Mar 7, 2012

Human Rights. In four years, 61 human rights defenders were killed in Mexico

La Jornada: "The InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced today its Second Report on the Situation of the Defenders of Human Rights, it which it reported--using information provided by local organizatios--that 61 activists were killed in Mexico between 2006 and 2010.

It also noted that four activists from independent organization were disappeared in the same period, and that many of the threats or harassment against defenders are made by security agents of the State, as well as by irregular armed groups.

In the document of over 270 pages, the IACHR noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that, between January 2006 and August 2009, 128 cases of assault or restrictions to the work of human rights defenders occurred, 6 percent of which had to do with violations of the right to life.

In a subsequent update, the same agency said there were more than 37 attacks in September 2009 to October 2010, with a 13 percent increase in homicides. These figures are complemented by others from Mexico's National Commission of Human Rights, according to which, from January 2005 to May 2011, there were 27 reports of killings of defenders.

The Commission also found that among "the most vulnerable are the defenders of environmental rights, indigenous leaders and advocates for women's rights, and the states with the largest number of assaults are Chihuahua, Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

While noting that many of the attacks are committed by members of organized crime, the report indicates that in some of the most dangerous regions for human rights defenders "there exists a high presence of armed forces," which are not only unable to stop the violence, but sometimes would ask criminals "to do the dirty work as a way to escape responsibility" for the events.

One day after the UN Working Group Conference on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances issued a report concluding that state agents involved in this crime against humanity, the Commission agreed, affirming that Mexican authorities "have committed arbitrary use of the security forces and caused fatal injuries to victims" during some of their operations." Spanish original

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