National and international organizations call on Mexican authorities to guarantee the right to freedom of assembly for the 25 November mobilizations
23.November.2020
<p>Foto: José Pazos/EFE</p>

Mexico and Central America – 23 November. In light of the intensification of police violence against demonstrations by women activists and relatives of victims in Mexico, the signatory organizations call on the authorities at all levels to guarantee the right to social protest and journalistic practice on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Through joint monitoring that we will carry out during the commemorative protest on November 25, we reaffirm our commitment to women's rights, the right to defend human rights and the right to free expression.

According to public information documented by human rights networks and organizations, so far this year, there have been restrictions on the right to peaceful social protest by security forces in at least 10 mobilizations led by women throughout the country. Restrictions have included kettling, threats and intimidation, attacks against the press, excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions, sexual violence, criminalization of activists and protesters, defamation, incitement to violence, and hate speech on social media networks against feminists and protesters, among other attacks.

Most of the mobilizations have been organized to demand and end to the pandemic of violence against women, especially given the serious context of impunity and the increase in the number of femicides at the national level, which threaten to surpass the historic rate in 2020.

The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-HCHR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) have issued a series of public statements condemning the excessive use of force in some of these demonstrations, highlighting the cases of Guanajuato, State of Mexico and Quintana Roo.

In this regard, the organizations note that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has determined Mexico's international responsibility for the excessive use of force against social protest, with the use of sexual torture against women as an element of social control and repression, and ordered reparation measures to prevent the repetition of these events.

For all these reasons, we urge the Mexican State to comply with its international obligations regarding the adoption of independent oversight mechanisms on the actions of security forces in the context of social protest, as a guarantee of non-repetition in the face of the multiple violations against freedom of assembly. 

We also call on the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection, the 32 state prosecutors' offices, and the security forces at the state and municipal levels, to guarantee that security forces and police will act in accordance with international standards during the demonstrations that will take place on November 25. We also call on them to prevent and investigate aggressions against women defenders on social media networks and calls for violence against women’s rights mobilizations.

We stand in solidarity and accompany the women, collectives, organizations, defenders and journalists who decide to exercise their right to free expression in the mobilization on 25 November, as well as with the demands that they promote. We make our monitoring and observation capacities available to them to ensure that their integrity and rights are respected.

Center for Justice and International Law

Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center

Espacio OSC for the protection of defenders and journalists

Front Line Defenders

Mesosamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative

National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico