Translation by Protection International of the original article by the Secretaría de Gobernación.
This international meeting brings together representatives from Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. It is necessary to create a new system to protect and guarantee the exercise of this population: Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez.
The Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, today inaugurated the first International Meeting of Mechanisms for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists with the participation of representatives from Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Peru and Colombia.
The aim is to generate an exchange of information, best practices and analyse the main challenges for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in the hemisphere.
At the Museum of Memory and Tolerance in Mexico City, before representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Rapporteurship on Human Rights Defenders and Justice Operators of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), as well as the Senate of the Republic, Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez emphasised the need to create a new system of protection where each authority has responsibilities in its area of competence and where mechanisms of control and accountability are established.
This is because, he stressed, there is no point in strengthening a mechanism where the local authority ignores its responsibility or where local mechanisms are formed without institutional strength or capacity, “we need a profound change in order to reverse this risky situation”.
He argued that the mechanism has proved insufficient to confront and reverse this phenomenon, even though it has saved lives and the beneficiary population has found conditions of protection and security to continue developing their activities.
However, he reiterated, the phenomenon of crime against journalists and defenders goes beyond the mechanism.
This mechanism,” he added, “has become a reactive instrument in the face of aggression; it has not been able to consolidate a horizontal, cross-cutting project that would make the Mexican state authorities as a whole turn to guaranteeing freedom of expression and the defence of human rights in our country.
He therefore announced that he will work with members of the Congress of the Union on a reform – now that the law has been in force for 10 years – in order to achieve substantive changes that will guarantee the fundamental rights of freedom of expression.
For his part, Enrique Irazoque Palazuelos, head of the Unit for the Defence of Human Rights at the Ministry of the Interior, stressed that the Mexican government will not only strengthen the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, but will also promote a reform so that the protection policy for this sector of society has a State vision.
“With this, we are going to build this legislation hand in hand with organisations, families, victims and journalists, and obviously with Congress. This will be a historic change in the way the rights of defenders and journalists are protected and, of course, it will have a greater message than it already has. We will focus on a national prevention policy that is extremely important for our country,” he explained.
The meeting was attended by the representative in Mexico of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado Castro.
The rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Justice Operators of the IACHR, Joel Hernández García; and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, both virtually.
The meeting was also attended by the representative of the Council of the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, Atzri Elizabeth Ávila López; and the senator and president of the Human Rights Commission in the Senate of the Republic, Kenia López Rabadán.