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By Peace And Human Rights Mexico – European Union

2023

Gratitude for Being Part of the Human Rights Observation Mission in Mexico

I am deeply honored to have been a part of the International Mission documenting human rights violations in Mexico as a documentary filmmaker, photographer, and communication coordinator. 

The experience has been both enlightening and challenging, shedding light on the pressing issues faced by defenders of human rights and marginalized communities in the country.

From November 24 to 30, members of the “Platform for Peace and Human Rights Mexico-European Union,” in collaboration with the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, Red TDT, Sera Paz, Espacio OSC, the Fray Matías de Córdova Human Rights Center, and the Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Center, joined forces with political representatives, public institutions, academics, journalists, and civil society activists from Europe for an International Human Rights Observation Mission in Mexico. This mission also involved a network of Mexican human rights defenders and journalists, focusing on the central and southeastern regions of the country.

Recognizing the global challenges related to human rights protection and the urgent need for international collaboration and solidarity, the Mission extended its activities to Mexico City and the states of Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, and Chiapas. The primary objective was to learn, document, share, and support efforts towards dignity, peace, and human rights for defenders, organizations, and communities.

Throughout the mission, we documented and denounced human rights violations against women defenders, indigenous communities, victims of forced disappearance and displacement, individuals in mobility, and journalists. Additionally, we addressed the consequences of the country’s militarization and violations linked to the implementation of mega-projects.

Key findings of the Mission include:

  • Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders: The Mission confirmed the persistent criminalization of human rights defenders. Notably, the case of indigenous defender Kenia Hernández, who has endured devastating impacts after three years in maximum-security prison, was highlighted. During the mission, access to visit her was denied, adding another violation to her rights and increasing her vulnerability. The situation of activists in Chiapas, including Manuel Sántiz Cruz, Juan Velasco Aguilar, Agustín Pérez Velasco, Martín Pérez Domínguez, and Agustín Pérez Domínguez, who are also unjustly detained, was observed.
  • Militarization of Territories and Autonomy Challenges: The negative impacts of mining companies and mega-projects were evident in Morelos and Chiapas. Cases such as the Creyente de Chicomuselo community and the Front of Peoples in Defense of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT) highlighted militarization processes linked to industrial imposition.
  • Negative Effects of Militarization on Migration Routes: The mission observed the negative effects of militarization on migration routes in Tapachula. Individuals in human mobility face constant vulnerability, and human rights defenders accompanying them encounter risks and aggressions from the Armed Forces. Access to the Siglo XXI Migration Station was denied, posing an obstacle to observation.
  • Valiant Efforts Despite Risks: The Mission learned about the courageous work of Pascuala López, a human rights defender at risk, seeking truth and justice after the murder of her son. Despite having precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), authorities have not provided adequate protection.

In light of these findings, the organizations involved in the International Human Rights Observation Mission in Mexico urgently call on governmental bodies to:

  • Coordinate State and Federal Actions: Ensure the Right to Defend Human Rights by strengthening the legal activities of key institutions such as public prosecutors, Protection Mechanisms, and Human Rights Commissions.
  • Ensure Due Process: Guarantee the due process and the Right to Defend Human Rights of detained human rights defenders, avoiding any form of cruel or inhuman treatment, promoting their just release and reparation.
  • Implement International Standards: Follow international human rights standards, strengthen the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, and design a comprehensive public policy to guarantee this fundamental right.
  • End Judicial Harassment: Cease judicial harassment against indigenous defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván, and request her immediate release and transfer to another penitentiary in Mexico City or the State of Mexico. Ensure her safety during the transfer to CEFERESO 16. Additionally, request a meeting between Attorney Rosa Icela Rodríguez, the defender’s legal team, the Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Center, and CAPUFE to seek a reparative agreement.
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