Oaxaca: National and international mission documents 41 aggressions against NGO and rights-defenders

October 12, 2012

From 1 to 3 October, members of Peace Brigades International (PBI) and representatives of member-organizations of the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” carried out a civil mission in the state of Oaxaca toward the end of “corroborating the human-rights violations committed against rights-defenders in this state.”

According to data registered by the Network, Oaxaca is the state with the greatest number of human-rights violations against rights-defenders in Mexico.  In 2011 and 2012 to date, 41 aggressions were seen against groups (12) and rights-defenders (29) in the state.  The mission confirms that there are 1847 persons who benefit from precautionary measures as issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a number that reflects the worrying violation of human rights in the state.

Upon ending the mission, its member-participants stressed that “among the reports on the human-rights violations of rights-defenders as received by the mission, murders, physical aggressions, harassment, death-threats, slander, robbery, arbitrary arrest, and undue or disproportionate use of public force are stressed.  This situation of attacks and harassment as directed against rights-defenders is presented as a general situation, not only a manifestation of isolated cases.”

The mission stresses also that “many of these aggressions occur against persons and communal organizations who defend their right to land and territory, specifically against extractive projects (mining), wing-energy (for electricity generation), hydroelectric dams, and infrastructural projects in general.”

The mission emphasizes that “one of the factors that implies great impact for the situation of insecurity for rights-defenders is the near-total impunity with which crimes against them are met.  The rights-defenders with whom the mission met have applauded the initiative to concentrate all the cases of aggression in the new Special Prosecutorial Office for Crimes of Social Transcendence.  Regardless, they expressed their worry, because there are still cases to be transferred, and given that the Office lacks the necessary resources and capacities to confront this urgent problem.”

The Mission announced that there will be a second visit before the end of the year, so as to continue with investigating the commitments of authorities to guarantee the security of human-rights defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

Oaxaca, primer lugar nacional en violaciones a derechos humanos de activistas (Proceso, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Misión a Oaxaca pro garantías básicas (La Jornada, 2 de octubre de 2012)

Documentan 41 agresiones a ONG y activistas en Oaxaca (Proceso, 3 de octubre de 2012)

Impunes, agresores de defensores de derechos humanos en Oaxaca: ONG (Milenio, 3 de octubre de 2012)

Concluye Misión de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos a Oaxaca (Comunicado final, PBI, RedTdT, GOBIXHA, 3 de octubre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)

Oaxaca: new intimidation directed at Alba Cruz (18 January 2011)

Oaxaca: attack on union leader Marcelino Coache (20 May 2010)

Oaxaca: Reports-police operations/new aggressions against the Human Rights Center/precautionary measures for activist and his family (14 May 2009)

Oaxaca: New threats in the case of Marcelino Coache (4 May 2009)

National: NGOs demand that presidential candidates make explicit their commitment to human rights

June 17, 2012


On 7 July 2012, in press-conference, members of the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (TdT Network) made public a  pronunciation in which they demanded that the presidential candidates make explicit their commitment to human rights and the tasks of the Mexican State as regards the ratification and observation of international treaties.

They report that on 4 May they sent a letter to each of the presidential candidates so that they would make an explicit commitment regarding the respect for human rights, and that to date they had received responses only from Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI-PVEM) and Gabriel Quadri (PANAL).  They stressed that Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD, PT, MC) and Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN) had not yet responded. Independently ofthe responses to the first letter, Agniezca Raczynska, executive secretary of the TdT Network, stressed that “Less than a month before the presidential elections, what we have heard are merely general ideas regarding the questionof human rights, but the candidates have not told us how they will reach these objectives.”

