Letter of concern sent to Mexican authorities regarding reports received about the safety of Organizacion del Pueblo Ind’gena Me’phaa (OPIM) and Mountain Human Rights Centre members

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Fernando Francisco Gómez-Mont Urueta
Secretaría de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso,
Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc,
México D.F., C.P.06600

London, 22 April 2010

Dear Fernando Francisco Gómez-Mont Urueta
RE: Organizacion del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa /Organisation of the Me’phaa Indigenous Peoples

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales is the international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales. It is an independent body concerned with defending the rule of law and internationally recognised legal standards relating to human rights and the right to fair trial.

The Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) is contacting to express its serious concerns regarding reports received about the safety of members of the Organizacion del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa (OPIM), as well as the members of the Mountain Human Rights Centre, Tlachinollan. BHRC has been informed that on 6 March 2010 Obtilia Eugenio Manuel and on 17 March 2010 Andrea Eugenio Manuel suffered harassment, including death threats. On 17 March, members of Tlachinollan observed that they were being photographed as they left their offices. Obtillia Eugenio Manuel is a witness in the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega against the United Mexican States, which will be heard before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on 15 April and 28 and 29 May respectively. As such, you will be aware that these people are beneficiaries of provisional measures granted by the Inter-American Court, making the Mexican state responsible for the guarantee of their safety.

BHRC has been alarmed by these facts, which in the context of continuation of these attacks and the impunity in which they have taken place is extremely worrying. These organisations have been working in the state of Guerrero since the 1980s defending the rights of the indigenous and rural populations. BHRC recalls that further to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, it is the responsibility of States to protect, promote and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms, inter alia, by adopting such steps as may be necessary to create all conditions necessary in the social, economic, political and other fields, as well as the legal guarantees required to ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction, individually and in association with others, are able to enjoy all those rights and freedoms in practice.

In view of the above, BHRC expresses concerns about OPIM and Tlachinollan member’s situation, which we believe amounts to harassment, and urges the authorities to take immediate and effective steps to protect them and their relatives, and investigate the matters thoroughly and openly in order to put an end to any perception of impunity in such serious matters and preserve the independence and integrity of the administration of justice.

We therefore respectfully urge you to use all powers vested in you to ensure that the safety of these witnesses before and after the trial.

Yours sincerely
Mark Muller QC
Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales

Copies sent to:

Arturo Chávez Chávez, Procurador General de la República
Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, Presidente de la Comisi?n Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, Gobernador del Estado de Guerrero
Mtro. Albertico Guinto Sierra, Encargado de Despacho de la PGJE de Guerrero
Eduardo Medina Mora I., Ambassador of Mexico to the United Kingdom
Judith Macgregor LVO, British Ambassador to Mexico

Read the full letter of concern here


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