Interview with Verónica Vidal, Coordinator of the Association for Women´s Rights and Development (AWID)
Within the framework of the 12 years since the tragedy of the Pasta de Conchos mine in the coal region of Coahuila in Mexico, on 18th February 2018 representatives of the Family Organisation Pasta de Conchos presented the report "Red coal in Coahuila: here ends the silence", in Mexico City. This publication, supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, tells "the story of the human and environmental cost that the extraction of coal has brought and left" in this northern region of the country; it also documents the struggle that the family members of the 65 miners who lost their lives 12 years ago in the mine have undertaken.
12 months have passed since the last time the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) Committee reviewed Mexico, therefore the most recent review that took place in March of this year was extremely welcome.
Several national and international human rights organisms and entities have identified that those human rights defenders who work on issues of land, territory and natural resources have been historically placed at the center of social and armed conflicts. This new publication includes the participation of human rights defenders from Coahuila, Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Mexico State, as well as organizations that work at the national level.
PBI and other international organizations sent a shadow report about the situation of economic, social and cultural rights defenders for the review of the Mexican State by the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. This report highlights the extreme vulnerability faced by people who defend land and territory, as well as the types of aggressions that they face, which include threats, intimidation and criminalization.
On 11 August in Chihuahua City, a discussion took place about the “exercise of the right to Tribunal Consultation.” The event was organized by the Sierra Madre Alliance A.C. (ASMAC), with the participation of the Community Technical Consultation (CONTEC) and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA).
On 27 July the Focal Group on Businesses and Human Rights made a statement and held a press conference to announce that they were stepping away from the process of creating the National Program for Businesses and Human Rights (PNEDH) because the proposal from the Mexican government did not meet the international standards established by the United Nations Guiding Principles.
In the context of the Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining and the State Day of Rebellion Against Mining, civil society organizations commemorated their fight for their land and territory. Inhabitants of the communities of the Ejutla Valley and Ocotlán, Oaxaca, demanded that state and federal governments put a stop to the exploration and expansion on their land by the Canadian company Fortuna Silver Mines – this will be due to a lack of consultation with them and the risk faced by land and territory in the state of Oaxaca.
The UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business enterprises presented the report on their 2016 Mission to Mexico to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).
On May 30, 31 and June 1, in Mexico City, the Latin American Meeting “Strategies of Protection for the defence of territory" was held. With the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, this event was organised by a group of international, regional and local organisations that support processes for the protection of human rights defenders, especially those who work in the defence of land and territory.