The Special Rapporteur visited Mexico in 2017 and observed that threats, harassment, and the criminalization of members of indigenous communities during consultation processes tend to undermine the “free” character of the same. For example, community members of the Yaqui tribe have suffered various attacks, threats, and criminalization for opposing the construction of an aqueduct and a gas pipeline and for demanding consultations and that their free, prior, and informed consent be sought for projects built in their territories. The indigenous leader Mario Luna was detained in 2014 for leading community protests on criminal charges of “illegal deprivation of liberty” and “theft.” Since being released, he has continued to be threatened and attacked, despite calls from the Mexican National Human Rights Commission to ensure his protection and precautionary measures in favor of the Yaqui community issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The serious situation of attacks and violence against indigenous communities was also observed in the Montañas de Guerrero, Sierra Tarahumara, and Chiapas.
At the regional level, the precautionary and provisional measures awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights are of significant importance as they underline the state’s responsibility to ensure the protection and safety of indigenous communities and individuals in imminent danger. The Special Rapporteur deeply regrets that, despite such measures having been awarded by the regional human rights system, national protection measures are often inadequate. This is illustrated by the murder of several indigenous leaders and by the ongoing attacks and threats, for example against the Choréachi and Yaqui communities in Mexico, all of whom had been granted those measures.