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We condemn violations of the right to protest and attacks on human rights and water defenders protesting against Carroll Farms in the Libres-Oriental Basin

We condemn violations of the right to protest and attacks on human rights and water defenders protesting against Carroll Farms in the Libres-Oriental Basin


Mexico City, June 24, 2024 — The undersigned organizations express our rejection and reiterate our concern regarding the acts against the right to protest and the attacks on human rights defenders by the security forces of the state of Veracruz, Mexico, which occurred on June 20 in the community of Totalco, municipality of Perote. The events occurred during a protest by several communities in the Libres-Oriental Basin against the activities of the Granjas Caroll pork farm, a subsidiary of Smithfield, part of WH Group.

Local organizations reported that during the protest and peaceful encampment in the defense of water and against the pig farm, state security forces assaulted the protesters, who were defending their right to water and to a healthy environment, causing the death of the peasants Jorge and Alberto Cortina Vázquez. Attacks on dozens of other demonstrators were reported. According to local testimonies, plainclothes police chased demonstrators to their homes and assaulted them. The events took place after several protests by the Movimiento en Defensa del Agua de la Cuenca Libres-Oriental, and after two negotiations with the authorities to address the problem of the pork farm. 


It is essential to emphasize that Article 15 of the American Convention on Human Rights and General Comment No. 37 of the United Nations Human Rights Committee stress that the right to peaceful assembly, by definition, cannot be exercised through violence. This principle reflects the international commitment to protect and guarantee the safe and non-violent exercise of this human right. It is alarming and worrisome that recent aggressions against demonstrators have tragically culminated in the death of two peasants, which underscores the urgency of respecting and protecting the exercise of human rights in any context of protest.

Likewise, as mentioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), states have a responsibility to avoid discrimination in the exercise of their human rights, states also have a responsibility to avoid discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to peaceful protest, paying special attention to groups that have experienced discrimination or could face difficulties in participating in meetings: 

States must adopt positive measures to guarantee this enjoyment to women; children and adolescents; people of African descent; victims of discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation; migrants and non-nationals; Indigenous peoples; and groups claiming access to economic, social, and cultural rights. 

The socio-environmental conflict between the residents of the Libres-Oriental Basin and the pig factories of Granjas Caroll has been going on for several years, given the multiple environmental and social impacts of this industry, which have been denounced to the authorities. As documented by various organizations and academic studies, the pig farm pollutes water, air, and soil and is associated with various diseases, as well as animal abuse. These impacts violate multiple human and environmental rights including the right to water, food, land and territory, health, and a healthy environment. In addition, Mexico’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) has also investigated and documented the environmental contamination associated with this industry

Local advocates say the company has engaged in excessive water use and contaminated the water supply with pig waste. According to civil society, in the Libres-Oriental watershed, there are dozens of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with various warehouses with thousands of pigs, most of them owned by Granjas Carroll, as well as an industrial slaughterhouse. In addition, the organizations have denounced the use of technology (anti-hail cannons) to modify the hydrological water cycle and affect rainfall in the region, causing droughts. 

We remind the Mexican government of its international human rights obligations, such as those under the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Escazú Agreement, which obliges it to provide and guarantee protection for environmental defenders. In this sense, it is important that the Mexican government guarantee a safe and enabling environment for people who promote environmental protection, providing them with recognition and protection, including their right to life, personal integrity, freedom of opinion and expression, right to peaceful assembly and association, and right to freedom of movement, and take appropriate, effective and timely measures to prevent, investigate and punish attacks, threats or intimidation that environmental human rights defenders may suffer. 

Given the above, the undersigned organizations demand: 

  • To Cuitlahuac García Jiménez, governor of the State of Veracruz, to refrain from carrying out any act that inhibits the exercise of social protest. We also urge him to guarantee the protesters’ right to protest.  
  • To the Secretary of Citizen Security of Veracruz, to carry out an investigation in accordance with human rights standards to establish the administrative responsibilities of the elements of the police who used violence against the demonstrators to repress the protest.  
  • To the Human Rights Commission of the State of Veracruz, to initiate the corresponding complaints for the violations and damages caused to the demonstrators who were assaulted. 
  • To the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists to act in accordance with its attributions and apply the appropriate measures to protect the human rights defenders who were attacked during the protest.  
  • To the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to carry out an investigation into the environmental impacts of the company and to take the corresponding measures. 
  • To the Veracruz State Attorney General’s Office to conduct an exhaustive, diligent, professional, impartial, independent, and objective investigation into the excessive use of force and the extrajudicial executions at the hands of the police.
  • Given the announcement by the government of Veracruz on June 23 regarding the dissolution of the Civil Force, we demand that the measures go further and guarantee truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition of the events, as well as the punishment of those responsible.

