UPR submission Mexico
On 18 July 2023, Lawyers for Lawyers and IBAHRI submitted a report for the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Mexico. The next UPR of Mexico will take place in January 2024.
The UPR’s key concern is of Mexico’s compliance with its international human rights obligations under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, specifically on the issues of effective guarantees for the functioning of lawyers, failure to properly investigate attacks and harassment against lawyers, as well as lack of effectiveness of the Protection Mechanism.
L4L has heard reports of judicial harassment against human rights defenders and lawyers who take up sensitive cases, even as far as criminal investigations are brought against them. The International Federation for Human Rights has found trends of investigations without a legitimate legal basis, especially against lawyers defending environmental rights, which has been confirmed by L4L in this report. These actions also include surveillance of lawyers involved in such cases, made serious by the fact investigators have the power in Mexico to surveil and even detain anyone who is a potential suspect.
Apart from this type of harassment, the report emphasizes the issue of physical violence and threats against lawyers. In these cases, especially those involving the environment, the interests of the governmental institutions and multinational companies, seem to prevail over the protection of the lawyers, which violates the government’s obligations under international law towards the lawyers.
Furthermore, a major concern of the report is that the authorities do not properly investigate the instances of attacks against lawyers, with up to 95% of cases in Mexico being never resolved.
Lastly, the report highlights the lack of effectiveness of The Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico. Despite the aim of the mechanism, there have been reported murders of eight journalists and human rights defenders that had been under the protection of the Mechanism. The entire program struggles from technical and procedural difficulties that undermine its aims.
L4L and IBAHRI have thus, due to the above-mentioned concerns, called for immediate attention and taking measures to uphold the UN Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers.
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