By most accounts, Mexico has become an increasingly dangerous place to stand up for human rights over the past several years. According to the Mexican nongovernmental organization CENCOS, at least 24 human rights defenders and journalists were murdered in 2011 alone. The Mexican government has not adequately responded to threats and attacks against defenders, leaving 99% of all aggressions against them in impunity. Until Mexico’s judicial and law-enforcement institutions are fully able to uphold the rule of law, a special mechanism is needed to protect human rights defenders so they may continue their important work without fear. The Mexican government is in the process of developing such a protection mechanism, but has failed to fully include the participation of civil society–the very people these measures are being designed to protect.
Several members of the U.S. Congress concerned with the high levels of danger facing human rights defenders in Mexico have raised their voice. Together, they sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her make a priority in her dialogue with Mexico the importance of civil society participation in the development of a protection mechanism for human rights defenders.
To read the letter, click here.