National: Seven Journalists and 11 HR Defenders Murdered in 2019 – UNHCHR

June 20, 2019


In a statement published on June 12th, the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) condemned the murders of the journalist Norma Sarabia Garduza the previous day and the environmental defender Jose Luis Alvarez Flores two days before. Both carried out their work in Tabasco.

The UNHCHR emphasized that Sarabia Garduza is the seventh journalist killed in Mexico during 2019 and the first female journalist in this same period; and that with Alvarez Flores there are at least eleven human rights defenders murdered in the country this year. It highlighted with concern that in just 13 months, four cases of defenders and journalists killed in the state of Tabasco have already been documented and that the office was unaware of progress in the investigations in any of the cases.

The Office reiterated its “conviction, also indicated by numerous international human rights mechanisms, that the lack of effective and diligent investigations encourages a cycle of impunity that facilitates the commission of these crimes,” which is why it urged the authorities to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into “the assassinations of Norma Sarabia Garduza and Jose Luis Alvarez Flores, effectively exhausting all lines of investigation, including those that may be related to their work and bringing to justice those materially and intellectually responsible.” It also urged the authorities to “guarantee the safety of the colleagues and relatives of Sarabia and Alvarez.”

For more information in Spanish:

ONU-DH llama a esclarecer los asesinatos de la periodista Norma Sarabia y el defensor José Luis Álvarez, quienes ejercían su labor en Tabasco (ONU DH, 12 de junio de 2019)

Es preocupante que en 13 meses asesinaran a cuatro defensores y periodistas en Tabasco: ONU-DH (Proceso, 12 de junio de 2019)

Condena ONU-DH asesinatos de periodistas y defensores en Tabasco (Debate, 12 de junio de 2019)

Con Sarabia suman 8 periodistas asesinados en 2019: CNDH (La Jornada, 13 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Tabasco: Ecologist Jose Luis Alvarez Flores Murdered (June 17, 2019)

Chiapas: Denuncian ataque contra defensor de los derechos humanos en San Cristóbal de las Casas (June 10, 2019)

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

Chiapas: Human Rights Defender Sinar Corzo Esquinca Murdered (January 14, 2019)

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

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders

October 26, 2012

Agnieszka Raczynska @

On 19 October, the work of the Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders formally began.  This organization will protect these subjects when their lives are at risk due to the work they engage in.  The Council is comprised of people from civil society who specialize in human rights, journalism, and academia.

The Consultative Council will have in its membership Agnieszka Raczynska, the Executive Secretary of the Network All Rights for All; Edgar Cortéz, from the Mexican Institute for Human Rights and Democracy; Michael Chamberlain, director of Initiatives for Identity and Inclusion; and Juan José Perdomo, president of the National Network of Organizations of Older Adults, the Retired, and Pensioners. In the area of freedom of expression and journalists, members will include Rogelio Hernández, director of the House for the Rights of Journalists; Jade Ramírez, recipient of the National King Prize of Spain; Jorge Israel Hernández, collaborator of Masters degrees in journalism from the Center for Investigation and Economic Teaching A.C. (CIDE); and José Buendía, executive director of the Press and Democracy Foundation. As academics, Pablo Romo, members of Services and Assessment for Peace (Serapaz), and Armando Hernández Cruz, doctor of jurisprudence from UNAM will participate.

In a press-release signed by several civil-society organizations, these indicate that “we have reached yet another success so that in Mexico there be an institution that protects rights-defenders and journalists.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa: OSC de DDHH y de Libertad de Expresión en México consiguen avanzar en instalación del 1er mecanismo que protegerá a defensores y periodistas (19/10/2012)

La Jornada: Integran consejo consultivo que protegerá a periodistas y defensores de derechos humanos (20/10/2012)

Página3: Nombran Consejo del Mecanismo de Protección a Personas Defensoras y Periodistas (20/10/2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

National: Governmental Council for Mechanism of Protection for journalists and defenders is installed

July 20, 2012

Campaña "Yo me declaro" de la OACNUDH @

Campaign “I declare myself” from the UN @

On 10 July, the Secretary for Governance (Segob) installed a Governmental Council for the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists.  This institution will be the top organism of the mechanism which would furthermore be made up of a Consultative Council and a National Executive Coordination body.  This second organ will be directed by Omeheira López Reyna, whose naming took place during the first session of the Council.  The meeting was led by the subsecretary for Juridical Affairs and Human Rights from the same Secretariat, and it was attended also by representatives from the Federal Attorney General’s Office, the Secretary for Public Security, and the Ministry of Foreign Relations, in addition to representatives of civil human-rights organizations, such as the Fray Vitoria Center for Human Rights and Article 19, among others.  The Governmental Council will be the site of the taking of decisions for the protection of human-rights defenders and journalists.  According to the Segob, some of the other decisions taken during the meeting included the release of a call for the creation of a Consultative Council, which would privilege the words of human-rights and journalistic experts.  The Council will be made up of 9 persons, 4 of whom will make up the Governmental Council.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de la Secretaría de Gobernación (10/07/2012)

