On 21 August 2019, at the Universidad Autonoma de México, Comité Cerezo, the National Campaign Against Forced Disappearances (Campaña Nacional Contra la Desaparición Forzada) and Urgent Action for Human Rights Defenders (Acción Urgente para Defensores de Derechos Humanos) presented their 8th report, “Defending human rights in Mexico, The end of impunity?”.
The Report documents human rights violations committed by the Mexican state against human rights defenders between the period 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019. A range of violations are examined, including extra judicial executions, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, threats, harrassment and physical assualts.
According to the statistics in the Report, the rate of arbitrary arrests in 2018 decreased by more than 50% compared with the rate in 2017. Even though the number of arbitrary arrests has fallen under the current government, the rate of extra judicial executions remains alarming, with defenders of land and territory and indegenous groups remaing the worst affected. It should be noted that during the year-long period covered in the Report, 38 human rights defenders were executed extrajudicially.
Both national and international human rights organisations attended the event, including the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray de Vitoria, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humos Todos los Derechos Para Todos (Red TDT), la Red de Periodistas de A Pie and Rosa Luxemburgo. Speakers from these organisations highlighted the Report’s impact on the search for the truth, justice; compensation for victims; guarantees of non-repitition; as well as creating a historical record of violations and the defense of human rights.
During the event, Jan Jarab, representative of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in México, praised the importance of the Report’s analysis and its documentation of human rights abuses. Jarab highlighted how the Report incites conversation surrounding the defense of human rights and human rights abuses in Mexico and encourages legal changes that ensure human rights defenders are able to continue their work safely.