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)

Chiapas/International: Grave situation of defenders denounced before the UN Human Rights Council; “We Are All Female Defenders” gives presentation

March 21, 2015

Foto @  RIDH | Panorama diplomático

Photo @RIDH | Panorama diplomático

In observance of the twenty-eighth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Consorcio for Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca (Consorcio Oaxaca), the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra, and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) denounced the climate of hostility and violence in which they carry out their work in defense of human rights in Mexico.  “We are here to denounce that the Mexican government is failing to protect human-rights defenders,” noted Yésica Sánchez, director of Consorcio Oaxaca. For her part, Norma Mesino, a member of the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS), indicated that the goal of the visit was to raise awareness about “the Mexican government denies us the right to justice” as female human-rights defenders.  In her case, the precautionary measures needed to protect her life were only granted after being ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  “We want the international community to focus itself on Mexico and demand that the government observe human rights,” she added.

These defenders participated together with the UN Special Rapporteur on human-rights defenders during the event, and the CMDPDH campaign called “#MakeThemVisible” was launched, toward the end of sharing the life-stories of 40 female human-rights defenders in Mexico.

Beyond this, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, the report “We Are All Female Rights-Defenders” wa presented.  This provides a national diagnostic regarding the situation of attacks on female human-rights defenders and the type of violence they have suffered–in the majority of cases, at the hands of State agents.

For more information (in Spanish):

Defensoras de derechos humanos mexicanas denuncian en la ONU falta de garantías para ejercer su labor (RIDH – Panorama diplomático, 9 de marzo de 2015)

La lucha de las mujeres defensoras en un México de violencia e impunidad (Animal Político, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Participa Consorcio Oaxaca en Diálogo “Contexto de la violencia en México y su impacto en las mujeres defensoras de DH” frente al Relator de la ONU (Consorcio Oaxaca, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Mexico: preliminary conclusions by the Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Teachers and Lawyers

October 19, 2010
On 15 October, after concluding a 15-day visit to six states of Mexico, including Chiapas, Gabriela Knaul, the Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Teachers and Lawyers presented in a press-conference a preliminary summary of the report she will submit to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2011.

Legal detention, military tribunals, constitutional reforms regarding justice and human rights, judiciary reform, autonomy of public ministries, judge- and lawyer-groups, and the lack of access to justice on the part of vulnerable groups, in addition to structural and organic deficiencies in the justice system, were some of the points included in Knaul’s preliminary comments before the press.

While recognizing the efforts made by Mexico in recent years on the protection of human rights, Knaul cited a listed of aspects in which the country is presently violating its obligations in procuring and imparting justice, the 1994 and 2008 reforms notwithstanding.

Knaul pronounced herself on the disappearance of legal detention, caution with regard to the utilization of protected witnesses, and the need to avoid presenting the accused before the media.  Regarding military tribunals, the Special Rapporteur stressed that, following the sentence released by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights regarding the case of the disappeared Rosendo Radilla, the federal executive had committed itself to present a legal initiative to reform the military justice-code.  Regardless, she warned, this project would only exclude from the military tribunal the crimes of forced disappearance, torture, and rape, but not those of extrajudicial execution, which would imply an insufficient reform, given that the victims of such abuses or their relatives would continue to go without effective resources for defense–among others, protection.

The expert criticized the lack of autonomy of the Public Ministry vis-a-vis the executive branch, something that “could undermine the confidence and credibility of the authority that is supposed to objectively investigate crimes and exercise penal action before the tribunals in all cases.” She indicated that it is still a rather frequent occurrence that the superior tribunal-judges for justice be named by governors, resulting in the lack of autonomy and objectivity that follows.

In conclusion, she stated that “access to justice continues to comprise [economic] debt for many Mexicans, especially for those who live in situations of poverty, indigenous peoples, and those who reside in rural and remote regions, in addition to women and migrants.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Full intervention of the Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Teachers and Lawyers (press-conference, 15 October 2010)

The judicial system, still subordinate to the executive: UN rapporteur (La Jornada, 15 October 2010)

UN requests protection for MP and judges in Mexico (El Universal, 15 October 2010)

Full report submitted by civil organizations to the rapporteur in Yucatán (12 October 2010)

Report presented by human-rights and academic organizations to the rapporteur in Mexico City (6 October 2010)