National: Activist Rosario Piedra Ibarra is elected new president of the CNDH

November 11, 2019


On November 7, the Senate elected the new head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH). With 76 out of 114 votes cast in her favor, Rosario Piedra Ibarra, human rights activist and daughter of the founder of the Eureka! Committee, an organization of mothers and relatives of the disappeared, was elected as the new ombudsman, while candidates Arturo Peimbert Calvo and José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez received 24 and 8 votes respectively.

After the vote, members of the National Action Party (PAN) denounced that in reality 116 instead of 114 legislators voted and that there was fraud in the process. “We demand the annulment of the vote to elect the incumbent of the @CNDH. [. . . ] We cannot allow FRAUD to be done in the Senate of the Republic”, Martha Márquez of the PAN reported on Twitter. It should be noted that the only people empowered to count votes are the secretaries of the Board of Directors of the Chamber where the PAN is represented by one secretary.

PAN senators also criticized that Rosario Piedra Ibarra was a candidate for federal congresswoman for Morena: “Today Morena did not vote in favor of the Mexicans, they voted for a president of the @CNDH who will act under the command of the President”.

I am never going to submit to a partisan idea that would be contrary to what is in my own conscience“, emphasized the new president of the CNDH before the accusations. She also stated that she wants to prevent the CNDH from becoming a instance of “simulation” with the promise of putting herself “in the shoes of the victims”.

On voting day she announced on her Twitter account: “A new period for human rights begins today. I heartily thank the people who place their trust in me and rest assured that I will work the same way I have for over 40 years. May this achievement be for all of us.”

For more information:

Rosario Piedra Ibarra en Twitter (November 7, 2019)

Rosario Piedra hace historia: Es la primera luchadora social que llega a la Presidencia de la CNDH (SinEmbargo November 7, 2019)

Oposición acusa fraude en elección de titular de CNDH; es un trámite concluido, dice Morena (Animal Político November 7, 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: CNDH Demands Clarification of Crimes against Journalists in Mexico – 90% Remain in Impunity (November 8, 2019)

National/International: UNO Presents Diagnostic of Protection Mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (September 2, 2019)

Oaxaca: Founder and Director of Community Radio Murdered. Tenth Journalist Murdered under AMLO Government (May 10, 2019)


National: Law for protection of human-rights defenders and journalists is enacted; warning from CNDH regarding attacks on activists

July 2, 2012

Felipe Calderón, 22 June 2012 (@Presidencia de la República)

On 22 June 2012, President Felipe Calderón ratified and enacted the Law for the protection of human-rights defenders and journalists that was approved by Congress at the end of April 2011, as well as the decree of Federalization of the Crimes committed against Journalists, persons, or installations that affect the right to information or freedom of expression.  He recognized that “The free manifestation of ideas, as well as the struggle in favor of human rights, are two essential elements of democracy and the State of Law […].  It is enraging to see how it is that in some regions of the country, journalists and activists are exposed to aggression, abuse, and acts of harassment in the exercise and due to the very exercise of their activities.  To them all, to you all, brave Mexicans who dedicate yourselves to journalism and the defense of human rights, I would like to say that you are not alone.”

In this sense, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, welcomed the enactment in Mexico of the Law, and she called for its immediate implementation, so that the objectives of the new law be realized.

In a communiqué, the national ombudsman, Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, notes that the sum of the efforts of authorities, non-governmental organizations, and civil society in general would allow for the work of rights-defenders to be guaranteed in Mexico.  He reported that to date this year, the National commission on Human Rights (CNDH) has documented 27 presumed violations of basic rights of defenders in Mexico, a statistic that would rise to 86 if one were to include the total cases since 2011.  In the case of journalists, the CNDH estimated that from 2000 to April 2012 there have been seen 76 murders of journalists in the country (up to 80 since the close of the report).

For their part, civil-society organizations also welcomed the enactment of the law.  At the same time, they warned of the responsibility that the Secretary of Governance has as regards the effective institution of the Mechanism of Protection “in strict application to the law, with the participation of civil society and the state authorities.”  They stressed also that “in light of the recurrence of the death-threats against these groups, investigations will also have to be a fundamental aspect to continue with.”  They demanded at the end that “the present federal government work on a transition plan that would guarantee the continuous and effective implementation and functioning of the mechanism, during and after the change in government.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Video del discurso de Felipe Calderón durante la firma de los decretos (Presidencia de la República, 22 de junio de 2012)

Comunicado emitido por el Ejecutivo Federal (22 de junio de 2012)

“No están solos”: FCH a periodistas (El Universal, 22 de junio de 2012)

Comunicado del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos. (22 de junio de 2012)

Urgen garantizar la efectiva implementación de la Ley de Protección a Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas (OSC de derechos humanos, 22 de junio de 2012)

Los delitos contra periodistas serán perseguidos por autoridades federales (CNN México, 22 de junio de 2012)

Van 27 violaciones a defensores civiles en 2012CNDH (El Universal, 24 de junio de 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/US: 15% of the funds of the Mérida Initiative may be tied conditionally for human-rights concerns

May 18, 2012

Kathleen Fitzpatrick (@US State Department)

On 10 May, press reports announced that the U.S. government was considering delaying 15% of the funds for the Mérida Initiative (that is, approximately $18 million) to make them conditional to the human-rights situation in Mexico.  It should be remembered that the U.S. government received $26 million in aid to Mexico in 2010, recommending that the autonomy of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) be expanded, giving it constitutional powers regarding the observation of international human-rights law and an end to military tribunals.

