For PBI, as for many other civil society organisations, 2017 posed significant challenges. The six years of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration have been characterised by a continuation of the widely-questioned security policies initiated during the presidency of his predecessor Felipe Calderón, and by a marked reduction in the political space available to Mexican and international civil society organisations. 2017 was the most violent year in Mexico’s recent history and PBI has noted with concern the resulting worsening of the situation faced by Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), in particular those dedicated to the defence of land and territories, who continue to face harassment, threats, attacks and murder as a response to their legitimate activities in defence of the human rights of all Mexicans.
The following report describe the work carried out by PBI and by local organisations to respond to this situation and ensure that HRDs are able to enjoy conditions of sufficient safety, and the necessary political space, to be able to carry out their activities. During the year, PBI offered protection by providing international accompaniment; pressured national and international actors to fulfil their obligations to protect HRDs; publicised the situation of HRDs in our publications and social networks; provided security and protection training to dozens of HRDs; and facilitated opportunities for dialogue to permit HRDs to tell their stories and express their needs to key players in the Mexican government and the international community. Through these activities we have sought to make some contribution to enabling HRDs to pursue and expand their activities, which in the current Mexican and global context is now more important than ever.
The people involved with PBI Mexico during 2017 came from 17 countries in Europe and the Americas. 75% are volunteers, working in the field or as members of the Strategic or Training Committees. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to all of these for the extraordinary contribution they make every day to provide protection to human rights Defenders in the country: thanks to each and every one of them for the commitment they have shown to PBI Mexico; without their efforts the project would not be able to carry out its work