“Pasta de Conchos is very important because it will set a precedent for how mining should operate, how workers should be treated, and [show] that companies should think twice before opening mines”, Cristina Auerbach.
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).
Since the opening of PBI’s office in Chihuahua in 2013, we have established connections with various civil society organisations, including the Sierra Madre Alliance (Alianza Sierra Madre, A.C., ASMAC) which we have formally accompanied since 2018.
Obtilia Eugenio Manuel defends the rights of the Tlapanec people in the state of Guerrero and founded the Organisation of the Me'phaa Indigenous People (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa, OPIM). In November 2019 she received Mexico’s National Human Rights Prize in recognition of her “significant trajectory in effectively promoting and defending” basic human rights. PBI accompanied Manuel between 2005 and 2011.
How and when did you start defending human rights?
For more than a decade, totonaca indigenous communities in the Sierra Norte de Puebla have fought for the survival of their traditions and the defense of their territory. In January of this year, they won an important legal battle against the building of a hydroelectric dam with the local municipality revoking the permits for Puebla 1 to be built, due to illegal activities in the administrative processes.
Although the right to migrate is consecrated in article 13 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, it continues to be violated by different actors.
In Mexico, human rights defenders defend migrants by giving them humanitarian, legal and psychological attention which is often the only support migrants receive as they pass through the country that shares a border with the USA; the most transited border in the world.
The accompaniment provided by PBI in 2018 benefited to more than 50 civil society organisations and 341 defenders, of whom 65% were women. The work carried out by these people benefits at least 146,351 people and promotes human rights across the whole country.
2018 has been a year of struggle, of resistance, and of extraordinary bravery from those who, on a daily basis, put their lives at risk to defend human rights.
Atoyac de Álvarez is a municipality in the State of Guerrero between the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Costa Grande, and as with many regions in Latin America, its veins remain open. It´s history, throughout the so-called "Dirty War" in the 70s, is paradigmatic of the history of State violence in Mexico: human rights violations through the militarisation of the area, forced disappearances and killings. If democracy fears remembering, and we become ill with amnesia, family members of disappeared people have incessantly sought their mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sist
After two decades of struggle, the Rarámuri community of Choréachi in the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range achieved an important sentence in late 2018. The sentence dictates that the boundaries delineating their ancestral territory must be respected and that the logging permits that were illegally granted to a non-indigenous agrarian community, are invalid.
During the Universal Periodic Review of Mexico in November 2018, 38 countries made recommendations relating to human rights defenders. From these, 19 requested the strengthening of the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights De