Mexico City on September 5, 2022.- Within the framework of the official visit to Mexico of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, on August 29 in Mexico City, meetings were held with human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations, and with women defenders and journalists, to expose the forced internal displacement to which they have been victims for exercising their right to defend human rights and freedom of expression, as well as the omissions and inaction of the authorities of the three levels of government to prevent this phenomenon and guarantee their rights.
One of the highlighted issues was the non-cessation and increase in violence against people, defender communities and journalists at the state and municipal levels, and the deterioration of the conditions for the exercise of their work, with the 10 entities of the Republic that concentrate the highest percentage of homicides and attacks against both sectors, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Guerrero, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Veracruz and the State of Mexico.
In the case of human rights defenders and journalists, they denounced that in an increasingly common way and due to their work, they are forced to leave their place of origin or residence as a result of the climate of hostility, threats and aggressions of which they have been the object. According to the files of Reporters Without Borders, in Mexico the first records of displaced journalists were in 2010 with at least 10 cases. The figure was 8 in 2017 and it is estimated that between 2010 and 2017, at least 13 journalists had to leave the country to protect their lives. Similarly, according to the organization ARTICLE 19, during the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at least 32 other journalists have been victims of displacement.
They indicated that, despite the fact that in 2012 the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists was issued, through which the Protection Mechanism was created (a body of the Federal Government that has the mission of guaranteeing the right to protection human rights defenders and journalists), after 10 years of operation, it has been insufficient to protect life and integrity. In the case of people who are in a situation of displacement, although it responds to an urgent measure to protect physical integrity, the Mechanism fails to guarantee action without harm and the safety of the people affected during the extraction process, nor does it take into account the security of destinations, nor the needs, concerns, priorities, interests and capacities of individuals and their families.
In addition, they mentioned the lack of sensitivity and technical skills of the personnel who carry out the risk analysis, key information for deciding to grant the protection measure, and the absence of risk analysis in the expelling locality or municipality. They also denounced the lack of analysis of the events and security incidents that occur within the chain of violence, the lack of a differentiated perspective and of women’s human rights, the lack of progress in criminal investigations and the lack of access to their rights by the victim assistance commissions.
Some of the impacts of displacement occur in terms of the exercise of rights related to: housing, education, recovery of documents, comprehensive health, employment, means of subsistence, security and return to their places of origin. The psychosocial repercussions are also present in their groups, union and community, with particular impacts when they are indigenous people or communities and, in the case of women defenders and journalists, the impacts are deepened by the reproduction of institutional violence that is generated through from gender. The space with women defenders and journalists was a space of trust to hear out loud the impacts that displacement has on them, as well as to show that the personnel in charge of care and protection do not recognize them as victims subject to rights, being questioned for their work based on the traditional roles that according to them they should play.
Given this, the human rights defenders and communities, journalists and civil society organizations, we highlight the message communicated to the Rapporteur, requesting her monitoring of the particular situation of displacement in Mexico and providing technical advice to institutions responsible for guaranteeing the rights of people displaced. Likewise, we make an urgent call to the instances of the Mexican State to promote the construction, design and implementation of a collaborative work route with civil society organizations to strengthen the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which includes a comprehensive strategy in cases of forced displacement through an inter-institutional coordination table, and the construction of a public policy of comprehensive protection.
The preliminary report of the official visit to Mexico of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, will be published on September 9, 2022.
Signatory organizations and networks
The CSO Space for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, made up of: ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America; Saltillo Migrant House; Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA); Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center; Zeferino Ladrillero Human Rights Center (CDHZL); National Center for Social Communication (Cencos); Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH); Communication and Information of Women AC (CIMAC); Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, Oaxaca AC; Institute of Environmental Law AC (IDEA); National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (RedTDT); SMR Scalabrinianas, Mission with Migrants and Refugees; Services and Advice for Peace (Serapaz). The CSO Space is accompanied by Peace Brigades International (PBI).
ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America
Mexican Center for Environmental Law AC (CEMDA)
Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH)
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
Communication and Information of Women AC (CIMAC)
National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” Red TDT
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)