DPLF Report on Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico

Since 2008, DPLF has worked with organizations in the Mexican state of Guerrero to build their capacities and bring attention to the situation of human rights defenders. In October 2008, DPLF and its counterparts participated in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) (see report: http://www.dplf.org/upload/1225989683.pdf) and in April 2009, we organized, in Guerrero’s state capital, Chilpancingo, an international conference on human rights defenders which brought together civil society groups from Guerrero, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Mexico City. International experts from IACHR, Colombia, Peru and Germany also participated in the conference.

Bringing together the information shared and gathered in these two important events, DPLF published a report titled Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest in Mexico (Criminalización de los defensores de derechos humanos y de la protesta social en México) which was presented in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. This presentation was coordinated with the Human Rights Center of the Mountain Tlachinollan and the Guerrero Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations.

Considering that the report addresses many of civil society’s concerns towards the judicial system and other State institutions, we considered it crucial to invite local authorities to participate in the presentation. As panelists, representatives from the Unidad para la promoción y defensa de los derechos humanos of the Secretaria de Gobernación (SEGOB), the Mexican Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Comisión de Defensa de los derechos humanos de Guerrero (CODDHUM- the Ombudsman’s Office) and from the Tribunal Superior de Justicia (the supreme judicial authority in the state) each participated with a presentation. The presentations were commented by Abel Barrera, Director of the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan and Emilie E. Joly, DPLF’s Equal Access to Justice Program Coordinator. One of the important issues addressed in the event is a new Law on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders recently approved by Guerrero’s State Congress. DPLF and our partner organizations, while noting that the law is a welcome development, expressed our concerns on the lack of civil society participation in the discussion during the drafting of the law and the lack of political will to support its adoption and the implementation process (see article on new law: http://diariodezihuatanejo.blogspot.com/2010/05/legisladores...).

The report is available online at: El informe esta accesible en linea a:
http://www.dplf.org/uploads/1279728364.pdf