The Global Agreement between the European Union and Mexico includes within the political pillar, a high level human rights dialogue. This mechanisms allows both parts to tackle human rights issues that they are affected by and to guide the priorities in the cooperation and technical assistance agreements. The dialogue between Mexico and the EU is annual and takes place after a prior seminar where Mexcian and European human rights organisations present the human rights situation and make recommendations. This year the central topic was human rights defenders, which cooincides with the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Defenders.
In the prior seminar that took place on 25th October, Mexican human rights organisations noted within the structural causes of the violence, corruption, impunity and the security model based on militarisation. With respect to the attacks against human rights defenders, the tendency to separate the crimes from the work that defenders undertake and the rise in crimianlisation was highlighted. The main flaws and weaknesses in the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists was shown, including the lack of transparency in the use of public resources or the deficiencies in the risk analysis. Unfortunately the seminar coincided with the killing of Julián Carrillo, community defender and President of the Commons Goods of Coloradas de la Virgen (Sierra Tarahumara, Chihuahua). Mr Carrillo was a beneficiary of the Federal Mechanism and this assassination shows the limitations that the Mechanim currently faces in offering true protection in remote areas and with a collective and indigenous foucs.
The criminalisation of human rights defenders is more and more common in the Americas with the aim of blocking and undermining the work of defenders. Between June 2017 and May 2018, ACUDDEH documented 25 cases of criminalisation, from which 21 cases include judicial crimianlisation. With the idea of countering narratives and strengthening the preventative focus of the actions of diplomatic missions, various organisations requested that the European Union share comuniques in cases of criminalisation, as well as giving financial and political support to de Federal Mechanisms, particularly the Contingency Plan that came out of the Preventative Alert in Chihuahua. It is worth mentioning that on 7th November, Mexico had it´s Universal Periodic Review and 35 diplomatic missions in Geneva made recommendations on the need to strengthen the Mechanisms, giving it the financial resources and personnel required. The pattern of impunity and serious human rights violations were noted with concern in various recommendations.
As the high level human rights dialogue drew to a close, the European Union and Mexico condemned, in a public declaration, all of the acts of aggression against human rights defenders and journalists and coincided in the importance of guaranteeing that the protection mechanims have enough money and are efficient and trustworthy.