Mexico: navy chief compares human rights defenders to criminals
|Publication Date||2 August 2011|
|Cite as||Article 19, Mexico: navy chief compares human rights defenders to criminals, 2 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e38ec7a7.html [accessed 20 September 2014]|
ARTICLE 19 is appalled that during a navy graduation ceremony attended by president Felipe Calderón, admiral Mariano Francisco Saynez claimed that human rights defenders were being used as mouthpieces for criminal groups.
Civil society organisations, currently working with government to establish a mechanism to protect human rights defenders in one of the world's most violent countries, have urged the government to rebut the claim and honour their dangerous work.
Admiral Saynez, secretary of the navy, told graduating cadets before the president:
"Criminal groups trying to smear the reputation and good name of state institutions use citizens' groups to deceive, using the banner of human rights to attempt to damage the image of state institutions, with the evil purpose of obstructing them so that [criminal groups] have the field open to their wickedness."
The speech was made at Heroic Naval School, in Veracruz, a state which has witnessed the killing of three media workers in the past month.