On March 8, 2021, during the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Yesica Sánchez, feminist lawyer and deputy director of Consorcio Oaxaca, raised concerns about the increase in murders and threats against human rights defenders , particularly women, in Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Indonesia and Kenya, through this statement:
Madam President, PBI and Consorcio Oaxaca welcome the presentation of the Rapporteur's report.
In the context of the pandemic, killings and other attacks on defenders have risen alarmingly in all the countries where we work: Indonesia, Kenya, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
The 310 murders documented in 2020 in Colombia, as well as the illegal intelligence actions carried out by the Army and other entities are of particular concern.
Among the most vulnerable people are those who defend land and environmental rights in the context of the implementation of megaprojects, such as the Indonesian lawyer Golfrid Siregar, who was found dead in 2019 after his fight against a hydroelectric project.
We regret the almost total impunity for the murders of human rights defenders, which particularly protects the intellectual authors, as evidenced by the still pending Berta Cáceres case 5 years after her murder. Instead of seeking solutions, the common response of these states to this situation of violence is the militarization of territories, which translates into an increase in socio-environmental conflict.
The murders often occur after smear and criminalization campaigns against defenders, as in the case of Arnold Morazán, who had been criminalized by his resistance in Guapinol, Honduras. The particular vulnerability and differentiated impacts of these attacks on women defenders are of concern.
We regret the elimination of the trust for the Protection Mechanism for defenders and journalists in Mexico, as well as the lack of progress in the implementation of an effective public policy of guarantees and protection of defenders agreed with civil society in Colombia and Guatemala.
It is urgent that the states of these countries implement comprehensive prevention and protection measures, with a differential and collective approach, and prosecute the perpetrators and intellectuals of the attacks and address the structural causes of these violence.