Advanced a decade ago by Mexican civil society and international bodies, the introduction of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas) was a significant step forward for human rights in Mexico. However, the Mechanism continues to demonstrate notable deficiencies and concerning failures in the high-risk context faced by Mexican human rights defenders (HRDs).
The past few months have witnessed significant change in Mexico given the election of a new President and the promises and commitments his new government have already laid out.
On 19th June 2016, during a protest by the teacher-training college and member of the communities of Asunción, Nochixtlán, San Pablo Huitzo, San Franzisco Telixtlahuaca, Hacienda Blanca and Viguera that requested a dialgoue with the Federal Government in order to revise the educational reforms, many participants were seriously assaulted by different security forces in an attempt to halt the protest.
According to an investigation by Citizen Lab, human rights defenders, high profile journalists and anti-corruption activists in Mexico may have been affected by “Pegasus”, a software which infiltrates mobile devices in order to monitor the movements of someone through their cell phone.
19 June marked the one year anniversary of the “Oaxaca Operation,” carried out by the State and Federal Police in Nochixtlan and four other municipalities. According to different organizations, a series of violent events occurred that led to eight deaths and hundreds of injuries, in addition to psychological damage to dozens of civilians, including children.
On 9 June, the Governor of the State of Chihuahua, Javier Corral, and the Under Secretary of Human Rights from the Secretary of the Interior, Roberto Campa Cifrian, signed the Contingency Plan which was created from the early warning system for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in Chihuahua.
In a recent opinion column, Jan Jarab, representative of the OHCHR in Mexico, analysed the security situation of journalists and HRDs in Mexico and characterized the first four months of 2017 as “chilling”, due to the murder of at least five journalists, two HRDs, and two guards assigned to protect beneficiaries of the National Protection Mechanism.