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Mexico

Mexico currently has several forms of legal protection for HRDs:
1) At the national level: 1 federal law which establishes a comprehensive protection mechanism
2) At the state-level: 11 autonomous State laws / protection mechanisms, 8 State laws or policies to cooperate with the federal protection mechanism and 6 dedicated prosecutor agencies.
3) A current draft law which seeks to add substantive elements to the existing federal law.

1. NATIONAL LEVEL LEGAL PROTECTION

Law for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists of 2012 and its Bylaw

Type of instrument: Protection Mechanism
Status: (as of 1 January 2022)
Law adopted on 30 April 2012
Bylaw adopted on 30 November 2012.

Comments on the instrument:
The Bill establishes a comprehensive mechanism for the protection of HRDs that aligns, for the most part, with the Model Law; the most notable absence is the lack of an independent review of the Mechanism’s decisions and functioning.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict human rights defenders’ rights?
No

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
Yes. Main purpose of this bill is the establishment of the mechanism, in Article 12.

 


Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on Mexico, click here.

Key elements of the protection mechanism:

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

2

Cooperation with human rights defenders, civil society, and national and international human rights bodies

FULL

6, 8(V, VI), 16(VII), 28 / 49 BL

Training of mechanism’s personnel on HR and fundamental freedoms

FULL

5, 8(XVI), 9, 11, 13, 20, 22 

Periodic reviews with independent experts and CSOs on the functioning of the Mechanism

PART

65-67 / 28BL

Resources for adequate functioning of the Mechanism / transparency on resource usage 

FULL

18(III,IV), 48-54, 63, 64 / 21BL

Public acknowledgement of human rights defenders’ work and rights (promotion of UN Declaration)

FULL

44 / 68 BL

Disseminate information on protection programmes for human rights defenders, Mechanism’s work

FULL

16(VIII)

Development of protocols and guidelines based on best practices to protect human rights defenders

FULL

8(III, 18(V,VI,VII), 19(VII), 28

Assist investigations for prosecuting offences against human rights defenders

PART

19(VIII) / 76, 77 BL

Granting of protective measures based off a specific risk assessment

FULL

8(I-V), 16(V), 35-39

Review / appeal of Mechanism decision before courts or independent authority

PART

16(IV,V,), 38, 55-62 / 106 BL

Confidentiality and personal data protection

FULL

63, 66 / 21BL

Actions to achieve structural changes (annual reports on the situation of human rights defenders, advising government on laws and policies related to human rights defenders) 

FULL

8(VII, IX,X,XIV,XV),16(VI), 45

Quick downloads

2012 law bylaw 


2. STATE-LEVEL LEGAL PROTECTION 

At the local level, legal protection for defenders in the 32 states works as follows:

  1. 4 states have no protection: Yucatán, Tabasco, Nuevo León and Baja California Sur.
  2. 3 States have protection only for journalists: Colima, Veracruz, Querétaro.
  3. 6 States don’t have specific laws, only dedicated prosecutor agencies: Sonora, Campeche, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Zacatecas
  4. 8 States have laws or policies to cooperate with the federal protection mechanism: Tlaxcala, Tamaulipas, Puebla, Morelos, Michoacán, Jalisco, Estado de México, Durango.
  5. 11 States have “autonomous” protection laws: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Coahuila, Ciudad de México, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosí, Quintana Roo, Nayarit, Hidalgo, Guerrero, Guanajuato.

The specific legal protection is as follows:

