National: Changes in EPN’s cabinet, as Murillo Karam resigns as Attorney General, and Lía Limón resigns from post as Subsecretary for Legal Affairs and Human Rights

March 10, 2015

Jesús Murillo Karam (@Wikipedia)

Jesús Murillo Karam (@Wikipedia)

At the end of February, following large protests in Mexico City in observance of five months since the forcible disappearance of 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa in Guerrero, Jesús Murillo Karam, Federal Attorney General, presented his resignation from the post which he had held for more than two years.  He will now lead the Secretary for Agrarian, Territorial, and Urban Development (SEDATU) while Arely Gómez González, an attorney and senator, will direct the PGR.

On 4 March, the ex-PAN member Lía Limón García resigned from the Subsecretary for Legal Affairs and Human Rights, leaving Ricardo Sepúlveda Iguíniz in her place.  This latter figure had previously served as director general of Public Policies on Human Rights in the same institution.  The media indicated the Ayotzinapa case as a possible reason for her departure, given that she had been in charge of attention to victims and governmental responses to national and international human-rights groups that released alerts and recommendations regarding the forcible disappearance of the students.  Lía Limón will pursue a congressional seat, now that she has joined the Green Ecologist Party (PVEM).

For more information (in Spanish):

Murillo Karam deja la poderosa PGR y lo mandan a la marginal Sedatu(Proceso, 26 de febrero de 2015)

Sale Murillo Karam de PGR: es el primer cambio en el gabinete de Peña Nieto (Animal Político, 27 de febrero de 2015)

Peña remueve a Murillo Karam de PGR (La Jornada, 27 de febrero de 2015)

Ayotzinapa y otros casos emblemáticos de Murillo Karam a cargo de la PGR (CNN México, 28 de febrero de 2015)

Se va Lía Limón de Segob; intentó “indemnizar” a padres de los 43(Proceso, 3 de marzo de 2015)

Renuncia Lía Limón a subsecretaría; va por una diputación (La Jornada, 4 de marzo de 2015)

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National/International: civil organizations and Mexican State before the IACHR

November 12, 2014

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During the last week of October, at least 20 Mexican civil organizations testified at five audiences before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C., to denounce past cases of impunity as well as current human-rights violations and the criminalization of social protest in the country.

The first audience had been requested by the Mexican government to present the National Program on Human Rights.  At the doors of the hall where the audience was to be held, dozens of protestors were assembled, holding photos of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa.  They received the Mexican governmental delegation with the slogan, “Alive you took them; alive we want them back!”  Lía Limón García, subsecretary on Juridical Affairs and Human Rights from the Secretary of Governance (SEGOB), recognized that Mexico is experiencing a time that challenges the normative advances made by the country’s government in recent years, and she affirmed that “the Mexican State will not rest until we find the normalist students.”

The Mexican civil-society organizations denounced for their part that “the humanitarian crisis confronting the country due to testimonies and denunciations of the disappeared, murdered, displaced, tortured, and injured have been ignored, covered up, and reduced to mere statistics by the government.”  They indicated that “the government’s efforts are focused on demonstrating the ‘Mexican moment’ of supposed progress and welfare.”  They also accused the State of “being responsible for the perpetration and perpetuation of grave, generalized, and systematic human-rights violations.”

Cases of disappearances and execution of persons from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s were also discussed, with this period of time being stressed as featuring “the connection between impunity for crimes committed during the badly named Dirty War and what is now happening in Mexico.”

The executive secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Álvarez Icaza (Mexican), lamented that the forcible disappearances recur as practices in the country, and he affirmed that “the events of Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya, and Puebla are lamentable, but so is the fact that these types of crimes took place previously.  This is a worrying sign.”

Another audience addressed the restrictions on protest made by legislation and the human-rights violations associated with repression of protest-actions.  10 federal and local bills were discussed that would regulate and constrain mobilizations.

For more information (in Spanish):

El Estado mexicano presume avances en la CIDH, y ONG’s reviran: el país está en crisis (Sin Embargo, 4 de noviembre de 2014)

México solicita ayuda a la CIDH por Ayotzinapa (El Universal, 31 de octubre de 2014)

Plantea la CIDH dar asistencia técnica a México para buscar a los 43 desaparecidos (La Jornada, 31 de octubre de 2014)

No sólo es en Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya y Puebla, es en todo el país, advierte la CIDH (Sin Embargo, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Abuchean a delegación mexicana en la CIDH por caso Iguala: “Regrésalos EPN” (Sin Embargo, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Posicionamiento de organizaciones de la sociedad civil sobre las graves violaciones de derechos humanos y la falta de respuestas del Estado mexicano (OSC, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Informe completo “Derechos Humanos y Protesta Social en México” (Frente por la libertad de expresión y la protesta social, octubre de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Nacional: piden ONG a visita oficial de la CIDH a México ante la “crisis en derechos humanos” (14 de agosto de 2014)


National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists

March 30, 2014

imagesNearly two years after its creation, the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico finds itself in a delicate moment, in light of the resignation of its head, Juan Carlos Gutiérrez Contreras, on 15 March, a situation has led to multiple questionings regarding its efficacy.  On 24 March, civil councilors of the Mechanism retired from the Governmental Council headed by the subsecretary for Governance, Lía Limón García, given their view that there do not exist adequate conditions for its functioning.

Since June 2013, civil-society organizations have presented a diagnostic regarding deficiencies within the Mechanism.  At present they identify structural failures: the impossibility of having a stable and qualified team due to constant firings, the fact that the full budget set aside for the organism is not yet accessible, and a delay in attending to cases.  Edgar Córtez, one of the civil councilors, detailed for example that until February of this year, the mechanism had received 152 petitions for aid, of which 22 were rejected, 89 were pending, and only 41 had been reviewed and discussed.  This implies that at least 70% of the requests have not yet been considered.

In a communique, civil society called on the Secretary of Governance “to assure in the coming election of the next Executive Coordination of the Mechanism that the designated person have proven experience in human rights, as national and international civil society organizations and journalists have noted in recent days, that a labor policy be established so that those who work for the Mechanism have their rights respected, and that [the Mechanism] work urgently to develop a priority means of responding to the problems identified with the mechanism with defined actions and results to achieve.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de OSC sobre las fallas del Mecanismo de Protección a Personas Defensoras de DH y periodistas (OSC, 27 de marzo de 2014)

Mecanismo de protección a periodistas falla y sus deficiencias no son atendidas: defensores (Animal político, 27 de marzo de 2014

Fallas estructurales en el Mecanismo de Protección de Defensores de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas (La Jornada, 26 de marzo de 2014)

Crece inconformidad contra Lía Limón; consejeros civiles la dejan sola (Proceso, 24 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: 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)