Dozens of social organizations demanded President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stop speeches that «stigmatize and criminalize» the work of human rights defenders and journalists, and publicly apologise for the accusation that at least 8 civil organizations and the Political Animal medium receive funding from foreign foundations to criticize and oppose the work of the Maya Train, which is false.
«Undoubtedly, these qualifiers stigmatize and criminalize the work of the organizations and the established media, inferring that by receiving resources from international agencies, their struggles and their human rights work, as well as their exercise of freedom of expression, are illegitimate,» the CSOs said of what the federal representative said at the morning conference on 28 August 2020.
The Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the Foundation for Due Process (DPLF), Outrage, Promotion and Defense of Human Rights A.C., the Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil (CRIPX), among others, added, «they are being subjected to defamation and harassment, for accompanying people defenders of land and territory in the face of the actions of implementation of the megaproject ‘Tren Maya’ in the southeast of the country, which violates their social, economic, cultural and environmental rights and of indigenous peoples and communities».
The middle Political Animal, they continued, «it was also noted in the list of organizations that received funding from ‘benefactors and opponents’, seeking to generate a causal link between the critical cut of the medium and the resources it receives. To classify these organizations and the environment as ‘opponents’, questioning the legitimacy of their work to denounce human rights violations, is an act that criminalizes and discredits the work of defending human rights and freedom of expression.»
Since Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in December 2018, at least 14 journalists and 26 human rights defenders have been murdered. In addition, the international organization Global Witness placed Mexico this year as the fourth most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders.
«In this context, we emphasize that statements issued by the Federal Executive do not protect, respect, or guarantee the rights to defend human rights and freedom of expression, rights enshrined in international instruments and treaties to which Mexico is a party. Similarly, the narrative that delegitimizes the work of defending human rights and the journalistic exercise, coming from the highest level, generates a multiplier effect that allows and legitimizes the action of other state and non-state actors, to the detriment of defenders and journalists, further weakening the rule of law in our country.»
Therefore, they concluded, «The persons, collectives and signatory organizations requested the Federal Government and local governments:
To cease speeches and actions that stigmatize and criminalize the work of human rights defenders and journalists, making a public apology and rectifying the stigmatizing statements made at the press conference on Friday, August 28.
To generate adequate spaces for open dialogue with human rights organizations that defend the rights of peoples and communities affected by the violation of their human rights by the implementation of megaprojects.
Enable public discussion on issues of social interest and adopt a discourse in favor of pluralism and criticism, in the media. These actions promote freedom of expression and help prevent any kind of violence against journalists.»
📣Personas, groups and civil society organizations call the @GobiernoMX and state governments, to generate a safe and conducive environment to defend HRDs and journalistic work in Mexico.
👉 https://t.co/qufo4Eow3Y pic.twitter.com/BWuR4R7uBb
— ARTICLE 19 MX-CA (@article19mex) August 30, 2020
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