By unanimous vote, the Court ruled unconstitutional the criminalization of abortion in the northern state of Coahuila, where violators faced up to three years of incarceration for undergoing a voluntary abortion.
The decision paves the way for the rollback of anti-abortion laws in all 31 states plus Mexico City and the immediate release of women currently incarcerated for having had an abortion.
Women’s and reproductive rights activists have long battled a powerful—but waning—anti-choice movement in the country, comprised of not only the Catholic Church but international anti-abortion organizations.
Global Protests: #BlackLivesMatter / Anti–Police Violence
Nearly four years ago, Outlas published a catalog of media coverage focused on global protests connected to the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement. Today, the murder of Black American George Floyd by the police has re-galvanized demonstrations across the world’s continents, promoting diverse forms of solidarity across movements focused on affirming Black lives, eliminating racism, and ending police violence.
Floyd’s death is one among many that have pushed people into the streets of cities from Honolulu to East Jerusalem, drawing together accounts of the criminalization of people of color and other minority groups around the world. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protesters around the world have gathered to interconnect their causes, demonstrating the resilience of a global anti-racism and anti–police brutality movement despite the lull in media coverage in recent years. This collection has gathered more than 150 articles, statements, and multimedia stories documenting the recent surge in protests and their interconnection.
A number of media outlets have mapped the development of demonstrations around the world and compiled media and accounts from protests, summarizing the connections between the diverse sites and expressions of solidarity journalists have uncovered.
The U.S. has experienced more than a week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. His death was the latest in a series of events that had drawn attention to ongoing violence and threats of violence faced by Black people in public space across the U.S., from racist vigilantism in Georgia to a dead-of-night police break-in and murder in New York. Protesters across all 50 states mobilized to contest police violence, prompting spectacular forms of police repression—including tear-gassing, beatings, tasing, and shootings—captured on video and circulated across social media platforms.
Canada has experienced its own widespread condemnation of police violence in the U.S., organizing massive demonstrations from Vancouver to Halifax in honor of the memory of George Floyd. Participants have also drawn attention to recent fatal incidents involving police—including the recent death of Afro-Indigenous woman Regis Korchinski-Paquet—and the disproportionate effects of police violence experienced by Black and Indigenous Canadians and other Canadians of color.
Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and allied Latin American communities have also expressed solidarity with Black Americans, highlighting both the ongoing forms of marginalization experienced by Afro-descendant people in Central American countries and the complex relationships to racism across the Caribbean. Brazil, in particular, has been grappling with an entrenched police brutality problem that overwhelmingly threatens Afro-Brazilians—particularly those living in poor communities. The recent killing of 14-year-old João Pedro has reignited protests, with demonstrators drawing explicit connections to anti-Black police violence in the U.S.
Massive protests across Europe have centered not only the injustice of George Floyd’s death, but also ongoing forms of racism across the continent. In France, George’s death scratched at the wound of the 2016 murder of Adama Traoré in a suburb of Paris. In the UK, protest participants were quick to shut down any attempt to distance the UK from U.S.-style racism, highlighting ongoing discrimination experienced by Black communities in the country. Whether in the commemoration of colonial leaders responsible for the death of millions of Africans or stubborn denials of institutional racism, contemporary manifestations of racism drew the ire of demonstrators of all backgrounds.
Solidarity with protesters in the U.S. found diverse expression across Africa and the Middle East, from a mural in the rubble of an obliterated Syrian building to an open letter signed by dozens of African writers demanding accountability and pressuring African governments to do more. African political leaders, for their part, took the rare step of condemning the situation in the U.S.. But activists across the region also worked to draw attention to local police brutality problems as well, including the killing of autistic Palestinian Iyad Halak by Israeli border security and high levels of violence against women (both by police and by others not held to account by police) in Nigeria.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a range of responses to unrest in the U.S. has emerged. In a tit-for-tat with the U.S. government, Chinese officials have used the situation to draw attention to human rights violations in the U.S. as the U.S. has condemned China for its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, police brutality has been a longstanding issue with respect to the treatment of indigenous communities. Thousands of protesters across Australia and New Zealand expressed solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement while also integrating the long history of anti-Indigenous violence into their calls for change. Similarly, the outbreak of protests in U.S. and the resurgence of global anti-racism consciousness provided an opportunity for activists and members of the Papuan diaspora to highlight the ongoing discrimination and violence experienced by indigenous Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian government.
Indigenous communities throughout Mexico protest presidential election, press for self-rule
Residents have banned political parties, destroyed protest signs, patrolled streets for campaign paraphernalia, and blocked ballot delivery throughout small towns in the western state of Michoacán as anti-government sentiment has grown.
Seven municipalities covering 16 towns and at least 50,000 voters have decided to opt out of the election, and Maya communities in Guerrero and Chiapas have begun mobilizing as well.
Although popular leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has advocated for Mexico’s indigenous communities in the past, historical and ongoing neglect by and corruption in the government has led many indigenous Mexicans to disengage and push for greater autonomy.
