Mexico: Three break-ins in less than 15 days at the home of environmental lawyer Juan Carlos Flores Solís
3 May 2022
Juan Carlos Flores Solís is a lawyer for the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT), an organisation that defends the human rights, land, territory, environment and self-determination of indigenous peoples. His work with this organisation has focused in recent years on providing legal advice to different indigenous Nahua communities fighting against the extraction and contamination of water, both in the Cuautla River, in the municipality of Ayala, Morelos, and in Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla.
Founder of the FPDTA-MPT since 2008, the lawyer was persecuted and unjustly imprisoned on 7 April 2014 for his work as a legal advisor to the population affected by the Integral Morelos Project, which affects the states of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala with the installation of a 160km gas pipeline in the foothills of the Popocépetl volcano, a thermoelectric plant in the community of Huexca, Morelos, and an aqueduct, affecting around 80 communities in the 3 states.
Following the 2019 assassination of environmental activist Samir Flores, his level of risk has increased as he is identified as the next most senior person in the organisation.
Over the last month, Juan Carlos has received several attacks on his home through the following break-ins:
- 5 April 2022: he found his home broken into in the village of Santa María Zacatepec, municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla. The gate and padlock on the front door of the house were broken, his room was completely searched, his documents were inspected and thrown on the floor, and several valuables were taken. Juan Carlos states that the violent break-in at his home, the removal of personal objects and the implicit messages left by the perpetrator(s), such as a knife in his bed and the manipulation of a photo of him and his family, constitute a direct threat against his life and that of his family.
- 10 April 2022: despite having alerted the Mexican authorities about the violent events that took place on 5 April, Juan Carlos returns home to find that his house has been burgled again and claims that the person(s) who entered broke a window and broke in through it. He claims that his belongings have again been removed and the knife that had been left on his bed for proofs has disappeared.
- 14 April 2022: During the latest break-in on 14 April 2022, the unknown persons took papers from a bookcase in one room, a backpack containing several belongings and political event badges, and left the house in a mess.
Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Miryam Vargas Teutle report that the police did not respond in time to the request of The Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, that suggested that a patrol should guard the house after the first burglary on 5 April 2022.
The OIAD expresses its concern and condemns these harassment operations against the lawyer Juan Carlos Flores.
The OIAD draws attention to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and in particular Principles 16 and 17 which state the following:
“Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics” (Principle 16)
“Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.” (Principle 17)
The OIAD has called on the Mexican authorities and to the Protection Mechanism for human rights defenders and journalists to adopt measures to ensure the full protection of lawyer Flores and to publicly recognise his work defending the rights of victims of serious human rights violations.