Article by PBI-Canada
On April 13, the United Front of Community Police of Guerrero State threatened human rights activist Manuel Olivares Hernández and journalist Ezequiel Flores Contreras via a media release the armed group posted on Facebook.
The Associated Press reports, “An armed vigilante group in southern Mexico has threatened a well-known human rights activist and a journalist, saying the two would be abducted and subjected to ‘re-education’.”
Quadratin also notes the threat faced by Teodomira Rosales Sierra who works at the Morelos Center for Human Rights along with Olivares.
The Havana Times adds, “Flores told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he fears for his life, saying that violence against journalists had increased in Guerrero over the last few years, and that, ‘The state authorities cannot guarantee the safety of anyone’.”
“He told CPJ that he contacted the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which operates under the auspices of the federal Interior Secretariat, to be provided with protective measures.”
“An official with the mechanism, who asked to remain anonymous as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, confirmed to CPJ on April 14 that the mechanism was analyzing Flores’ application for protection.”
That article also notes, “Flores has been the correspondent in Guerrero for Proceso, one of Mexico’s most widely read investigative news magazines, for 20 years, he told CPJ. He mostly covers corruption, organized crime, and human rights abuses, and has been threatened several times before, according to Flores and CPJ’s review of his reporting.”
Furthermore, related separate incidents, PBI-Mexico posted this alert from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre that notes: “In recent days, on 22 and 26 March, extremely serious information was published, which puts the life of defender Manuel Olivares Hernández at risk.” That alert also notes, “At the end of December, comrade Teodomira was the victim of a sexual assault by an elite group of the state police.”
In March 2019, Peace Brigades International and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) release the report Turning the Tide on Impunity: Protection and Access to Justice for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders in Mexico.
It notes that under former president Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration (December 2012-November 2018) at least 161 human rights defenders and 40 journalists were murdered and that from December 1, 2018 (when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office) to March 2019, at least 17 journalists and human rights defenders had been killed.
The report concludes with 17 recommendations on how to improve the protection of journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico.