IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures to Members of the Nahua Indigenous Community of Ayotitlán, Mexico

March 12, 2024

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Washington, D.C.—On March 8, 2024, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution 11/2024, through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of J. Santos Rosales Contreras and twelve other members of the Nahua indigenous community of Ayotitlán, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights to life and integrity.

The request alleged that the beneficiaries are at risk due to their work defending indigenous ancestral territories against illegal mining activities, as a result of which they have been subjected to intimidation, death threats, violence, and disappearances by organized criminal groups, among other attacks. These events have been taking place since 2015.

The request noted that only seven people are protected by the protection mechanism and that this does not comply with the agreements. It also observed that the results of the re-evaluation of the protection mechanism are still pending. In addition, the Attorney General's Office has allegedly failed to respond to multiple requests to investigate the crimes that occurred, and the complaints filed with the National Human Rights Commission have been closed.

The State indicated that the government of Jalisco is willing to take part in the necessary working meetings to reach solutions that are satisfactory for the indigenous community of Ayotitlán and to establish a coordinated work plan between federal and state authorities to address the problem, especially in light of the allegations of the presence of organized crime.

Likewise, the State informed that some of the beneficiaries had been included in the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and that protection measures were in place, as were other measures such as police patrols, emergency contact numbers, satellite phone rental, and emergency buttons.

The IACHR analyzed the information presented by both parties and positively evaluated the various measures taken by the State to address the problem and provide security to the proposed beneficiaries and other members of the Nahua community of Ayotitlán. However, the IACHR also considered that these protection measures are not preventing events that threaten the community from continuing.

The IACHR also took into account the fact that one of the community's leaders, Higinio Trinidad de la Cruz, was disappeared in November 2023 and murdered after having been subjected to such events for a long time. Similarly, the beneficiaries continue to be subjected to death threats, threats of disappearance, surveillance of their homes, extortion calls, and other such threats. The IACHR also understands that these events are related to the fact that some of the beneficiaries witnessed the murders of Rogelio Rosales and Higinio Trinidad de la Cruz, as they continue to exercise their leadership roles in the community. The events mentioned above are now also affecting their family members.

The IACHR considers that, prima facie, the present case meets the requirements of gravity, urgency, and irreparability set forth in article 25 of its Rules of Procedure. Consequently, the IACHR requests Mexico to (a) adopt the necessary, culturally appropriate measures to guarantee the life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries in question; (b) reach an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives on the measures to be implemented; and (c) report on the measures taken to investigate the alleged facts that gave rise to the adoption of this decision, to prevent their recurrence.

The granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the Inter-American System of Human Rights to allege violations of the rights protected by the applicable instruments.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 052/24

10:35 AM