Human rights defender
David is a human rights defender from Mexico and works at the human rights organisation Fray Juan since 2014. Fray Juan is a small human rights organisation that focuses on the construction of a more just society. Specific attention is paid to people who have been victimized, exploited and marginalised.
In his work, David concentrates on accompanying and advising family members of missing persons and on monitoring the serious human rights violations that take place in his state in Mexico. He also assists with the monitoring of gender-based violence cases and cases of violence against the LGBTI+ community. Moreover, David develops communication campaigns with a human rights and gender focus and develops projects in collaboration with other human rights organisations.
Human rights violations in Mexico
The human rights situation in Mexico remains severe. Gross human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances remain rampant and impunity for these crimes is the norm. In the war on drugs, the Mexican government has relied heavily on the military, which itself is often complicit in severe human rights violations and enforced disappearances. Mexico is currently even seen as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defenders, especially for those who – like David – work on enforced disappearances.
Threats and challenges
The state where David lives is an important route for money, persons and weapons due to its close proximity to the border. David therefore works in a context full of violence and corruption, where the authorities are promoting impunity and protecting criminal, political and commercial interests instead of citizens. When David and his organisation disclose these wrongdoings, they are intimidated and vilified. David himself has also been threatened, intimidated and attacked by members of organised crime and the security forces because of his human rights work.