  1. Aguascalientes – Autonomous law / protection mechanism:  Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas del Estado de Aguascalientes. Decreto No. 531
  2. Baja California – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Acuerdo del Mecanismo Estatal de Protección para las Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas de Baja California 
    1. Draft bill: Iniciativa de ley para la protección al ejercicio de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas del Estado de Baja California 11/4/2022
  3. Baja California Sur: N/A
  4. Campeche – Prosecutor’s Office: Acuerdo Número a/001/2018 por el que se establece la Fiscalía Especial en investigación del delito de tortura, delitos cometidos en contra periodistas o personas defensoras de derechos humanos. Fiscalía General del Estado de Campeche.
  5. Chiapas – Prosecutor’s Office: Acuerdo por el que se emite el Protocolo de actuación para la implementación de medidas de protección a favor de periodistas y personas defensoras de derechos humanos de la Fiscalía General del estado de Chiapas.
  6. Chihuahua – Prosecutor’s Office: Unidad de protección a PDDH y periodistas del Estado
  7. Coahuila – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la Protección de las Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos para el Estado de Coahuila.
  8. Colima – Mechanism for journalists: Ley para la protección integral del ejercicio periodístico en el Estado de Colima
  9. Mexico City – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas del Distrito Federal
  10. Durango – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Ley Estatal para la Protección de Periodistas y Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos del Estado de Durango 
  11. Estado de México – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Ley para la protección integral de periodistas y personas defensoras de los derechos humanos del estado de México 
  12. Guanajuato – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la protección de personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas del Estado de Guanajuato. Decreto No. 218
  13. Guerrero – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley número 391 de Protección de los Defensores de los Derechos Humanos en el Estado de Guerrero
    1. See also: Decreto por el que se crea la Unidad estatal para la protección de personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas, como órgano administrativo desconcentrado de la Secretaría general de gobierno
  14. HIdalgo – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley de Protección a personas defensoras de derechos humanos y de salvaguarda de los derechos para el ejercicio del periodismo del estado de Hidalgo. Decreto Núm. 283
  15. Jalisco – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas del Estado de Jalisco
  16. Michoacán – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Ley para la protección de personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas del Estado de Michoacán de Ocampo
  17. Morelos – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Ley de protección a periodistas y defensores de derechos humanos del estado de Morelos
  18. Nayarit – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la protección de personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas del Estado de Nayarit
  19. Nuevo León: N/A
  20. Oaxaca – Prosecutor’s Office: Protocolo de actuación ministerial para la investigación de delitos cometidos en contra de personas defensoras de derechos humanos, de la Fiscalía General del Estado de Oaxaca 
  21. Puebla – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Acuerdo del Ejecutivo por medio del cual se crea la Comisión de Protección a Defensores de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas
  22. Querétaro – Mechanism for journalists: Ley que establece el secreto profesional periodístico en el estado de Querétaro
  23. Quintana Roo – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas del Estado de Quintana Roo
  24. San Luis Potosí: – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la protección al ejercicio de personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas del Estado de San Luis Potosí
  25. Sinaloa – Autonomous law / protection mechanism: Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas del Estado de Sinaloa. Decreto número 154.
  26. Sonora – Prosecutor’s Office: Fiscalía general de justicia del Estado de Sonora. Acuerdo que crea la agencia del Ministerio Público especializada en la persecución de delitos cometidos contra periodistas y activistas sociales con motivo del ejercicio de su libertad de expresión 
  27. Tabasco: N/A
  28. Tamaulipas – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas para el Estado de Tamaulipas 
  29. Tlaxcala – Link with National Protection Mechanism: Decreto por el que se crea la Oficina local para la protección de personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas en el Estado de Tlaxcala, como órgano administrativo de la Secretaría de Gobierno Periódico Oficial No. 1 Extraordinario, Febrero 15 del 2022
  30. Veracruz – Mechanism for journalists: Ley número 586 de la Comisión Estatal para la Atención y Protección de los periodistas
  31. Yucatán: N/A
  32. Zacatecas – Bill for an autonomous law / protection mechanism: Iniciativa con proyecto de decreto, por el que se expide la Ley para la prevención y protección ante agravios a personas defensoras de derechos humanos y periodistas del estado de Zacatecas.
    1. See also prosecutor’s office: Unidad Especializada de Investigación para la Protección de personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas de la Fiscalía Especializada en Derechos Humanos, Tortura y Otros Tratos o Penas Crueles, Inhumanos o Degradantes del Estado de Zacatecas.

3. NATIONAL LEVEL PROPOSED BILLS

Initiative of a general law to respect, protect, guarantee and promote the rights of human rights defenders and journalists

Type of instrument: Law & Protection Mechanism
Status: (as of 1 January 2022)
In progress, pending before Congressional Committee.

Comments on the instrument:
The initiative seeks to improve the 2012 law (Law for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists of 2012) by adding substantive elements to the existing protection mechanism. The draft law is an almost verbatim transcript of the Model Law, with substantive elements in the same order, while the articles related to the protection mechanism are almost identical to those in the 2012 law. Despite a few small improvements, the protection mechanism similarly lacks a process of supervision by an independent body, as the appeal process is carried out by the mechanism itself.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict human rights defenders’ rights?
No

 


Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument as compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on Mexico, click here

A selection of fundamental rights for human rights defenders incorporated in the instrument:

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

6

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

3, 5, 7(I)

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations

FULL

3, 7(II),

Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources

FULL

7(III)

Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information

FULL

7(IV), 8, 14.III

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and intergovernmental organisations

FULL

7(VI, VII)

Right to participate in public affairs

FULL

7(VIII)

Right to Peaceful Assembly

FULL

7(IX)

Right to represent and advocate

FULL

7(X)

Right to freedom of movement

FULL

7(XI)

Right to Privacy

FULL

7(XII)

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal

FULL

7(XIII)

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation

FULL

7(XIV)

State obligations regarding human rights defenders in the instrument?

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of human rights defenders

FULL

2, 14(I)(a)

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of human rights defenders 

FULL

14(I)(II)

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal

FULL

3, 5, 14(V-VII)

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation

FULL

1, 3, 7(XVI), 14(VIII), 74, 126, 125-134

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
Mechanism established through article 1

Provision

Covered?

Articles

Cooperation with human rights defenders, civil society, and national and international human rights bodies

FULL

57, 59.IV-VII, 66.VII, 84, 104, 106

Training of mechanism’s personnel on human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

14.X, 61, 63, 72, 109, 140, 141

Periodic reviews with independent experts and CSOs on the functioning of the Mechanism

FULL

14.X, 61, 63, 72, 109, 140, 141

Resources for adequate functioning of the Mechanism / transparency on resource usage 

FULL

59.XV, 131-139, 151

Public acknowledgement of human rights defenders’ work and rights (promotion of UN Declaration)

FULL

3(III), 3(XVIII), 14.II.e, 14.X

Disseminate information on protection programmes for human rights defenders, Mechanism’s work

FULL

66.VIII, 67.b, 

Development of protocols and guidelines based on best practices to protect human rights defenders

FULL

14.II.d, 59.III, 68.V- 68.VII, 106, 116

Assist investigations for prosecuting offences against human rights defenders

PART

86.VII, 159, 160

Granting of protective measures based off a specific risk assessment

FULL

59.I, 59.II, 66.V, 69, 71, 73, 76-96, 106, 114, 118, 124

Review / appeal of Mechanism decision before courts or independent authority

PART 

142-149

Confidentiality and personal data protection

FULL

14.IV, 150

Actions to achieve structural changes (annual reports on the situation of human rights defenders, advising government on laws and policies related to human rights defenders) 

FULL

59.VII, 59.IX,59.X, 59.XIV, 66.VI 106

Quick access

General law initiative