On 10 May, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Adjunct Subsecretary of State, announced that the Obama administration “still has not made a decision” on this question and that it will not do so until it has undertaken a more complete analysis regarding the progress made in Mexico in terms of human rights.

Regardless, Fitzpatrick revealed that though Mexico had seen important advances in legislative terms, “there still remains much work to be done from here on out regarding the implementation of these laws,” stressing that “impunity prevails as one of the most critical obstacles for the Mexican judicial system, whose capacity to impart justice remains limited.”

Regarding military tribunals, she noted that “if the military has ceded jurisdiction in some cases, the process still has not been included in the Constitution, and the military tribunals have continued reclaiming their jurisdiction in some cases involving civilians.”  Fitzpatrick also stressed the case of attacks and murders of journalists in Mexico, as well as on human-rights defenders and women.

In this context, different human-rights organizations, Mexican and U.S., insisted on the necessity of delaying the distribution of these funds until the Mexican government demonstrate significant advances in these terms.  “We believe that Mexico continues without having met its obligations,” claimed Maureen Meyer, representative of the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA), reason for which she recommended the Obama administration to sanction the Mexican government by delaying these funds for the Mérida Initiative, given the rights-violations committed by security forces.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sube presión sobre México por violación de derechos (El Universal, 11 de mayo de 2012)

EU: gran impunidad en crímenes contra periodistas (La Jornada, 11 de mayo de 2011)

EU exhibe a México: impunidad, violación a derechos humanos, asesinatos de periodistas (Proceso, 10 de mayo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Forum on “Military Cooperation, the Democratic Process, and Human Rights”  (29 May 2009)

Mexico: US approves another 300 million for Mexico as part of the Mérida Initiative (12 March 2009)

National: use of public force is regulated

April 27, 2012

(@ SIPAZ, archived photo)

Six months before ending his presidential term, Felipe Calderón on 23 April called for changes to be made to the legitimate use of force, detention of persons, chain of command, and investigation in which will participate the police, the armed forces, and governmental justice institutions.  Accompanied by the leaders of the ministries that drew up the accords, Calderón argued that with these instruments will be guaranteed the rights of the innocent and those victimized by crimes having to do with human rights.  He assured that these documents respond to the necessity of “having much more clear orders,” and they make precise the circumstances under which the State can use force.

According to the president, the reforms are a response to recommendations made by the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) and other international human-rights organs that seek to “strengthen the overall protection of human rights as regards the actions of authority.”  In any case, the content of these indications reflects that “security forces now have a much more solid legal basis to continue with their tasks as they have to date performed them: with respect for the law and with respect for the right of persons.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Regulan el uso de la fuerza pública (El Universal, 24 de abril de 2012)

Gobierno regula uso de la fuerza por parte de sus cuerpos de seguridad (CNN México, 23 de abril de 2012)

Presenta Calderón protocolos de seguridad (Proceso, 23 de abril de 2012)

Presenta Calderón protocolos de seguridad para fuerzas federales(Milenio, 23 de abril de 2012)

Protege nuevo protocolo derechos de inculpados y víctimas: Calderón(La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2012)

Video completo del evento (Presidencia de la República, 23 de abril de 2012)

Guerrero: CNDH releases recommendation in Ayotzinapa case

April 13, 2012

Photo @ Tlachinollan

On 28 March, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) released Recommendation 1 VG/2012 regarding the special investigation undertaken in light of the grave human-rights violations committed on 12 December 2011 in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, against students from the Rural Normal “Raúl Isidro Burgos” of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.  This is the first such recommendation of this nature released by the CNDH, utilizing its new constitutional prerogative that allows it to conduct special investigations in cases of serious rights-violations.

For the CNDH, the 168 public servants of the Guerrero state government who intervened against the manifestation effectively criminalized the social protest being carried out by approximately 300 students on 12 December 2011, thus violating their rights to freedom of assembly.  The report details that of the 168 police officers who participated, 91 carried firearms while it was confirmed that the protestors had no such arms.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights mentions in a summary of the CNDH’s recommendation that the “evidence collected by the CNDH demonstrate grave violations of the right to assembly and as a consequence to the right to life, physical security, and personal integrity, in addition to legality, juridical security,personal freedom, and dignified treatment.  Furthermore, transgressions against the rights to truth and information were observed, as were the rights that the Mexican juridical order recognizes for persons in their role as victims of crime and abuse of power attributable to public officials.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Recomendación No. 1 VG/2012 (CNDH, 27 de marzo)

Resumen de la recomendacion de la CNDH (CDHM Tlachinollan)

