Washington, D.C.—Today, on the first anniversary of the passing of the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists—which instituted the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists—the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) sent a letter to the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, expressing concern regarding delays in the Mechanism’s implementation.
“One year after the passing of the Law and seven months after the establishment of the Mechanism, we note with considerable concern that there have continued to be various obstacles that keep the Mechanism from carrying out its duties,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA Senior Associate for Mexico and Central America, in the letter.
In the past few years, human rights defenders and journalists have suffered an increase in the number of attacks against them, which both puts their lives in danger and hinders their work. According to the National Center for Social Communication (Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social, Cencos), in the first 100 days of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration, 37 attacks against human rights defenders and 56 attacks against journalists were recorded, one of which was a murder.
The letter highlights a few specific concerns about the implementation of the Mechanism, such as noncompliance or partial compliance with its protective measures; the lack of personnel necessary to ensure that the Mechanism is effective; the obstacles that limit access to the Mechanism’s funds; and the difficulties of coordination between the distinct actors involved. To address these problems, WOLA asked the Secretary to ensure that the Mechanism has the highest level of support from Mexican authorities, and to hold a meeting with Mexican civil society to understand their opinions about the implementation of the Mechanism and to determine together the best way to overcome the obstacles that currently impede its full implementation.
“This law originated in Mexican civil society, and it is the human rights defenders and journalists who have the most interest in a Mechanism that works,” said Meyer. “Fully implementing the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists would show that President Enrique Pena Nieto and his government support the work of human rights defenders and journalists.”
Please click here to read WOLA’s letter (only available in Spanish).
Please click here to read a letter to the Secretary from various Mexican civil society organizations.
Please click here to read an article by Peace Brigades International about the Law’s first anniversary.
Senior Associate for Mexico and Central America
+1 (202) 797-2171