)

Alarma a la ONU el éxodo por violencia en Guerrero (La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2014)

Guerrero, entre los estados más riesgosos para defensores de derechos humanos: ONG (la Jornada de Guerrero, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Mexico: Human-rights organizations call on Senate to reform military justice system

October 5, 2013

Audiencias públicas sobre justicia militar en el Senado (@PAN)Within the context of the public audiences regarding military courts carried out between 24 and 27 September 2013 in the Senate of the Republic, national human-rights organizations called on the present legislature to pass reforms as soon as possible to restrict the use of military tribunals in accordance with international standards.  By means of a communique, these organizations indicated that said reform should observe the four sentences emitted by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) and the recommendations made by different international human-rights mechanisms affiliated with the United Nations, as well as those advanced by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN).

Amnesty International (AI) publicly expressed its support for the Mexican organizations, claiming that “due to its lack of impartiality and independence, military justice has proven to be an obstacle in the struggle to put an end to the impunity of human-rights violations committed by armed forces.”

With regard to the public audiences, Javier Hernández Valencia, representative of the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights, stressed that “the military courts should be limited, that is, the human rights violations committed by soldiers should be judged in civilian tribunals.”  Valencia questioned the senators why it is that “there has been excluded the term human rights or persons within the proposed reform, for it is important that this definition be included in the changes that you will carry out.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de organizaciones civiles: Reformas al Código de Justicia Militar deben ser conformes con las obligaciones de México: organizaciones de derechos humanos (27 de septiembre de 2013)

Pide AI a Senado reformar justicia militar (El Universal, 27 de septiembre de 2013)

Emplazan al Senado a reformar justicia militar (Proceso, 27 de septiembre de 2013)

El fuero militar debe ser acotado ante violaciones a civiles: ONU (La Jornada, 25 de septiembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Civil society calls on SCJN to consolidate restriction of military tribunals (28 September 2012)

Guerrero: SCJN orders that the Bonfilio Rubio case be tried in civil court (27 August 2012)

National: NGOs request that SCJN resolve affairs relating to military tribunals in 32 cases (17 June 2012)

National: UN presents “Report on the situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico: update for 2012 and assessment 2013”

July 19, 2013

Screenshot-2013-06-18_18.52.19-300x225On 25 June, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico presented the “Report on the situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico: update for 2012 and assessment 2013,” which reported that, from 2010 to 2012, 89 cases of aggressions against activists had been found, and that authorities had only prosecuted three presumed people responsible for the documented attacks; however, there exists no “firm sentence” against any of them.  The Commissioner emphasizes that “the lack of sanctioning of perpetrators does not only contribute to the repetition of the acts, but also aggravates the level of risk in which rights-defenders carry out their work.”

The report notes that in the majority of aggressions reported during this period took place in the states of Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guerrero, and Mexico City, affecting 26 women, 35 men, 11 human-rights organizations, and four relatives of rights-defenders.  It stresses that at least 23 persons or organizations had been awarded precautionary measures in their favor, having been attacked.  A plurality of the cases referred to death-threats (38%), arbitrary actions (13%), harassment (12%), arbitrary arrests (11%), murder (11%), attacks (6%), and forced disappearances (2%).  From 2006 to date, 22 rights-defenders and five familymembers have been killed in Mexico, and the whereabouts of six other defenders is unknown.

Javier Hernández Valencia, representative of the High Commissioner’s Office, stressed that “it it not only organized crime which attacks defenders,” given that “at least in nearly a fourth of the cases state actors were identified as those responsible for the actions, and for this reason we must continue strengthening our efforts to activate protocols and not remain stuck with accusations, but rather progress to the arrest of those responsible.”

The subsecretary of governance, Lía Limón García, who was present at the event, reported that since the launching of the “Mechanism of protection for rights-defenders and journalists,” there have been received 81 requests for incorporation, of which 33 correspond to journalists and 48 to activists.  She agreed that the “best means of protecting rights-defenders and journalists is to investigate the cases which exist of aggressions, attacks, and death-threats, so as to sanction and inhibit these abuses.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Defensores de DH, víctimas de caciques: ONU (El Universal, 27 de junio de 2013)

Alerta ONU por impunidad en agresiones a activistas en México (Proceso, 26 de junio de 2013)

ONU: persisten agresiones contra defensores de DH (El Universal, 26 de junio de 2013)

Defensores de derechos humanos, en la indefensión (Proceso, 25 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Governmental Council for Mechanism of Protection for Journalists and Defenders is Installed (20 July 2012)

Mexico: human-rights organizations affirm that “human rights are NOT an existing reality in the country” (3 March 2012)

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

Mexico: Presentation of the 2010-2011 diagnostic regarding human-rights observers (8 February 2012)

Oaxaca: UN publication on right to consultation and megaprojects is presented

July 5, 2011

In recent days, the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Mexico presented in Oaxaca de Juárez its most recent publication, “The right to consultation among indigenous peoples: The importance of the implementation in the context of large-scale development projects.”  The document recognizes that megaprojects such as hydroelectric dams, mines, highways, and the cultivation of monocultures imply at the least grave human-rights violations, particularly with regard to indigenous peoples.  Javier Hernández Valencia, representative of the High Commissioner’s Office, has declared that “to give a voice and power of decision to indigenous peoples within the context of large development projects is not only a legal imperative but also a guarantee for social and economic sustainability.”  He affirmed that the recognition of indigenous peoples as communities free to decide their future is worthless if the fundamental decisions that affect their lands and territory as well as their material, cultural, and spiritual sustenance are taken in spaces far-removed from these people.

For more information (in Spanish):

El derecho a la consulta de los pueblos indígenas: La importancia de su implementación en el contexto de los proyectos de desarrollo a gran escala (OACNUDH)

Pide ONU a gobiernos dar voz a pueblos indígenas en megaproyectos(Proceso, 21 June 2011)