August 29, 2023, Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico
Individuals facing internal forced displacement from the Sierra Tarahumara, originally from the Coloradas de la Virgen community of the Municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, who are also recognized as human rights defenders and direct victims of crimes, have initiated an indirect amparo lawsuit against the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists. State authorities were also included in the lawsuit for the omission of signed agreements and for not complying with the Protection Plan approved by the Mechanism’s Governing Board on November 29 and 30, 2022.
The amparo seeks to ensure that federal, state, and municipal authorities fulfill their obligations to effectively implement protective measures. This is done with the aim to guarantee fundamental human rights, including the right to life and personal integrity, as well as rights related to health, safety and security, decent housing, and the right to defend one’s rights.
The promoters have been beneficiaries of the Mechanism since February 2014, when they were included as a result of the violence instigated against the community, which particularly targeted some traditional authorities and community representatives. Among them was the defender Julian Carrillo Martinez, who was murdered in 2018.
In the case of Julian Carrillo, his family had to relocate from the community to ensure their safety. Similarly, another community advocate and his family were forced to move for the same reason. Since then, they have been at a security shelter provided by the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.
In August 2022, new instances of forced displacements were documented. This time it was the governor of the community and his family who had to relocate because of the threats and risks they face due to their work protecting natural assets and their ancestral territory. As mentioned above, they have been beneficiaries of the Mechanism since 2014. However, their right to this protection was denied just last year when they sought to be included as victims of forced displacement before the Executive Committee for Victim Services (CEAVE). This denial took place because the community’s leader and his family did not file the necessary complaint, fearing reprisals from their aggressors.
In this case, there was a meeting with Master Erick Martin Salas, Director of the Protection Mechanism, and Master Janis Aguirre, former head of the CEAVE Office, where they were informed that the assistance measures were reiterated and were rejected despite being beneficiaries of the Mechanism. The reason being that their removal from the community was carried out by a police force of the State’s Secretary of Public Security
Since 2014, the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists has conducted five risk assessments for community members and for those who have decided to file an amparo petition. In all instances, it has been confirmed that these individuals face an extraordinary risk, making it impossible for them to return to their community.
Due to the ongoing and systematic violation of their human rights resulting from the State’s inaction, and with the aim of securing a life of dignity and preventing further victimization, they are pursuing an indirect amparo lawsuit.