Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress towards a Friendly Settlement in Case of Triqui Indigenous Human Rights Defender in Mexico

May 22, 2018

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the consultation process held to draft a protocol on measures to protect indigenous leaders and human rights defenders in Oaxaca, Mexico. The protocol that is set to be drafted also addresses the implementation of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR to protect persons and groups in Mexico. The consultation process is part of the negotiations towards a friendly settlement in petition 1014-06, Antonio Jacinto López Martínez, Mexico.

In the framework of the consultation process, the Mexican State and the Center for Human Rights and Counsel for Indigenous Peoples (Centro de Derechos Humanos y Asesoría a Pueblos Indígenas A.C., CEDHAPI A.C.) organized a forum in April 2018. This was one of the non-repetition measures agreed by the Mexican State and Juliana Vázquez Bautista, the widow of Antonio Jacinto López Martínez, and her representatives in the context of a friendly settlement agreement that the parties signed in November 2015. The Forum is intended to contribute to the development of a protocol to protect indigenous leaders and human rights defenders in Mexico, and needs to reflect Inter-American standards on the issue. Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Vice-President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Rapporteur for Mexico, took part in the Forum held on April 23, 2018.

The petition denounced the murder of Antonio Jacinto López Martínez, a politician and human rights defender who belonged to the Triqui indigenous people. On October 24, 2004, in accordance with the traditional system (sistema de usos y costumbres), he was appointed municipal president in the San Martín Itunyoso Municipality in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, for the period 2005-2007. According to the petition, he did not attend the specific event where he was scheduled to formally take the position because he had received death threats. Later, when he tried to take office, he and the people who were with him were allegedly shot at, in an attack that left four people dead. On July 25, 2005, Antonio Jacinto López Martínez was allegedly stopped and again received death threats. On July 29, 2005, given the danger for the beneficiary, the IACHR granted him a precautionary measure (MC 165-05) to protect his life and personal integrity and investigate those events. Unfortunately, the Commission was informed on October 17, 2011 that Antonio Jacinto López Martínez had been murdered on that day, at the age of 45, despite having been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR.

The Forum was a public act of reparation. Such acts are a starting point to rebuild victims’ ties with the State, based on respect, on those persons’ dignity and on the restoration of a certain degree of trust. Further, they help restore the victim’s public image and they have an educational value that contributes to preventing similar human rights violations in the future. The friendly settlement mechanism allows victims of human rights violations to actively take part in the planning and implementation of this important measure for reparation. In this kind of reparation, the parties agree on the site of the event, the involvement of the authorities and the circulation of the event in the media, among others.

“The Forum was a major tool for reparation. It was a significant public event to provide reparation to Antonio Jacinto López Martínez, and it was also an opportunity to launch a process to design and articulate a comprehensive policy to protect indigenous leaders and human rights defenders,” said Rapporteur Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño.

“Holding this Forum means complying with one of the commitments made to grant satisfaction to Antonio Jacinto López’s family, their representatives and Mexican society as a whole, as an additional guarantee that such serious violations will not happen again,” she added.

The IACHR hopes the State will keep up its willingness and drive to comply with this and other reparation measures agreed in the framework of this friendly settlement procedure.

“We welcome the high level of compliance by the Mexican State of the aspects included in the agreement signed by the parties,” said the IACHR Executive Secretary, Paulo Abrão.

For more information on the friendly settlement procedure, please visit our website.

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 and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


* This is a corrected version of the press release originally issued. The correction was made on May 25, 2018.

No. 114/18