Human Rights Defenders in Tabasco Mexico attacked


Acts of defamation against the organization La 72, Hogar-Refugio for migrants in a context of obstacles to the defense of the rights of migrants in Tabasco

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in  Mexico.

Description of the situation

The Observatory has received information from credible sources about acts of defamation against the organization La 72, Home-Refuge for migrants [1] , and about the announcement of measures that hinder and restrict the activities of this organization in the defense of rights of the migrant population, in the State of Tabasco in Mexico.

According to the information received, on June 17, 2019, during his morning conference at the Presidential Palace, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador publicly denounced an alleged mismanagement of money in shelters for migrants and announced that the Federal Government will assume exclusively the function of creating shelters for migrants in Mexico [2] .

On the occasion of the above, the Patrimonial and Economic Intelligence Unit of the State of Tabasco (UIPE), with the support of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Tabasco (UIFT), issued a public statement[3] in which it made generalized accusations against civil society organizations that work for the rights of the migrant population, indicating that they “do not operate as they indicate, and have been facades for money laundering and corruption” [4] .

La 72 is one of the most recognized organizations in the State of Tabasco in defense of the rights of the migrant population and has been documenting and denouncing the serious situation that Mexican people live in Mexico. Its members have been victims of numerous acts of intimidation and threats because of the work they do [5] . In recent weeks the acts of intimidation against them have increased, including through the permanent surveillance and patrols of the shelter by federal agents; local outlets where unfounded accusations are made against the shelter and against its director, Mr. Ramón Márquez, as well as monitoring and intimidation

The accusations made by the Tabasco authorities are made in the context of the current policy of control and deterrence of migration in Mexico and the military closure of the Tabasco South border. Respect for the rights of migrants deteriorates in the face of recent measures that have been implemented, such as mass arrests and deportations without due process and contrary to the principle of non-refoulement and the use of the Federal Police in these operations and the Army. This has deepened the humanitarian crisis and has increased the overcrowding of the Tenosique migration station as well asthe exhibition of the life and integrity of migrants, especially women and children against whom the levels of violence have increased, including sexual violence [6] .

The Observatory expresses its concern that these defamations against non-governmental organizations working in defense of the rights of migrants, especially against La 72, are aimed at delegitimizing their work and weakening the exercise of the right of association [7]. ] and expression, as well as the right to access to financing and resources for the fulfillment of its purposes, and could also weaken the contribution of these organizations in the context described above.

The Observatory reminds the Mexican authorities that limiting or prohibiting the actions of human rights organizations in the promotion and defense of any human right and making undue interference goes against the right of people to act individually or collectively in favor of human rights, in accordance withinternational instruments, and it goes against the duty of all States to facilitate the work of civil society organizations in defense of human rights [8] .

The Observatory regrets that, through these announced measures, new limitations and obstacles to the right to defend human rights in Mexico are imposed, and that this affects the capacity of non-governmental organizations, their protection, the existence of these and the deepening of violations of the human rights of migrants.

The Observatory calls on the State of Mexico to put an end to all types of harassment and criminalization against all defenders of the rights of migrants in Mexico, especially in the State of Tabasco, and to adopt immediately the most appropriate measures to guarantee the security and the physical and psychological integrity of the people that make up La 72, Hogar-Refugio for migrants.

Action requested:

Please write to the Mexican authorities urging them to:

       i.          Adopt the most appropriate measures to guarantee the safety and physical and psychological integrity of the people that make up the 72, Home-Refuge for migrants.

     ii.          Put an end to all acts of harassment, defamation and intimidation against people and communities that defend human rights in Mexico, including those that go against La 72, Hogar-Refugio para personas migrantes.

    iii.          Refrain from taking measures that hinder, restrict and limit the defense of human rights in Mexico, in particular, the defense of the rights of migrants.

    iv.          Implement recognition policies, including public acknowledgment by both the Tabasco State authorities and the federal level, regarding the legitimacy of the people who defend the human rights of migrants in Mexico, particularly the work carried out by the La 72, Hogar-Refugio for migrants.

     v.          Ensure the application of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, particularly with regard to Article 1, 5.a and 12.2;

    saw.          In general, ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country, in accordance with international human rights standards ratified by Mexico 


• Mr. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of the United Mexican States. Twitter: @lopezobrador_

• Dr. Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior. E-mail: ,

• Mr. Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, Undersecretary of Human Rights and Population, Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB). E-mail:

• Mr. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. E-mail:

• Ms. Martha Delgado Peralta, Under Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE). E-mail:

• Dr. Luis Raúl González Pérez, President of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH). E-mail:

• Mr. Marcos Rosendo Medina Filigrana, Secretary of Government of the State of Tabasco. E-mail:

• Ms. Ambassador Socorro Flores Liera, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva. E-mail: /

• Mr. Ambassador Mauricio Escanero Figueroa, Mission of Mexico to the European Union and Embassy of Mexico to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Duchy of Luxembourg. E-mail: /

• Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the Organization of American States. E-mail: /

Please also write to the Diplomatic Representations of the United Mexican States in your respective countries.


Geneva-Paris, June 27, 2019

We appreciate that you inform us of any action undertaken, citing the code of this call in your response.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) is a program created in 1997 by the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH and aims to intervene to prevent or remedy concrete situations of repression against defenders and defenders of human rights. OMCT and FIDH are both members of , the European Union Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, contact the Emergency Line:

·       E-mail:

·       Tel and fax: OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

·       Tel. And fax: FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / + 33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] La 72 offers humanitarian assistance, advice and migratory management to migrants during their passage through Mexico.In the framework of its work, La 72, has denounced organized crime and human trafficking networks, in the search to generate better transit conditions and respect for the human rights of people who are forced to migrate.          

[2] See:          

[3] Economic and Patrimonial Intelligence Unit of the State of Tabasco (UIPE), communication 001/2019, Villahermosa Tabasco.          

[4] In this regard, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association has said that: “While States have a responsibility to combat money laundering and terrorism, this should never be invoked obligation as a justification to undermine the credibility of an organization, or to arbitrarily hinder its legitimate activities. ” See: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, United Nations Document A / HRC / 20/27, paragraph 70, May 21, 2012          

[5] See, for example:          

            Acts of criminalization against Fray Bernardo Molina Esquiliano, member of La 72, Hogar-Refugio para Personas Migrantes;

            Harassment and threats against the personnel of the “La 72, Hogar-Refugio para a migrantes” team;

            and Harassment and death threats by organized crime actors against the personnel of the “La 72, Hogar-Refugio para amigrantes” team in the State of Tabasco

[6] The 72, has warned that only in 4 days, from June 9 to 12, they knew of 4 women victims of rape and 3 people victims of sexual abuse on the migratory route, in addition to numerous victims injured in violent assaults. This situation increases with the migratory persecution that forces migrants to take more uncertain paths, with greater exposure to common crime and organized crime. Meanwhile, the networks of coyotaje and human trafficking continue intact and operate in impunity without any threat to its structure ormodus operandi.          

[7] “The right to freedom of association protects associations from their creation until their dissolution and includes the right to establish and adhere to associations and the right of associations to freely develop their activities and receive protection against undue interference, to access funding and resources, and to participate in public affairs. “See: Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Maina Kiai, United Nations Document A / HRC / 20/27, summary, May 21, 2012.          

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