As the United Nations prepares to review Mexico’s human rights record in November, civil society organizations in Oaxaca publish their own evaluation, from one of the states with the highest number of violations in the country. In the following series Educa, a contributor to the report, summarizes its main findings:
Attacks on human rights defenders have increased significantly in Oaxaca. Official data show at least 124 attacks against 76 human rights defenders between January and September 2016. Often, public authorities were the perpetrators of these aggressions.
The dire situation continued last year, when 51 cases of physical aggression and nine cases involving the illegal detention of human rights defenders were reported.
In 2017 it is believed that six Human Rights Defenders were assassinated in Oaxaca. Four of these took place under state guardianship, either in a municipal prison or while the individuals were being provided with protective measures. In 2018 another three homicides on members of the Indigenous Rights Defence Committee were committed. Attacks on human rights defenders are most commonly related to megaprojects and government reforms.
In 2013 and 2014, Oaxaca was the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks against women human rights defenders. The number of attacks increased to 320 in 2016. The majority of identified aggressors are government agents.
To date the State refuses to investigate or sanction aggressors against Human Rights Defenders in the judicial or non-judicial systems. Of the 46 grievances reported by human rights defenders from 2015-2017, only three have led to a judicial process and only one has resulted in an arrest warrant. Moreover, it has been noted that the cases of human rights defenders tend to be archived and ignored indefinitely.
The government´s continuing inaction demonstrates its blatant disregard for the security of human rights defenders.
Download: Under attack. Human Rights in Oaxaca 2013-2018. Citizen report (PDF, 32 pp.)
Infographic: Oaxaca Citizens’ Report