The communiqué notes that “we stress that beyond taking the question of human rights to be a political banneror a mechanism to increase sympathy, the candidates take on clear postures and commitments that are accessible and permanent with regard to the following critical affairs that for us constitute a minimum agenda to assure that human rights be respected in Mexico: 1. civil rights: justice and public security; 2. economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights; 3. labor rights; 4. rights of women; 5. the collective rights of indigenous peoples; 6. rights of human-rights defenders and journalists; 7. political rights and citizens’ participatory rights; 8. rights of migrant persons and those seeking asylum and refuge.”  Beyond briefly diagnosing the state of each of these points, the TdT Network suggested a series of measures to adopt and implement.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento completo de la RedTdT (7 de junio de 2012)

Desdeñan candidatos los derechos humanos: ONG (La Jornada, 8 de junio de 2012)

Piden a presidenciables incorporar derechos humanos en campañas(Proceso, 7 de junio de 2012)

Mexico: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico

March 25, 2011

On 14 March in the Senate of the Republic was presented a point of agreement directed to the executive branch indicating the urgency of approving a mechanism for the protection of journalists and rights-defenders. In this document, the adverse conditions for the practice of liberty of expression and the right to defend human rights “in light of the increasing violence registered in our country and the impunity in which governmental authorities and organized crime act, there have been registered violent attacks against journalists and activists as a deliberate and organized response to their work.”

In a similar sense, on 15 March, civil organizations for the defense and promotion of human rights denounced in a press conference that aggressions against defenders continue to increase in the state of Chihuahua and are maintained in Guerrero and Oaxaca; the case is similar for journalists in Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Morelos. These organizations claim that in Mexico the State mechanisms charged with protecting and guaranteeing the security of threatened journalists and defenders are ineffective, referring in particular to international precautionary measures. They stressed that the government must “publicly recognize the importance of the work of defenders and journalists and the vulnerability to which they are exposed, create mechanisms of protection, and install a worktable to attend to the problem of aggressions and death-threats.”

The same day, in Mexico City, Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defenders (Acuddeh) presented the organization Protection Desk Mexico which will seek to “remove from invisibility the violence and risks involved in defending human rights” and to contribute to “the development of security plans in the organizations, to help defenders and organizations to overcome obstacles to obtain security, diminish difficulties in work, stress the importance of governmental protectipon mechanisms, and make the UN declaration on rights-defenders be respected.”

Finally, in observation of the 41st National Assembly realized in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” pronounced itself on the situation of human-rights defenders as regards the context experienced in southeastern Mexico, denouncing that “the generalized violence in the country and the deepening of impunity exacerbate the present context of repression, poverty, criminalization, migration, territorial looting, and attacks against those who promote, defend, and exercise all rights for all.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Punto de Acuerdo del Senado de la República sobre mecanismo de protección a periodistas y defensores de derechos humanos (14 March 2011)

Aumentan agresiones contra activistas y comunicadores (La Jornada, 15 March)

Ante el riesgo de defender los derechos humanos, Protection Desk trabajará desde la sociedad civil en seguridad y registro de agresiones(CENCOS, 15 March 2011)

Ola de violencia afecta a defensores de los derechos humanos en el sureste del país (La Jornada, 21 March 2011)

Pronunciamiento de la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos“Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” sobre el contexto en el Sureste de México (20 March 2011)

Saludo del Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos a la 41 Asamblea Nacional de la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos.” (March 2011)

Mexico: “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime.” Statement from Edgar Cortez (Red TDT)

August 19, 2008

Edgar Cortez presents the “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” campaign at Centro Prodh

Edgar Cortez, Executive Secretary of the National Network of Civil Organizations for Human Rights ‘All Rights for All’ (Red TDT, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos), spoke on the organization’s national campaign “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” at the First National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Family Members of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience which took place July 24 through 26 in Mexico City.

The introduction to his comments touched on the poverty in Mexico as well as the lack of human rights vigilance stating that “there is not only an economic inequality, but rather this inequality is translated into an inequality of the possibility of enjoying all of one’s rights.” His remarks revolved around the recent constitutional reforms of the Mexican judicial system which were approved on June 18 of this year. While Cortez admits that there are some good changes made in the reform, the definition of “organized crime” has been extended so broadly that it may very well be applied to social protest and social activists. His presentation refers to the fact that “the full weight of the law” is used against social protest without evidence or the guarantee of due process.” The presentation also claims that “in Mexico, rights are used to ‘mistreat those they should care for, persecute those they should protect, ignore those they should pay more attention to and serve those they should control.’”

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