National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders in México

February 10, 2015


On 3 February, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a report that evaluates the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders, which has existed formally in Mexico for a little over two years.  While the report recognizes the “importance of the Mechanism and the courageous work done by the team that comprises it,” it also identifies a number of areas in which “improvements are needed, using several cases that will serve as examples to illustrate these weaknesses.”

The report details how Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and human-rights defenders: “During the first nine months of 2014, the Mexican section of the international organization Article 19 documented 222 aggressions against journalists; […] and between January 2011 and December 2013, the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Groups documented 27 cases of human-rights defenders being murdered as a result of their labor.”

The report on the Mechanism notes that, “since the beginning, the lack of personnel and funds has limited the capacity of the Mechanism to respond efficiently to urgent petitions it receives from journalists and human-rights defenders.  A large part of the constrained number of personnel who were initially assigned to the Mechanism have not been adequately trained, were insufficiently qualified, and had merely temporary contracts.”  It indicates that “there has been an accumulation of cases for the Mechanism, and the majority of the human-rights defenders and journalists who have submitted petitions to the Mechanism have had to wait many months, and on some occasions longer than a year, with no response.”

According to WOLA and PBI, there was seen “bad communication between the beneficiaries and the personnel of the Mechanism,” as well as a “lack of coordination among the different organizations involved in the process,” leading to “grave failures in the provision of protection.”

Both organizations lamented that the investigations linked to aggressions against journalists and rights-defenders “have not advanced,” thus maintaining a situation of near-total impunity in these cases.  They stressed that, worst of all, the government has deployed forces “to discredit and criminalize the rights-defenders and human-rights organizations,” hence sending the “worrying message that the government neither respects nor recognizes the courageous work of human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en México: desafíos y oportunidades (WOLA y PBI, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Periodistas y activistas están desprotegidos por el gobierno: WOLA y BPI(Proceso, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Gobernación no protege ni a periodistas ni a activistas: ONGs desde Washington (Sin Embargo, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

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: Peace Brigades International (PBI) publishes report, “Mexico at Peace? Security Strategy and Human Rights”

February 5, 2015


On 21 January, Peace Brigades International, a non-governmental organization with 30 years of experience in international accompaniment and a permanent presence in Mexico since 1999, published its new report, “Mexico at Peace? Security Strategy and Human Rights.”  The document is based on interviews carried out by PBI with human-rights defenders who call into question a number of aspects of the federal government’s security strategy, particularly with regard to the “considerable role still played by the Army in public-security tasks, with no clear end-date [in sight].”

The new report stresses that, despite the official discourse, “PBI has not observed a Mexico at peace during the first two years of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, but rather can speak to the continuity of the problems related to public-security policies and their worrying effects on the respect for human rights in the country.”

The report has been presented publicly at a meeting attended by members of civil organizations who shared their concerns regarding the human-rights situation in the country, as well as diplomatic representatives from the German, Dutch, Canadian, French, Swiss, Norwegian, and European Union embassies.

In its conclusions to the report, PBI manifests its worry for the present context of insecurity and calls on foreign governments and their diplomatic representatives in Mexico to base their relations with Mexico on the state of Mexican human-rights defenders.  In this way, it also called on the Mexican State to recognize the importance and legitimacy of the work carried out by rights-defenders, to assure their physical and psychological integrity, and to implement effective measures of protection, both nationally and internationally.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe completo

Boletín de PBI México destaca consecuencias de la estrategia de seguridad para la defensa de DDHH (PBI, 21 de enero de 2015)

México, sin paz a pesar del discurso oficial: PBI (Centro ProDH, 22 de enero de 2015)

Repite Peña la lucha anticrimen del calderonismo, afirma grupo PBI (La Jornada, 22 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Peace Brigades International presents report on situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico (23 April 2013)

International: Annulment of planned cancellation of temporary residence of volunteers with PBI Guatemala

July 19, 2014


On 10 July was nullified the planned cancellation of the temporary residence of two volunteers with the Guatemala chapter of Peace Brigades International (PBI), as the organization previously had been informed on 2 July.  Following a meeting on 10 July between the Minister of Governance in Guatemala, Mauricio López Bonilla, and diplomatic corps from various European embassies, PBI was told that the situation was the result of a misunderstanding.  Following the clarification, it was further informed that the PBI volunteers whose visas were canceled in early July will recover their temporary residence.  This same day, by means of a telephone conversation, Bonilla made contact with the PBI team to present the formal explanation of the incident and to express his support for the work its members are performing in the country, particularly in terms of accompaniment of human-rights defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

