Mexico's UPR: Women defenders say it's time for implementation and protection

21.03.2014

With the Mexican State in Geneva to accept the majority of its recommendations from the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a group of activists led by women human rights defenders from across the country held a side event to analyse Mexico's 'progressive diplomacy, normative advances and human rights violations'.

(Geneva) - With Mexico accepting the majority of its recommendations from the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a group of activists led by women human rights defenders from across the country held a side event to analyse Mexico's 'progressive diplomacy, normative advances and human rights violations'.

The defenders stressed that Mexico's progressive stance in multilateral forums such as the Human Rights Council should not deflect from the necessity that the State put in place real solutions to human rights issues in a country which has witnessed 100,000 killings and over 26,000 disappeared people in seven years of the so-called 'war on drugs', all to a backdrop of 98% impunity. Mexico accepted 166 recommendations, committing to tackle forced disappearances, reduce violence against women, and eradicate torture.

However according to Alma Garcia of the Fray Juan de Larios Human Rights Centre in Coahuila, ‘What are now needed are comprehensive strategies for follow-up and implementation which contemplate the full participation of all branches of Government and adequately involve civil society. It is not enough to simply accept the recommendations and go home'.

40% of recommendations made to Mexico at the UPR referred to the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, whilst the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented widespread attacks, threats, criminalisation and even killings of activists across the country. The women defenders in Geneva underlined that this issue continues to represent a fundamental obstacle to human rights protection in Mexico and that the situation has not been resolved by the approbation in 2012 of the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.

Cristina Hardaga and Emilie De Wolf underlined that women defenders in particular have faced increased attacks in the past year. The Mexican National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders (RNDDHM) documented 242 aggressions against women defenders and journalists in 2013. De Wolf said that five women defenders were killed in Mexico last year.

The activists agreed that the Protection Mechanism for defenders and journalists created by the 2012 law still requires political backing, practical elements and a gender perspective in order to function and protect activists. As with all of Mexico's UPR recommendations, the international community must ensure that human rights defender protection is not simply reflected in progressive language, but in effective implementation.

Contact: Ben Leather, b.leather@ishr.ch

Category:

Region
  • Latin America and Caribbean
Topic
  • Women's rights and WHRD
Mechanism
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Universal Periodic Review
Country
  • Mexico