PBI-Mexico accompanied defenders at virtual side event with UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by @RedDefensorasMx.

On March 11, PBI-Mexico accompanied organizations took part in a side event within the framework of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

This discussion with UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor was titled: Towards the eradication of murders and threats against human rights defenders in Mexico.

This IM-Defensoras summary of the meeting notes: “On issues of impunity and institutional strengthening, Mar Saiz Avendaño of Peace Brigades International-Mexico addressed the need to strengthen the National Protection Mechanism for Defenders and Journalists, in particular with regard to the prevention and guarantees of sufficient resources.”

It adds: “She also stressed the importance of complying with the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur on the establishment of commissions to investigate killings of defenders, emphasizing the importance of those commissions being made up of independent experts and experts backed by civil society.”

The summary also noted:

“Sandra Ferrer Alarcón of the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center highlighted the particular vulnerability in which community defenders are located in Guerrero state where threats against defenders put murders and also enforced disappearances as in the case of Arnulfo Cerón Soriano.”

“Yésica Sánchez Maya of the Oaxaca A.C. Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Consortium [Consorcio Oaxaca] highlighted the importance of the report of the Special Rapporteur and her emphasis on recognizing the specific risk and need to ensure investigations into murder cases against indigenous peoples and land and territory defenders, noting that 21 killings against defenders were recorded in Oaxaca between 2017 and 2019, more than half against this specific population.”

“Verónica Vidal Degiorgis of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project [ProDesc] illustrated through the case of the community of Unión Hidalgo on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca the lack of prior, free and informed consultation for the implementation of [wind power] megaprojects as well as the absence of policies on defenders on the part of international companies.”

For the summary of the meeting with comments from other defenders, click here. To watch the video, please click here.

“The killings of defenders is a red line that no government should cross. We are concerned that Mexico is not fulfilling its duty of protection in time to prevent murders. Prevention and analysis must be strengthened.” – Mar Saiz, PBI-Mexico European representative.

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