10th December 2010 Chevening, UK

Human Rights Day 2010 – a view from Mexico

A blog from Angelina Montserrat Vidal Leon,  L.L.M, University of Birmingham 2010-2011.

As in many other countries, the role played by human rights defenders in Mexico has proved to be of fundamental importance for the implementation of human rights and consequently, the strengthening of democracy in the national context. Nevertheless, due to the complex reality faced by our country, together with the current widespread phenomenon of violence and the questionable response of the Mexican government to fight organised crime, the defence of human rights has become, in some cases, merely an important political instrument against the government in power.

It is undeniable that States serve as the primary guarantors of human rights. However, the increasing participation of non-state actors in human rights issues leads us to assert that their full realisation is not anymore, an exclusive task of the State. On the contrary, more than ever, active and responsible actions from other entities are required, such as non-governmental organisations, academics, international agencies and the private sector. If it is attempted to bring the protection of human rights to reality, it is imperative to undertake joint actions with the Government.

A challenge to be faced by human rights defenders in Mexico seems to be two-fold. On the one hand, it is for non-state actors to undertake an active, coordinated and responsible role as human rights defenders. On the other hand, it is for the State, to assume a strong and conscious commitment in the promotion and protection of human rights incorporating the views and expertise of other actors, beyond the political discourse.