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.
According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), during 2017 the number of refugees rose by 578%, and the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance recognised that there is a total of 14,594 people requesting refuge in Mexico. In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is collaborating with various refuges in the South of the country and with the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo in Coahila, to help extend spaces and attend the growing number of refugees.
In his most recent report, published on 23rd March 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, explicitly mentions those defending human rights in Chilapa de Alvarez, Guerreo and their particularly high levels of risk due to the hostile context in which they undertake their legitimate work: “Human rights defenders from Chilapa, where collective disappearances appear to have occurred with the acquiescence of the authorities, are particularly vulnerable to attacks in the context of organized crime and corruption”.
On 29 August, the Cerezo Committee Mexico, Urgent Action for the Defense of Human Rights, (ACUDDEH, AC), and the National Campaign against Forced Disappearance presented their 6th Report. The report documents 1442 violations committed against human rights defenders between June 2016 and May 2017, which means that according to these organizations, there were 50% more aggressions in this period than in the previous period (2015-2016 Report ).
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.
On July 26th the Space for Civil Society Organizations for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (Espacio_OSC), which is accompanied by PBI, published their third report. The event was attended by members of Mexican Civil society, international organizations, members of the Diplomatic Corp, the media, the academic community and government authorities.
In a press conference, the Network for Documentation of Migrant Defense Organizations (REDODEM) presented the Report, “Migrants in Mexico: traveling on a path of violence.” In this report, the more than 20 organizations that make up the Network – including the Juan Gerardi Human Rights Center and the Brothers on the Path Migrant Shelter -- both accompanied by PBI – highlighted the problem of “human mobility due to violence” and demanded respect for the rights of the migrant population in transit and to put an end to the criminalization of people who defend and promote these rights.
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.
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.
During the month of April, during the first period of ordinary sessions of Congress, legislative advances were made with regard to the General Law to Prevent, Investigate and Sanction Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading treatment and the General Law on Forced Disappearance and Disappearance Committed by Individuals.