Despite a half-millennium of life in Mexico, Afro-Mexicans have seen their political visibility decrease dramatically as the ideology of mestizaje (racial mixing) has become central to Mexican national identity. As in many parts of the Americas, how blackness is defined in Mexico is distinctive, unique to the convergence of circumstances that shaped identity through culture, economics, geography, ideology, and law. Today, the contemporary political landscape, with its interest in multiculturalism and the rectification of historical disadvantage, has pressed black Mexicans to seek greater administrative recognition. But with relatively small numbers and lacking a non-Spanish native language, Afro-Mexicans have been officially indistinct from either the majority non-indigenous and mestizo population or minority indigenous groups, unwilling to acknowledge the historical circumstances that have made recognition of Afro-Mexicans as a minority a priority and denying the financial and political support that such recognition would bring.
However, in 2015, an interim census allowed for respondents’ self-identification as “black”—itself a disputed term among Afro-Mexicans—for the first time, giving new visibility and coherence to the more than 1 million black Mexicans in the country. Mexican blackness—as defined historically, culturally, psychologically, and geographically—has joined the global stage of Afro-consciousness in the call for recognition and reparation of injustices against the community of African and Afro-descendent peoples. The official reemergence has attracted the attention of media outlets covering the renewed consciousness and political agency of Mexico’s “invisible minority.”
Mexican congressional committee rejects proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples
President Enrique Peña Nieto’s office had asked for an amendment to the constitution to allow couples to marry irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.
The constitutional committee voted 19-8 (with one abstention) against allowing the proposal to proceed.
While same-sex marriage is permitted in several Mexican states and a judicial ruling declared marriage bans unconstitutional, the executive proposal was an attempt to secure marriage rights nationwide.
End of special immigration protections diminishes hopes of Haitians looking to cross into U.S. from Mexico
Thousands of Haitians have become trapped in Mexico as an ongoing migration crisis has been exacerbated by the recent destruction wrought by Hurricane Matthew in their home country.
The U.S. recently ended special protections for Haitian migrants in the country in place since the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000, though activists have begun pressuring the government to renew them in light of the most recent natural disaster.
Monitors estimate as many as 40,000—many coming from an economically distraught Brazil—may be en route throughout the Americas as they pay upwards of thousands of dollars to pass through the most legally treacherous parts.
UN: Ongoing gender-based violence in Central America threatening to create another refugee crisis
The UN has warned in a recent report that as femicide and sexual and domestic violence showing no signs of abating in parts of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the region (and the U.S.) needs to prepare another refugee surge.
Gang violence has exploited women in the region as governments have failed to address the region’s drug cartel problem, while escaping women become vulnerable to trafficking.
Advocates for women refugees have argued that the Mexico’s crackdown on migrants–with U.S. backing–has heightened insecurity for women escaping violence.
Mexico supreme court strikes down ban on same-sex adoption
The court ruled 9-1 that a 2013 law in the state of Campeche was unconstitutional following a filing by the state’s human rights commission.
Same-sex couples’ adoption rights have experienced less support than marriage equality in the country, with only 24% expressing favor versus 52% for marriage rights in a 2013 survey.
Adoption rights have been solidified in much of the country, with most of the opposition residing outside of the heartland.
“I see no problem for a child to be adopted in a society of co-existence, which has precisely this purpose. Are we going to prefer to have children in the street, which according to statistics exceed 100,000? We attend, of course, and perhaps with the same intensity or more, to the interests of the child.”
High levels of femicide keep women’s security low in Central Mexico
For every 100 women murdered in Mexico’s 31 states between 2008 and 2013, 14 of them took place in Mexico State (Edomex).
The deaths occur in the context of an ongoing drug war that has seen more than 100,000 people killed or gone missing.
Despite bodies turning up regularly in rivers and sewers, state authorities are reluctant to cooperate with requests for exact figures and at times will bury individuals found without allowing families to see the bodies.
“We are never alone. We try to go in groups wherever we go.”
Mexico drops burdensome requirements for children coming from abroad attempting to enroll in schools
The Education Department announced that migrant students will no longer have to provide government-certified, translated transcripts from their original schools in order to enroll officially.
Previously, families faced costs that climbed into the hundreds of dollars in order to obtain apostilles and government-approved translations.
According to one NGO, there are an estimated 307,000 foreign-born students studying in Mexican schools, with the population of Mexico-born returning migrant children potentially as large or larger.
“Our task is to guarantee equal access to educational services … for migrants, who are an extremely vulnerable sector of the population. … Our goal is to make sure that access, retention and promotion in the educational system is based only on children’s academic performance.”
Mexico surpasses U.S. in number of Central Americans deported
Mexico detained 92,889 Central Americans versus the U.S.’s 70,226 “other than Mexican” migrants between October 2014 and April 2015, a dramatic change from the previous year.
Mexico’s new Southern Border Program has boosted federal police presence at its southern border and expedited the deportation process, leaving migrants in detention only long enough to have their nationality verified.
Human rights monitors are concerned by detention and processing methods, effect on smuggling, and lack of transparency about the U.S.’s involvement.
“What we have heard continuously in the past year is that migrants are being so rapidly deported that even some that might have wanted to request some type of protection, or who would have been eligible for some type of humanitarian visa because they had been victims of crime in Mexico, haven’t had that opportunity.”