Oaxaca: Denunciation of wave of attacks against journalists and activists

July 21, 2013

Foro “La defensa de los derechos humanos en Oaxaca” (@Red TdT)

In observance of the Forum “The defense of human rights in Oaxaca,” carried out on 18 July, civil-society organizations denounced that the attacks against human-rights defenders and journalists in the state of Oaxaca had intensified in a worrying manner since last year.

Participants indicated that “according to data from the Network ‘All Rights for All,’ between 2012 and 2013 there have been registered 35 aggressions against rights-defenders, thus placing Oaxaca as the state with greatest number of aggressions against human-rights defenders.  Similarly, the most recent report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico places Oaxaca among the most dangerous states for the exercise of the right to defend and promote human rights.”  Forum-goers mentioned cases which took place in previous days: “armed and masked persons arrived in broad daylight to the home of Mariano López, from the Popular Assembly of Juchitan; the disappearance on 15 July of the right-defender Heron Sixto López, a Mixteco indigenous person and member of the Center for Orientation and Assessment of Indigenous Peoples from Santiago Juxtlahuca; and the violent death of the journalist Alberto López Bello, from the local daily newspaper El Imparcial.”

The event was attended by a representative from the UN High Commissioner’s Office, Javier Hernández Valencia, who expressed that the work of human-rights defense is a job that “strengthens Mexican democracy” and that it is “indispensable to raise one’s voice, indicate errors, denounce corruption and human rights violations, so as to struggle against impunity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian ola de ataques contra periodistas y activistas en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 19 de julio de 2013)

Exigen organizaciones de Oaxaca garantías y protección del derecho a defender Los derechos humanos en la región. (Boletín OSC, 18 de julio de 2013)

La labor de los defensores de derechos humanos no es subversiva: ONU. (Proceso, 18 de julio de 2013)

Denuncian la desaparición forzada de activista en Oaxaca (Proceso, 18 de julio de 2013)

Asesinan a Alberto López Bello, periodista policiaco de ‘El Imparcial’ de Oaxaca (Proceso, 17 de julio de 2013)

Firma en línea: Acción Urgente por la desaparición del Abogado Herón Sixto Lopez

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)