In light of the recent wave of armed attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico, WOLA released a statement demanding that Mexican authorities take immediate action to stem the violence, investigate the attacks, and sanction those responsible.
“The recent attacks against human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico reveal an alarming deterioration of security conditions in the country,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA Senior Associate for Mexico. “Any act of violence against journalists and human rights defenders is unacceptable, but it is especially worrying when the crimes are not properly investigated,” said Meyer.
During the first few weeks of March 2017, there have been at least five armed attacks against journalists and defenders in Mexico, including the murder of three journalists: Cecilio Pineda Birto, Ricardo Monlui Cabrera, and Miroslava Breach Velducea.
Similarly, on March 22, the human rights defender Alma Barraza and her bodyguard were the victims of an armed attack in the state of Sinaloa which resulted in her bodyguard’s death. Barraza receives protection measures under Mexico’s national Mechanism to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.
These regrettable incidents come only weeks after two indigenous environmental activists were killed in the Sierra Madre Mountains of the state of Chihuahua: Juan Ontiveros Ramos was killed on February 1 and Isidro Baldenegro was killed on January 15.
Given the severity of the attacks, Mexican authorities should send a strong public message stating their commitment to justice and acknowledging the important work that journalists and human rights defenders carry out in Mexico. “Unfortunately impunity is still the norm for attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico. However, the widespread violence demonstrated by these recent events heightens the urgency to strengthen protection mechanisms and make concrete advances in investigations,” said Meyer