Wind power projects in Mexico generate violence against human rights defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 17, Cemda (the Mexican Centre for Environmental Rights) reported, “In the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2018, 460 cases of attacks on environmental defenders were identified. 2015 and 2016 were the years with the highest number of attacks: 107 and 85, respectively. The sector that had the highest number of attacks was the energy sector, with 29% of the total (133 events). Most of the cases were located in the hydroelectric subsector with 66 attacks, while in wind energy there were 53.”

Now, The Guardian highlights, “At least 83 Mexican land and environment defenders were murdered between 2012 and 2019, while hundreds more were threatened, beaten and criminalized, according to a new report [by Cemda/Cemed].”

“In 2019, state officials such as police officers, national guard and local prosecutors, were responsible for 40% of incidents registered by Cemed.”

“The situation for defenders [has been] exacerbated by energy reforms in 2013, since when scores of renewable energy mega-projects have been imposed on rural and indigenous communities without adequate consultation or compensation.”

“Almost one in three attacks since 2012 targeted defenders opposing energy projects, especially wind and hydroelectric power, according to Cemed.”

The article also notes, “The violence has been particularly marked in the biodiverse isthmus of Tehuantepec – a narrow land mass between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean where 28 mega wind farms now generate electricity.”

The Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project briefing paper Wind Farms and Concerns about Human Rights Violations in Oaxaca has highlighted that: “Throughout 2013, PBI observed with concern an increase in the level of violence in the context of wind farms, particularly against [human rights defenders] and community leaders whose work involves the defence of those affected by these developments.”

In September 2019, PBI-Mexico accompanied Codigo DH at a public information session on the SET – IXTEPEC POTENCIA transmission line that would carry power generated by wind turbines on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

The following month, PBI-Mexico accompanied a tour of the Isthmus and highlighted that it was “with defenders of the land and territory of Union Hidalgo, who showed us the impacts of wind farms in the municipality.”

This past January, PBI-Mexico also accompanied Codigo DH at a celebration of the anniversary of the cancellation of the Mareña Renovables wind power project in the community of San Dionisio del Mar, Oaxaca, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region.

And just last month, PBI-Mexico accompanied ProDESC in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca to observe a consultation and media conference about Gunaa Sicarú, a proposed 96 wind turbine mega-project headed by the French transnational EDF.

To read the full article in The Guardian, please click on Mexico’s deadly toll of environment and land defenders catalogued in report. The complete 31-page report by CEMDA titled ‘Report on the situation of environmental human rights defenders’ can be read here.

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