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Testimony by Jorge Luis Hernández Castro

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Testimony by Jorge Luis Hernández Castro

In Mexico we are experiencing a systemic and systematic crisis in human rights. The facts and figures on grave human rights violations confirm this. At least 26,000 disappeared persons, a number which tragically increases month on month; close to 150,000 murders with impunity; an increase in torture; and an increase in forced displacement in different parts of the national territory. The criminalisation and killing of journalists and human rights defenders is a daily occurrence in the country. Community defenders who are defending their territory are threatened, imprisoned, killed or disappeared.

In response to this context, both in Mexico and in Chiapas, innumerable protest movements, social action movements, resistance groups, collectives, trade unions, organisations and communities have sprung up to show their discontent for the policies of the State. The criminalisation of social protest distinguishes itself not just as a mechanism of control employed by the State but also as a mechanism to punish expressions of citizenship through action, as well as any demands for human rights.

In this context the work of human rights defenders becomes uncomfortable and frustrating, as those in power use all the tools at their disposal to injure, kill, detain, delegitimise and criminalise the work of those of us who dedicate ourselves to defending hope.

Despite the great risk which comes with the defence of human rights in Mexico and despite the actions of the State to discredit our work, we human rights defenders believe that our work is politically important as well as being a lifelong, personal and communitarian commitment, and that defending hope, history, justice and truth are worth it.

The Frayba Centre works strategically to strengthen networks and partnerships at both a national and international level with: victims' movements, survivors, women, indigenous and campesino communities, student movements, trade unions, migrants and LGBTI collectives.

We believe that justice will not come from above, from the powerful. The day-to-day construction of hope and of justice is what inspires us to continue in this struggle.

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The work of human rights defenders becomes uncomfortable and frustrating, as those in power use all the tools at their disposal to injure, kill, detain, delegitimise and criminalise the work of those of us who dedicate ourselves to defending hope.