Signed by:

  • Acción Colectiva Socioambiental, A.C. (Guanajuato)
  • Alianza Global por los Derechos de la Naturaleza (GARN), Hub Latinoamericano.
  • Amnistía Internacional
  • Amo la Ciencia
  • ARTICLE 19 – Oficina para México y Centroamérica
  • Asamblea Comunitaria del pueblo Indígena de Alpuyeca, Morelos.
  • Asociación Argentina de Abogados/as Ambientalistas
  • Asociación Sindical de Trabajadores Agrícolas y Campesinos ASTAC
  • Campaña Que Paguen los Contaminadores América Latína y el Caribe
  • CartoCrítica, A.C.
  • CAMBIUM ( Asociacion clima ambiente e investigación- Accion uniendo mundos)
  • CEDENMA (Coordinadora Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones para la Defensa de la Naturaleza y el Medio Ambiente) 
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos “Digna Ochoa” Morelos
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, Centro Prodh 
  • Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos, A.C. (CEE)
  • Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, A.C. (CEMDA)
  • Centro para la Diversidad Biológica/Center for Biological Diversity
  • Coalición Mundial por los Bosques/ Global Forest Coalition
  • Colectiva Sueña Dignidad
  • Colectivo Kanan Ts’ono’ot, Guardianes de los Cenotes
  • Colectivo VientoSur, Chile
  • Colectivos de Acción por la Justicia Ecosocial
  • Compassion in World Farming International
  • ControlaTuGobierno A.C.
  • Despacho Va Por Sus Derechos A.C (asociación por derechos de los animales no humanos, medio ambiente, grupos vulnerables, mujeres y niños, niñas y adolescentes en México).
  • Earthjustice
  • Educación, Cultura y Ecología, A.C.
  • El Consejo ciudadano x el Agua de Yucatán
  • Emmana Social
  • EQUIS Justicia para las Mujeres
  • Espacio Cultural Educativo Tikosó, Montaña de Guerrero
  • Espacio OSC para la Protección de Personas Defensoras y Periodistas. Las organizaciones que integran el Espacio OSC son: ARTICLE 19; Casa del Migrante Saltillo; Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan; Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero (CDHZL); Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA); Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social (Cencos); Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, (CMDPDH); Comunicación e Información de la Mujer A.C. (CIMAC); Instituto de Derecho Ambiental (IDEA), ​​Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas, Todos y Todes” (Red TDT); SMR: Scalabrinianas, Misión con Migrantes y Refugiados; Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (Serapaz). El Espacio OSC está acompañado por Brigadas Internacionales de Paz (PBI) – Proyecto México.
  • Freirina Conciente
  • Frente de los Trabajadores de Plataformas Digitales del Ecuador FRENAPP
  • Frente por la Libertad de Expresión y la Protesta Social (FLEPS)
  • Fundación Animare (Guanajuato)
  • Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación A.C.
  • Grupo Focal sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos en México
  • Hermandad de la Cuenca de la Independencia (Guanajuato)
  • International Accountability Project
  • Las Ancestrias del Futuro, organizaciones de Mujerez Diaguita Chile / Argentina
  • Mercy for Animals Latinoamérica AC
  • Mundo y Conciencia AC
  • Observatorio de Designaciones Públicas
  • Otros Mundos Chiapas/Amigos de la Tierra México
  • Pacto Ecosocial e Intercultural del Sur
  • People’s Planet Project
  • Phoenix Zones Initiative (Iniciativa de Zonas Phoenix)
  • Piloncillo Granulado Corazón Huasteco, endulzando la vida, A.C.
  • Plataforma Boliviana Frente al Cambio Climático (PBFCC)
  • Pueblo Indígena Nahua, San Pedro Tlalcuapan, Tlaxcala, México
  • Real Food Media, EEUU
  • Red Ciudadana x la sostenibilidad de Yucatán
  • Red Compasión Animal
  • Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas, Todos y Todes” (Red TDT)
  • Sinergia Animal
  • Slow Food Chile
  • Slow Food Comunidad: Academía en Gastronomía y Nutrición, Tijuana.
  • Tekuan Radio, La voz de los guardianes de los Cerros
  • Territorios Diversos para la Vida, A. C.. (TerraVida)
  • Tierra Nativa / Amigos de la Tierra Argentina
  • Tokalihtik Barrio de Santa Cruz Tequila Veracruz
  • Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo UCIZONI
  • Observatorio de Ecología Política de Venezuela
  • World Animal Protection
  • Mujeres, cuerpos y territorios-Venezuela 
  • Veganiza tu vida 
  • Generación Vegana 
  • Mazatecas por la Libertad de Eloxochitlán de Flores Magon Oaxaca.

1 Jul, 2024
Posted in Defending Rights, Unsustainable Livestock Production, Petitions and statements