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Attempting to Address Violence Against Activists and Journalists

Un intento por reducir la violencia contra activistas y periodistas

Tentative de mettre fin à la violence contre les activistes et les journalistes

A woman walks near a telecommunications tower in Mexico City

Lessons from Reformers

This case study was originally posted in the OGP Global Report.

The Mexican justice system suffers from lack of judicial independence and is part of a broader environment of impunity. Their second OGP action plan states that only between 1 and 2 percent of committed crimes resulted in sentencing and many individuals (96 percent) do not report crimes at all due to fear, corruption, and/or the lack of faith in Mexico’s institutions to respond. With disappearances being a severe problem in the country, this lack of criminal justice means that many cases are going unreported and not investigated. In 2014, this came to an acute head with the forced disappearance, and likely killing of 43 student teachers while travelling to a demonstration in Iguala, Guerrero.

Mexico’s 2016 action plan committed to analysis of the patterns of disappearances, a mechanism to track them, and publication of open data about the cases. This would build upon a prior action plan (2013–2015), where Mexico made related commitments to gather and publish data about disappearances and provide information on people that have been detained. Those two commitments were fully completed.

Unfortunately, these efforts lost momentum when it was discovered that the government had used spyware to harass activists, including civil society members of the “Tripartite Commission” responsible for governing OGP. The government is currently under review by the OGP Support Unit following an OGP Response Policy letter from Mexican organizations.

At the time of writing, the newly appointed Mexican administration has affirmed its commitment to work with civil society to address these concerns. A report outlining the findings of the merits of the original concerns is to be completed by the first quarter of 2019. Based on these findings, and the responses provided by the government, an update and report will be prepared and presented to the OGP Steering Committee at its next meeting in May 2019.

Photo Credit: Edgard Garrido, Reuters

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