PBI-Mexico accompanied Espacio_OSC signs statement on the murder of two environmental defenders in Michoacán
On February 6, this statement was signed by numerous Mexican civil society groups, including the groups that comprise the OSC Space for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which is accompanied by the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project.
They express their deep regret the murders of environmental defenders Homero Gómez González and Raúl Hernández Romero. The statement notes, “Both defenders had denounced on different occasions the illegal logging of forests, habitat of the Monarch butterflies in Michoacán.”
The statement continues:
“The context and complexity of violence against environmental defenders in Mexico has placed the country as one of the most dangerous for the exercise of human rights defense.”
“Environmental defenders not only face the consequences of imposing harmful projects for communities, but also of the presence of organized crime groups that exploit the natural resources of their community. In both cases impunity persists.”
“This situation of violence and persecution against these defenders could be aggravated by the recent proposals made by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), in particular that of creating a specialized environmental protection body with the participation of the National Guard.”
“This proposed measure does not delve into the structural problems generated by policies in relation to megaprojects and which result in serious human rights violations.”
“On the contrary, it is a reactive and limited measure. In addition, it is not focused on generating better conditions for the defense of human rights, but rather consolidates the militarization of the territories, thus favoring a development model that prioritizes the over-exploitation of natural and cultural heritage, putting these elements above rights. human beings, such as the right to land and territory, water and a healthy environment, among others.”
The signatories demand that:
1- the Attorney General of the State of Michoacán investigate the murder of the two environmental human rights defenders;
2- the Government of Michoacán recognize the work of human rights defenders and generate the necessary conditions for environmental defenders to carry out their work in a safe and conducive environment;
3- the Undersecretariat of Human Rights consolidate an inter-institutional working group to generate actions for the collective rights of indigenous peoples and comparable communities, that guarantee the exercise of the right to defend human rights in an enabling environment;
4- the Senate of the Republic to ratify the Escazú Agreement.
For more on the Espacio_OSC, please see this PBI-Mexico webpage.