Press Release

IACHR Condemns Killing of Human Rights Defender in Mexico

June 14, 2012

Washington, D.C., - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing in Mexico of human rights defender Fabiola Osorio Bernáldez, member of the civil organization "Guerreros Verdes" (“Green Warriors”).

According to the information received by the IACHR, on May 31, 2012, Fabiola Osorio Bernáldez was killed by gunshots at the door of her residence in Pie de Cuesta, Acapulco, State of Guerrero, in Mexico. The information available indicates that Fabiola Osorio Bernáldez was working for the preservation of the Lake of Coyuca and she oppossed the construction there of a touristic quay. Last year, the IACHR condemned the killing of another defender of the right to a healthy environment in the State of Guerrero; Javier Torres Cruz, a peasant defender of the forests of the Sierra de Petatlán, was killed on April 19, 2011.

The IACHR calls to mind that it is the State's obligation to investigate such acts of its own accord and to punish those responsible. The Commission urges the State of Mexico to investigate and legally clarify this crime, and to punish the perpetrators and masterminds. The IACHR also urges the State of Mexico to immediately and urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the right to life, integrity, and security of all defenders of the right to a healthy environment in the country.

In the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, the Commission considered the defenders of the right to a healthy environment as a group at special risk, considering the serious and multiple attacks they suffer in retaliation for their activities. The Commission reiterates that the acts of violence and other attacks against human rights defenders not only affect the guarantees that belong to all human beings; they also undermine the essential role human rights defenders play in society and contribute to the vulnerability of all those whose rights they champion. The Commission also recalls that the work of human rights defenders is critical for building a solid and lasting democratic society, and that defenders play a leading role in the process to fully implement the rule of law and to strengthen democracy.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 66/12