Human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists in Mexico work in a continuously violent and insecure environment, with the country consistently ranking as one of the most dangerous states in the world for those individuals and organisations actively engaging in the defence of human rights and freedom of expression. HRDs and journalists operating in a high risk environment are frequently subject to intimidation, legal harassment and the violation of due process rights, preventive illegal or arbitrary detention, death threats, physical aggression, break-ins, stigmatisation, forced disappearances and killings. The perpetrators are frequently state authorities, state security forces, drug cartels and paramilitary groups many of whom have links to the Government and/or security services.
HRDs at risk in Mexico come from a broad range of different backgrounds, including lawyers, students and youth activists, church workers, LGBTI and HIV activists. Journalists denouncing corruption and impunity, environmental and land rights defenders, women’s rights defenders and defenders who work with local communities are particularly at risk. In addition, HRDs denouncing human rights violations committed by the armed forces and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples, migrants and campesino farmers also work under a constant climate of fear.