Within the framework of our 20 years as a project in Mexico, we are pleased to share our Annual Project Report. The report recalls outstanding moments that have marked the history of PBI in the country, as well as the important events that 2019 has left us, accompanying the work of human rights defenders in Mexico.
Over the course of these 20 years, PBI Mexico has worked to open spaces so human rights defenders can continue their campaigns. We have been by the side of many HRDs and advocates, women and men, who have contributed to the development and strengthening of international accompaniment as a tool for the protection of human rights.
The advances in human rights in Mexico have been considerable in this time: It is enough to consider the importance of a psychosocial approach, the awareness of intersectionality, the struggles of Mexican women, a legal framework on human rights issues that is the most advanced on the continent. However, there is still a long way to go.
In this period, we have also witnessed an increase in risks, especially for people who defend land, territory and the environment. We shared the sadness of human rights organisations who lost, in the worst possible way, companions in the struggle – like Isidro Baldenegro López, Juan Ontiveros Ramos and Julián Carrillo in Chihuahua’s Sierra Tarahumara. These were only a few of the tragic losses in one of the country’s most dangerous regions to defend human rights. We have not forgotten the students of Ayotzinapa, and the more than 60,000 forcibly disappeared people across Mexico since the start of the so-called war on drugs.
Two decades since PBI arrival in Mexico, we are pleased that Mexico can rely on a stronger and more-consolidated civil society, yet as an organisation we have not stopped expressing our concern about the high levels of impunity and the public-security strategy based on militarising the country. The context continues to be very adverse, and the threats and acts of aggression against HRDs and journalists have not ceased. In particular, in these chaotic times of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts, the struggles led by human rights defenders remain more relevant than ever. The need to protect the women and men who defend human rights represents a challenge for Mexico, here in the present and on into the future.
We would like to recognize through this publication the organizations and human rights defenders that we had the honor of accompanying, as well as expressing our deep gratitude to the people who have been part of PBI Mexico throughout these 20 years, for their tireless work and dedication.