On July 10th, the IX High Level Dialogue on Human Rights took place between the European Union and Mexico, in which PBI participated as an international NGO from the European side. This edition of the Dialogue was marked by organizational difficulties; the annual meeting did not take place in 2019 as originally planned, while the impact of the global pandemic caused other issues. Civil society attempted to take advantage of this space to demand concrete actions regarding the deterioration of human rights in Mexico during recent years. Despite the difficulties inherent to the time difference, and the fact that the existing spaces for civil society were more limited than in previous editions of the Dialogue, civil society expressed its concerns regarding realities as diverse as the increase in attacks against human rights defenders and the lack of transparency in the approval of the Global Agreement, making concrete recommendations and demands so the Mexican and European authorities would comply with their international human rights obligations.
Both the intervention of Martha Delgado, Subsecretary of Multilateral Issues and Human Rights in the Ministry of Foreign Relations, and Eamon Gilmore, High Representative of the EU for human rights, stressed the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having and the need to reinforce some tools so that no one is left unprotected. In addition, Eamon Gilmore congratulated the Mexican Government for some initiatives such as the reinstatement of the National Search System, but highlighted that homicides and feminicides continue to increase, as well as violence against defenders, and that the further militarization of public security is not an appropriate response to the enormous challenges in this regard that the country faces.
The High Representative stated that the following issues are being prioritized by the EU: actions against racism, intolerance and xenophobia exacerbated by the covid-19 crisis; improving freedom of expression by pushing legislation to protect whistleblowers; prevention of disinformation campaigns; adaptations that protect human rights (particularly regarding hate speech) against the increased use and impacts of new technologies, among other actions.
At the end of the dialogue, a coalition of civil society organizations published a press release in which they denounce the gravity of the human rights crisis in Mexico. They call for a strengthened political, technical and cooperative relationship between Mexico and the EU, as well as stronger mechanisms for consultation and civil society participation, as well as for transparency and accountability. The full press release can be read here: https://www.omct.org/es/monitoring-protection-mechanisms/statements/european-union/2020/07/d26007/