Informe Final de la CNDH confirma la legitimidad de la lucha de los estudiantes normalistas de Ayotzinapa y la veracidad de las denuncias(CDHM Tlachinollan, 28 de marzo)

Posicionamiento de los Normalistas de Ayotzinapa sobre el informe de la CNDH (CDHM Tlachinollan, 28 de marzo)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: March in commemoration of Genaro Vázquez – justice demanded for the case of Ayotzinapa (9 February 2012)

Guerrero: precautionary measures requested for education student; 5000 demand political judgment of Aguirre (8 February 2012)

Guerrero: CNDH confirms serious rights-violations against students of Ayotzinapa (16 January 2012)

Guerrero: Extrajudicial execution of students from the Rural Normal of Ayotzinapa (21 December 2011)

Mexico: 172 aggressions against journalists in 2011 – Article 19

April 2, 2012

On 20 March, in the Museum for Memory and Tolerance in Mexico City, the organization Article 19 for Mexico and Central America publicly presented its report “Forced Silence: The State, complicit with violence against the press in Mexico,” which documents a total of 172 aggressions against journalists in 2011.  Of these, 9 were murders against journalists and 2 against media workers.  Also reported were 2 disappearances and 8 attacks with firearms or explosives targeting media offices.

The report also notes that the major aggressor against the press continues to be the State itself: 53.63% of attacks were committed by public officials, in contrast to 15.63% of these being committed by elements of organized crime, though this latter force commits the most violence aggressions.  Dario Ramírez, director of Article 19, commented that these statistics “show to be untrue the version promoted by President Felipe Calderón, attributing to drug-traffickers violence against journalists.”  The states with the highest number of registered violent attacks as exercised by public officials against the press are Chihuahua (47 cases), Veracruz (33), Oaxaca (25), Chiapas (19), and Mexico City (17).

The report notes that National Commission on Human Rights’ (CNDH) Program on Assault against Journalists and Civil Human-Rights Defenders lacks an adequate methodology to register and document attacks.  Dario Ramírez detailed that “the number of complaints regarding violations of right to free expression made by those who work in journalism has increased, in contrast with the number of recommendations regarding the situation of violence and impunity faced by the press” (22 in 2011).

Also denounced was the fact that the Special Prosecutorial Office for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), an office that since its creation in 2006 has changed names on four occasions and seen its budget diminished by 72.36%, has undertaken penal action in 27 cases, having succeeded in releasing only one condemnatory sentence, reflecting the grave situation of impunity in terms of the prosecution of crimes against press-workers.  Furthermore, in 2010 FEADLE was observed to be inadequate 91.79% of the time.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Article 19 condemns attacks on journalists (22 March 2012)

Guerrero: Civil society requests that CNDH find those responsible for the Ayotzinapa case; State Attorney General’s Office affirms dismissal of officials in case

March 6, 2012

Photo @Meelanneee

On 16 February, students from the Rural Normal School “Raúl Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, in coordination with the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights and with support from national and international specialists and organizations, sent a request to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) regarding the special investigation the CNDH is carrying out due to the grave rights-violations that occurred on 12 December 2011.  This is the first time that the CNDH proceeds with an investigation into human-rights violations since the modification of the constitution’s article 102, which occurred in June of last year.  This change granted the CNDH the power to initiate special investigations in cases of grave human-rights violations, a capacity that previously had been the mantle of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN).  In this way, those who have signed the letter ask that the CNDH indicate “precisely which authorities it was who are responsible for the material and intellectual basis of the acts, be it by means of action or omission,” and that it call for “the participation of the Consultative Council in investigative proceedings and the publication of the final report.”

On 15 February, the State Attorney General’s Office of Guerrero confirmed the dismissal of seven of its officials in an act seemingly related to punishment for the displacement of the protest on the Cuernavaca-Acapulco highway on 12 December 2011, after the state government had publicly committed itself to clarifying this episode in which died two students and a gasoline-station worker.  Manuel Hernández Campos, representative of the Office, claimed it to be an “internal affair” involving 25 other agents from the Public Ministry and ministerial police, as well as 70 others who have been fired, including agents, chiefs, and prosecutors.

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden a la CNDH que señale “con precisión” a todos los responsables del caso Ayotzinapa (Sur de Acapulco, 17 February)

Instan a la CNDH a adoptar los más altos estándares en su informe final sobre el caso Ayotzinapa (Cencos, 17 February)

Carta de la sociedad civil a la CNDH (16 February)

Cesan a 7 por caso Ayotzinapa (Milenio, 16 February)

Reporta el gobierno del estado al ombudsman nacional las acciones que ha realizado (Sur de Acapulco, 17 February)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: March in commemoration of Genaro Vázquez – justice demanded for the case of Ayotzinapaç (9 February 2012)

Guerrero: precautionary measures requested for education student; 5000 demand political judgment of Aguirre (8 February 2012)

Guerrero: CNDH confirms serious rights-violations against students of Ayotzinapa (16 January 2012)

Guerrero: Extrajudicial execution of students from the Rural Normal of Ayotzinapa (21 December 2011)