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ARTICLE 19 Mexico reiterates safety concerns as its director becomes the latest target

Inside Darío Ramírez's home after the break-in
Inside Darío Ramírez's home after the break-in

ARTICLE 19

The home of ARTICLE 19's Mexico and Central America director, Darío Ramírez, was broken into on Sunday 16 March 2014. Those responsible took computers, work documents, and other items of value. A report on the incident was filed with the Mexico City Federal District Attorney General's Office.

What happened to Ramírez's home is worrying in the context of the harassment that human rights defenders and journalists constantly face in Mexico. While ARTICLE 19 cannot confirm that the break-in was linked to the organisation's work, neither can it say for certain that there is no connection.

The break-in at Ramírez's home is the fifth security incident related to ARTICLE 19 Mexico personnel since April 2013, when Darío Ramírez and other staff received death threats. At the time of this alert being published none of these incidents had been investigated and none of the people responsible had been found. Impunity gives people permission to do what they want and this puts human rights defenders at greater risk.

Although these events must be investigated to determine the whereabouts of those responsible and to verify whether they are connected to the organisation's work of defending free expression, ARTICLE 19 also urges the federal and Mexico City authorities to guarantee that the organisation can do its work safely, and that all people who work at ARTICLE 19 and their families will be safe.

It is important to mention that the break-in took place only two days before the scheduled public presentation of the report “Dissenting in Silence: Violence against the press and the criminalisation of protest, Mexico 2013”. Because of this, ARTICLE 19 is worried that the robbery was intended to make them stop their work in defense of freedom of expression. Authorities have been notified that there are concerns that there could be further fallout from the 18 March report presentation.

In February 2013, Thomas Hughes, the international director for ARTICLE 19, visited Mexico to meet with representatives at the British, American, Norwegian and Swedish embassies, and with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to speak about the threats and security incidents against ARTICLE 19 personnel in Mexico over the preceding year.

The Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists has been informed of the break-in at Ramirez's home and protective measures were requested. In past incidents, these protective measures have not immediately been made available. Hopefully this time will be different.

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