In the state of the health emergency caused by Covid-19, human rights defenders, journalists and CSOs urge the Mexican Government and its institutions to generate measures in order to guarantee the right to defend human rights, in accordance with national and international recommendations.
Through a public letter (spanish only), the group of organizations expressed concerns and made recommendations regarding the worsening of the risk situation experienced by defenders and journalists in the current context of the COVID-19 crisis, exacerbated by the insufficient response on the part of authorities with an obligation to guarantee the right to defend human rights in safe conditions.
So far this year, the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists has registered 141 attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, of which 60 correspond to human rights defenders. In their statement, the organizations mention that since March 15th, the date on which the health emergency was decreed, at least 44 attacks against human rights defenders and journalists have been identified, as well as the assasination of 4 human rights defenders, according to these official figures (spanish only).
The signatory organizations urgently request competent authorities to adopt a broad array of actions and measures, aimed at protecting the life, integrity and work of human rights defenders and journalists, contemplating the stages of prevention, protection and investigation, within the framework of the sanitary emergency, as well as the social, economic and ecological emergency, in accordance with the recommendations of international and civil society organizations, considering differentiated needs from a gender, intersectional and human rights perspective.
Following that public letter, the Espacio OSC issued another statement (Spanish Only) expressing its concern over the initiative to eliminate the 10232 Trust: On May 20, members of the Parliamentary Group of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) presented an initiative that seeks to extinguish, among others, the 10232 Trust, whose purpose is to guarantee, through protective measures, the life, integrity and security of more than 1086 beneficiaries of the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists. According to the group of organizations, the annulment of the Trust would have a negative impact on the protection of human rights defenders, journalists and victims, and will place them in a greater degree of vulnerability. They highlighted the fact that even though it is true that the current health and social crisis represents an important moment that merits a decision-making process from the Public Administration to face the challenges of the pandemic, it is important to recognize that the pressure of the economic crisis and the resumption of activities cannot be detrimental to human rights, nor to the life and necessary work of those who defend human rights, exercise freedom of expression, and those who monitor and control the work of public authorities.
Espacio OSC is a coordination platform of 14 civil society organizations from across Mexico. These organizations advocated jointly for the creation of the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and they now monitor its implementation. Accompanied by PBI Mexico since its creation, Espacio OSC continuously highlights the absence of and need to create a comprehensive public protection policy that includes the prevention, protection and combatting of impunity for attacks against those who defend human rights.