• .President Peña Nieto confirmed the government’s unwavering commitment to the respect and protection of human rights.
  • In this administration, we do not avert our gaze from problems. On the contrary, we are the first to recognize them and act to solve them with an inclusive approach, appealing for joint work, he said.
  • The government helps indigenous peoples improve their income and quality of life without losing their cultural identity or having to jeopardize the cultural heritage of the nation, he said.
  • At the event, he also awarded Sharon Zaga, President of the Association and Museum of Memory and Tolerance Honorable Mention for her permanent work in the teaching and dissemination of a culture in favor of tolerance, non-discrimination and respect for human rights.

President Enrique Peña Nieto today presented the National Human Rights Award to Rodolfo Stavenhagen posthumously for, “His invaluable contributions to the defense and protection of the rights of the country’s indigenous peoples and communities”.

The award was received by his widow Elia del Carmen Gutiérrez de Stavenhagen.

The president also awarded Sharon Zaga, President of the Association and Museum of Memory and Tolerance Museum Honorable Mention for her permanent work in the teaching and dissemination of a culture in favor of tolerance, non-discrimination and respect for human rights.

At the event, held in the Adolfo López Mateos Hall of the official residence of Los Pinos, President Peña Nieto confirmed, “The government’s unswerving commitment to the respect and protection of human rights”.

“We will continue combining efforts in favor of non-discrimination, inclusion, gender equality, legality and tolerance,” he said.

The president said that, “In the future, we will prioritize the fight against the disappearance of people, the consolidation of the Mechanism for the Protection of People who Defend Human Rights and Journalists, and the reinforcement of efforts to eradicate violence against women”.

To achieve this, he added, “We will strengthen the coordination between the branches and levels of government, because we need a strong response at the local level”. Likewise, he said, “We will continue to work closely with civil society within a framework of transparency and accountability”.

The president declared that, “In this administration, we do not avert our gaze from problems. On the contrary, we are the first to recognize them and to act to solve them with an inclusive approach, appealing for joint work. This is the case of the inequality, injustice and discrimination in which various social groups still live and the human rights violations that unfortunately continue to occur”.

“They are challenges we must face with a sense of urgency and a spirit of unity,” he said.

ALTHOUGH THERE HAS BEEN PROGRESS IN THE ACTIONS FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, WE ARE STILL A LONG WAY FROM THE DEVELOPMENT VISION FOR WHICH DR. RODOLFO STAVENHAGEN FOUGHT.

President Peña Nieto said that, “In Mexico, Dr. Stavenhagen’s contributions have inspired us to build a state policy with the participation of indigenous peoples”.

“So that the over 15 million indigenous people of our country can fully exercise their rights, we have various programs in place designed to improve their quality of life and create greater opportunities. This policy includes actions to promote their education and health, improve their basic infrastructure, and eradicate poverty in the 624 indigenous municipalities throughout the country,” he said.

He explained that, “We are also working to ensure their right to identity, with the delivery of birth certificates in their language; to facilitate access to justice, with advice from lawyers and bilingual interpreters, and to prevent violence against women. We are also promoting various programs to increase the production and marketing of their products and crafts with a focus on sustainability”.

In short, he said, “The government helps indigenous peoples improve their income and quality of life, without losing their cultural identity or having to jeopardize the cultural heritage of the nation”.

The president declared that, “Although there has been progress in the actions for indigenous peoples, we are still a long way from the development vision for which Dr. Rodolfo Stavangen fought. We must redouble our efforts to honor his teachings and preserve his legacy”.

He said the promotion, protection and defense of fundamental rights is a cause that brings us together and concerns us all, “Hence the commitment and joint efforts of authorities, activists and advocates of universal values to make them a reality throughout our country”.

This alliance, he added, “Is the soul of the prize I present today, the highest award by Mexican society to those who have made the effective promotion and defense of human rights their vocation and mission”.

THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN THE INSTITUTIONS AND PROCESSES THAT WILL MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO ELIMINATE CORRUPTION AND IMPUNITY IN MEXICO: CNDH

President of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) Luis Raúl González Pérez said that we are in a situation where there is an opportunity to build the institutions and processes that will reduce corruption and impunity in Mexico, and enable us to improve the prosecution of crimes.

To do this, he said, we must address the critical points that violate our system of the administration and enforcement of justice, which influence society’s perception society of the authorities and institutions.

 “Let us strengthen the will that has been expressed and the actions that have been undertaken to tackle corruption and impunity, by encouraging a system that provides a real, effective response to the proposals and needs of society, and legitimized and supported by it,” he said.

He said that it is only with the certainty that the law is applied impartially and not subject to any negotiations and with the confidence that the investigations carried out are objective, comprehensive, and respect the rights inherent in people that, “Mexico will be able to restore the social harmony, peace and normalcy in our daily co-existence that will create an ideal environment for the exercise and enjoyment of human rights without exclusion, discrimination or intolerance”.

The head of the CNDH declared that the posthumous presentation of the National Human Rights Award to Rodolfo Stavenhagen is a necessary tribute to the humanist and social activist who devoted his life and work to the service of human dignity and the most vulnerable groups that are excluded from society.

“Let this tribute be an expression of the appreciation and gratitude of the Mexican State to the sociologist, anthropologist, researcher, advocate and promoter of human rights, builder of institutions, who shaped thought and taught people,” he said

REMEMBERING RODOLFO MEANS REMEMBERING HIS COMMITMENT TO SOCIETY AND THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO: ELIA GUTIÉRREZ DEL CARMEN ORTIZ, DR. STAVENHAGEN'S WIDOW

Widow of the Human Rights Prize winner Elia del Carmen Gutiérrez Ortiz said that the human rights approach identifies indigenous peoples as rights holders and establishes their achievement as the main objective of development, with respect for their language, culture, territory and natural resources.

She expressed her gratitude for the award to her partner of 34 years, of whom she was the “Witness and companion in his unwavering commitment to society, the peoples of Mexico and the world”.

“Recalling Rodolfo means recalling his commitment to society and the peoples of Mexico. Reviewing his recommendations and implementing his thinking, which is still valid, is the best way of honoring his memory. Let us honor his memory, by addressing the challenge of implementing a human rights policy that will contribute to protecting the various sectors of the population and promoting their development and welfare,” she said.