PBI-Mexico releases report on its 20 years of accompanying human rights defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

The Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project has released its 2019 annual report that highlights its 20 years of accompanying human rights defenders.

In the report, Carla Cavarretta, PBI Mexico General Coordinator, writes:

“It has been a long trajectory, full of both successes and dark moments shared with Mexican human rights defenders (HRDs). Together we continue to hold the reassuring hope of a future where the rights of all will be respected.

Over the course of these 20 years, PBI Mexico has worked to open spaces so human rights defenders can continue their campaigns. We have been by the side of many HRDs and advocates, women and men, who have contributed to the development and strengthening of international accompaniment as a tool for the protection of human rights.

In this period, we have also witnessed an increase in risks, especially for people who defend land, territory and the environment.

We shared the sadness of human rights organisations who lost, in the worst possible way, companions in the struggle – like Isidro Baldenegro López, Juan Ontiveros Ramos and Julián Carrillo in Chihuahua’s Sierra Tarahumara. These were only a few of the tragic losses in one of the country’s most dangerous regions to defend human rights.

We have not forgotten the students of Ayotzinapa, and the more than 60,000 forcibly disappeared people across Mexico since the start of the so-called war on drugs.

Two decades since PBI arrival in Mexico, we are pleased that Mexico can rely on a stronger and more-consolidated civil society, yet as an organisation we have not stopped expressing our concern about the high levels of impunity and the public-security strategy based on militarising the country.

The context continues to be very adverse, and the threats and acts of aggression against HRDs and journalists have not ceased. In particular, in these chaotic times of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts, the struggles led by human rights defenders remain more relevant than ever.

The need to protect the women and men who defend human rights represents a challenge for Mexico, here in the present and on into the future.”

To read more from Carla’s editorial, as well as context articles (including one by the Comité Cerezo México), interviews with “Tlachinollan” Human Rights Centre of the Montaña director Abel Barrera Hernández and Organisation of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) founder Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, and more, please click here.

PBI-Mexico also gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Basilian Human Development Fund (Fondo de Desarrollo Humano Basiliano) in Canada.

Top photo: Carla Cavarretta giving a security workshop to members of the Radio Ñomnda (a communitarian radio station), Guerrero, 2011. Below: PBI-Mexico’s 20th anniversary logo.

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