Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies votes to eliminate “trust funds” including the one that finances the protection of journalists

Published by Brent Patterson on

The Chamber of Deputies, the 500-seat lower house of Mexico’s congress, has just voted to eliminate as many as 109 government trust funds.

The Associated Press reports: “Together, the funds manage almost $3.2 billion in government funds for research, health, sports and education projects, including one that finances protection for threatened journalists.”

“[Mexican President] López Obrador and his party say that funding for those projects is assured, but that the trust funds were wasteful and uncontrolled.”

The article also notes: “Opposition parties and civic groups say the funds’ independence is precisely their value. They charge that with the changes voted through Tuesday, all the projects would have to rely on annual budget votes, an arrangement that would make them more dependent on the president or political whims.”

Earlier in the day, The Guardian reported: “Opponents of the move warn that it will undermine funding for disaster relief and protection mechanisms for journalists (of whom 16 have been assassinated since the start of 2019). Public trusts to fund climate change projects are also on the chopping block.”

That article quotes Fundar which says: “There is no clarity in the process of eliminating [the trusts] – nor in where the money from their liquidation will be sent.”

And it further quotes Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative for The Committee to Protect Journalists, who says: “It opens the funds to political horse-trading. The fact that the money is [currently] held in trust means that it cannot be taken away on the whim of some politicians or someone in charge of a federal agency.”

Prior to the vote, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project retweeted this post by I(DH)EAS that says: “Relatives of missing persons demonstrate to ask [the Chamber of Deputies] vote against the extinction of more than 100 trusts, which would put victims, defenders and journalists at risk.”

Last week, on September 30, PBI-Mexico had also tweeted: “PBI joins the call of @EspacioOsc [Civil Society Organizations Space] so that the [Chamber of Deputies] ensures the protection of more than 1,300 rights defenders and journalists. It is essential not to put the life, integrity and safety of defenders at risk.”

Espacio_OSC is a coordination platform of 18 civil society organizations from throughout Mexico. The Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project provides accompaniment and technical support to the platform.

Peace Brigades International has previously commented that Mexico’s federal Mechanism to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists should be provided with additional funding to ensure it has the resources to manage it growing caseload.

Categories: News Updates


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