Mexico: Speech on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP debate

(Source: EEAS)

Delivered by Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, on the situation of journalists and Human Rights Defenders in Mexico

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Madam President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

Journalists and human rights defenders are central to functioning democracies. They are key in holding governments and societies to account, and speaking up for those who otherwise would not have a voice.

Mexico is one the of the European Union’s Strategic Partners, and a like-minded partner in multilateral fora. And currently we extend our gratitude and appreciation for Mexico’s support in condemning Russian aggression and standing up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and its democracy at the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. The protection of human rights and upholding rule of law and accountability is part of the Government´s declared political objectives, but Mexico continues to face serious challenges in the implementation of its human rights legal framework.

The most significant threat to the promotion and protection of human rights remains organised crime. The current situation as regards journalists is especially varying. We are highly concerned about the rising number of assassinations and attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico, and about the hostile environment in which they work and risk their lives.

The Press can never be fully free if journalists are facing harassment, attacks or even mortal danger while doing their jobs. Mexico’s Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders, launched in 2012, is an interesting model. However, the death toll suggests that a far more comprehensive effort is needed if the challenge of violence against journalists is to be successfully addressed.

We regularly address these issues with Mexican authorities with regard to the human rights’ situation, as well as specific cases of human rights defenders and journalists, both in a dedicated Human Rights Dialogue and in other contexts.

As well as speaking out clearly against this violence, we engage continuously through our Delegation in Mexico City with civil society, human rights defenders, journalists and international actors. This is in order to show our support, and to raise awareness about the need for further action to address the current situation. We also provide practical, financial and technical support to the largest extent possible.

Governments can never be fully accountable if human rights defenders and journalists cannot carry out their work safely. Attacks against journalists and human rights defenders are therefore a threat to the foundation of our democracies. When they come under attack, effective protection must be provided and the perpetrators of such attacks must be brought to justice. The fight against impunity is therefore a key priority to stop threats and attacks against journalists. If not addressed, the silencing of journalists and human rights defenders is bound to continue.

We welcome the European Parliament strong commitment on this issue and reiterate the European Union´s commitment to cooperating and working with Mexico to foster the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, both with concrete projects on the ground and with dialogue – including our regular High Level Dialogues on Human Rights and Civil Society Seminars.

Thank you.

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