PBI Guatemala: CANCELACIÓN DE RESIDENCIA TEMPORAL A DOS VOLUNTARIA/OS DE PBI (Peace Brigades International, 3 de julio de 2014)


Guatemala: BUENA NOTICIA! Anulación de la cancelación de la residencia temporal a dos voluntarios de Brigadas Internacionales de Paz (PBI)(OMCT, 11 de julio de 2014)

El gobierno de Guatemala expulsa a defensores de DDHH de PBI para proteger a las mineras (Otramérica, 6 de julio de 2014)

Oaxaca: European diplomatic delegation visits the Isthmus while attacks continue against defenders of land and territory

December 18, 2013

Delegación diplomática. Foto @Brigadas Internacionales de Paz (PBI)

Diplomatic delegation. Photo @PBI

During 12 and 13 December, representatives from the embassies of Switzerland, Norway, and Germany in Mexico carried out a trip to the Tehuantepec Isthmus toward the end of meeting with different human-rights defenders in the region and to “intensify the dialogue between the diplomatic corps and civil society and to make the prevailing conflicts over the construction of megaprojects in the region visible,” as the organization Peace Brigades International (PBI) notes.  PBI accompanied the diplomatic mission along with the Oaxacan organization Código DH during the visit.

Within the context of the visit, the delegation met with Father Solalinde in the Migrant Home “Brothers on the Path” as well as with the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ).  Along with the APPJ, the mission visited the lands on which the Fenosa Natural Gas corporation is building the Bii Hioxho wind-energy park.  The APPJ claims these lands to be communal.

Mariano López, spokesperson for the APPJ, noted that the delegation confirmed “the violations to the collective rights of the indigenous as committed by the Fenosa Natural Gas company with the construction of a wind-energy park on communal lands.”

Beyond this, the APPJ has denounced a new attempt at aggression against one of its members and spokespeople, Raymundo Regalado.  The acts took place on 11 December when a person associated with Fenosa Natural Gas followed Raymundo, threatened him, and tried to assault him.  The victim requested the assistance of the police and of passersby, leading the would-be attacker to flee.

For more information (in Spanish):

Constatan violación de eólicas a derechos de pueblos indígenas en Juchitán(La Jornada, 17 de diciembre de 2013)

Viaje a Tehuantepec (Embajada de Alemania en México, diciembre de 2013)

Empresa eólica Gas Natural Fenosa, hoy Bii Hioxho, atenta contra integrante de la APPJ (Observatorio Frontera Sur de México, diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Closing off of communal paths and police operation over construction of wind-energy park (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: The Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People denounces attack on wind-energy camp (26 October 2013)

Oaxaca: New threats of displacement from Playa Vicente (25 October 2013)

Oaxaca: Death by gunfire of opponent to wind-energy projected promoted by multinational Fenosa Natural Gas (20 August 2013)

Oaxaca: Protests continue in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 November 2012)

National: Peace Brigades International presents report on situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico

April 23, 2013


Photo @PBI

On 8 April, Peace Brigades International (PBI) presented its new report on the work of human-rights defenders in Mexico, called “Panorama of the Defense of Human Rights in Mexico: Initiatives and Risks for Mexican Civil Society.”  The publication demonstrates the actions and initiatives of social and human-rights organizations in Mexico, and it considers 25 cases.  The report is the product of an exploratory mission carried out during 2012 in six Mexican states, in addition to the experience accumulated by PBI during its 12 years of accompaniment work in Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Mexico City.In the roundtables organized by PBI, representatives of civil-society organizations shared their concerns regarding the situation of human rights in Mexico.  Rights-defenders agreed that the greatest obstacles for better security and participatory spaces are impunity, slander, lack of adequate protection, and lack of spaces for consultation and dialogue.  They called on the Mexican government and diplomatic corps to take actions to transcend these issues.

For more information (in Spanish):

PBI México: Nueva publicación sobre personas defensoras; organizaciones y autoridades acuerdan dar seguimiento a su situación de riesgo (PBI, 8 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: PBI calls for strengthening of protection of rights-defenders in the state (26 February 2013)