During the month of August we celebrated our 27th anniversary, and in the context of the pandemic, we continue with our intense work to defend and protect people’s health, their quality of life, as well as caring for the environment.

The defense of human and nature rights strengthens democracy and should not be criminalized

In response to the accusations made by Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador against both social organizations and indigenous rights defenders we signed a statement to demand a public apology for the direct attacks directed at the civil society organizations that have worked in defense of human rights. Specifically, we requested that the Attorney General’s Office strictly adhere to the rule of law and human rights in the investigations that may have been initiated against defenders, without being used as mechanisms of criminalization and intimidation.

We are convinced that dissent is legitimate and desirable in a democracy. Any Mexican who considers that an act of authority violates their human rights has the power to exercise legitimate legal defense, either individually or collectively. These rights are not only consecrated in the Federal Constitution but they also are international commitments accepted freely and sovereignly which must be fulfilled and respected by the current administration.

Mega projects have exploited and destroyed indigenous communities’ territories, endangering their autonomy, their ecosystems and their human rights. Several collectives and individuals dedicated to the defense of indigenous communities have been the target of threats and intimidations that in some cases have led to their imprisonment and even their executions. The “Mayan Train” (“Tren Maya”) is a mega project that poses great risks as well as social, environmental, economical and patrimonial consequences, as has been warned by academics, organizations and even by members of the Federal government.

Faced with the free exercise of the right to access to justice, the Federal government has initiated a campaign to delegitimize the work of civil organizations, through attacks on defense and indigenous organizations, and more recently, through a media campaign which aims to make international cooperation look illegal.

Attacking the work of human rights organizations not only implies a serious violation to the universal right to defend human rights, but also invisibilizes the indigenous communities who oppose a project that will irreparably damage their territory and ways of life. We would like to stress that the legal actions (amparos) filed against the Mayan Train project aid, within an institutional framework, in the opposition against a project that threatens the human rights to the territory, a healthy environment, to water, to free, prior and informed consent, to health, to their home, to their habitat and to life.

Celebrating 27 years of existence, CEMDA calls for a “new normality” that is sustainable with the environment

In August, we celebrated 27 years since our establishment as a civil society organization dedicated to the protection of people’s health, their quality of life, as well as defense of the environment and respect towards human rights by calling upon the “New normality” to be environmentally sustainable.

In the midst of the global pandemic brought by COVID-19, CEMDA has called upon every public and private sector of the country to rethink our development model and consumption patterns based on a predatory vision of the environment and to substitute it with one which prioritizes the wellbeing to which every human being aspires to; one in which respect is placed at the center of every project and that guarantees our very basic human right to a healthy environment.

CEMDA is granted a definitive suspension against the Agreement and Policy on Electricity Generation of Cenace and Sener

On August 14, CEMDA was granted the definitive suspension of the legal action (amparo), filed jointly with Greenpeace Mexico, against the Agreement of the National Center for Energy Control (Cenace) and the Reliability Policy of the Ministry of Energy (Sener), both in terms of generation of electrical energy.

Having been granted the suspension, it will be possible to keep pushing projects based on renewable energies that have been authorized, as long as they comply at all times with the current legal framework and respect the human rights of the people in the communities where they intend to settle.

Thanks to the suspensions granted, both the Agreement to guarantee the Efficiency, Quality, Reliability, Continuity and Security of the National Electric System (due to the recognition of the disease epidemic due to COVID-19, issued by Cenace on April 29), and the Policy of Reliability, Security, Continuity and Quality of the National Electric System, (issued by the Sener on May 15 of this year), are now without effect at least for the duration of the trial or until the suspension is revoked or modified.

Civil organizations ask AMLO to face energy shortages in Baja California Sur with renewable energy

In the context of the visit President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, made on August 7 to Los Cabos, CEMDA; the Center for Renewable Energy and Environmental Quality (CERCA), and the Citizen Observatory “Cómo Vamos La Paz” called on the Federal Government to promote an energy transition towards renewable energy sources and to comply with the commitment that it made on February 21 during the morning conference with South Californians to “finally resolve the supply of electricity without pollution and without the use of fuel oil”.

In La Paz, more than 60% of the energy consumed in the state is generated. However, demand has been exceeded, which in turn caused a series of blackouts last summer: registering up to 32 blackouts throughout the state, affecting 59% of users in La Paz and 46% in Los Cabos. To cover the supply of the service, the President announced last February the construction of one more unit in the internal combustion plant (CCI VI) and a combined cycle project that will run on natural gas, which by definition stops the state from moving towards the generation of energy with renewable sources.

“We ask the Government and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to desist from promoting projects that generate energy based on fossil fuels. Public investment in energy matters for Baja California Sur should be aimed at taking advantage of renewable energies such as solar and wind. The effort should not come only from private initiative”, commented Northwest regional director of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), Mario Sánchez.