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Mexico: Freedom House Denounces Smear Campaign Against Activists
In response to the ongoing campaign being carried out against human rights defenders in Mexico, including Freedom House Country Director Mariclaire Acosta, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The virulent criticism of Mariclaire Acosta and other leading human rights advocates is part of a ludicrous, desperate effort to undermine their work,” said Mark P. Lagon, president. “Rather than serving to weaken the human rights movement, the attacks made through the media show the strength and influence of activists shining light on systematic abuses and bringing greater accountability. President Peña Nieto should publicly denounce these attacks and explicitly recognize the essential role of human rights defenders in contributing to a more just and democratic Mexico.”
In recent months, a series of news articles and reports have been published alleging that various human rights defenders, including Mariclaire Acosta and Executive Secretary of the IACHR Emilio Alvarez Icaza, are members of a “mafia group” working with organized crime or benefitting financially from the decisions of the courts or international panels. The criticism raises concern about the activists’ personal safety.
Mexico is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.