La Jornada: Grupo pro defensores y periodistas, instalado(11/07/2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Mexico: Accord to establish a Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders; campaign “Declare yourself” is launched

July 20, 2011

On 6 July, in observance of the official visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, there was presented an accord to establish the foundation of a Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, the same that was published on 7 July in the Official Daily of the Federation.  According to the agreement, the Secretary of Governance (Segob), through the “Secretary, the Subsecretary of Juridical Affairs and Human Rights, and the Head of the Institution for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, will dictate the necessary administrative measures to protect human-rights defenders in light of their situation of risk, threat, and vulnerability.”  In this document human-rights defenders are defined as those persons who, whether individually or collectively, promote and defend the human rights that have been recognized by the Mexican Constitution and the international agreements ratified by the Mexican State.  The agreement stipulates that the Federal Attorney General’s Office and other institutions of the federal administration should collaborate with Segob to protect those human-rights defenders who find themselves in situations of risk, threat, or vulnerability.  Regarding the establishment of a Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, the “Secretary of Governance will seek the participation of representatives of non-governmental organizations that promote and defend human rights as well as academic institutions and other experts.”  There will be no modification in the organizational structure nor in additional budgeting for the implementation of the mechanism, according to the agreement.

Several civil-society organizations (OSC) have welcomed the agreement, but regardless there are deficiencies.  In a joint communiqué, Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defenders (ACUDDEH), the Global Association of Communal Radios Mexico (AMARC), the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the National Center for Social Communication (Cencos), the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), the Cerezo Committee, the Northern Border Initiative of Mexico, Litiga OLE, and the National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” affirmed that the federal government’s proposal does not represent a concession on the part of the Mexican State but rather a joint effort by persons and organizations that seek to effectively protect human-rights defenders.  They expressed the following: “We maintain a series of worries with regard to the guidelines for the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders.  We feel that it should be inclusive and have its own budget, as well as consult state-governments in its application.”  Among the things that should be included within this Mechanism, says the communiqué, are agreements with the states of the federal (given that in some cases they are the ones responsible for implementing the Mechanism’s measures), the participation of civil society in the same, an inter-institutional budget for its implementation, a broad definition of the term human-rights defender, and clearly defined measures of prevention and investigation, among other things.

Cencos, for its part, did an analysis and comparison of the agreements for the protection of journalists and human-rights defenders.  In its conclusion it indicates that “in light of the problem is highlighted the lack of institutional harmonization among the diverse ambits to attend to the situations of vulnerability that are faced in a wholesome manner.  That which was created for the protection of rights-defenders and journalists is not sufficient.  There must be a holistic interrogation so as to understand the possibly responsibility for aggression comes from organized crime as well as governmental authorities.  For this reason the process would require the generation of confidence, prioritizing the vision of human rights as a state responsibility.”

Also on this occasion of the official visit of Navanethem Pillly to Mexico, on 6 July in Mexico City there was had a public presentation of the campaign “Declare yourself,” which seeks to generate consciousness and visibilize the work of human-rights defenders, and thus ensure that this work be recognized, valued, and protected in light of the risks faced by defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acuerdo para el establecimiento de un Mecanismo para la Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (Documento oficial, emitido por la Secretaría de Gobernación en el Diario Oficial de la Federación) (07/07/2011)

Comunicado conjunto de organizaciones de derechos humanos sobre el Mecanismo para la Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (05 July 2011)

Cencos: 10 elementos: Análisis sobre los “Acuerdos” de protección para periodistas y defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos(07 July 2011)

Campaña “Declárate”

Red TDT: Documento entregado a la Alta Comisionada de Naciones Unidas de Derechos Humanos en el encuentro con miembros de la Sociedad Civil (05 July 2011)

La Jornada: ONG acusan ante comisionada de la ONU las graves violaciones a derechos en el país (06 July 2011)

La Jornada: Presentan campaña para proteger a los defensores de las garantías básicas (07 July 2011)

La Jornada: Preocupan a la ONU violaciones a derechos humanos en México (07 July 2011)