Jesuits defend human rights centre after astonishing attack by Mexican President

December 15, 2023

The Miguel Agustin Pro Human Rights Centre – Centre Prodh – has issued a statement defending itself after an astonishing verbal attack by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on 14th December.

Centre Prodh - which is supported and funded by the Society of Jesus – has been outspoken in defending the rights to justice of the families of the ‘Disappeared’ in Mexico, who number more than 100,000. Those individuals have become victims of drug cartel-related violence, with elements of the Mexican state appearing to collude with the gangs.

Among the incidents that Centre Prodh has been supporting families with, is the disappearance in 2014 of 43 students in the state of Guerrero. The perpetrators of this crime have never been brought to justice.

Yesterday, on December 14th, the Mexican president spent twenty minutes in a press conference disparaging the work of Centre Prodh, stating that the centre had “gone to waste” and was “no longer what it used to be”. He stated, without evidence, that Centre Prodh’s work is influenced by political actors from opposition parties.

In relation to the case of the disappeared students, the President stated that at the same time that Centre Prodh was demanding justice for the students, the centre also “carried out the defence of the tortured” so that they could be freed. This is a reference to the torture of some individuals during their questioning over the crime, which Centre Prodh has condemned.

Centre Prodh regrets the sweeping and unfair disqualifications of its work, which represents more than 35 years in the defence of human rights in Mexico. Without a doubt, this presidential criticism is due to the fact that it refuses to keep silent about the persistence of impunity, violence and cover-up in the Army.

Centre Prodh would like to make clear that, contrary to what the President also alleged, it has not filed any legal appeal against the designation of Head of the CNB (the National Search Commission). However, it has pointed out, and will continue to do so, that the procedure by which the appointment was made was not appropriate.

It also clarifies that its work is nonpartisan and is guided by international human rights standards. It has full support for this work from the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus.

Regarding the specific accusations made relating to the case of the disappeared students, Centre Prodh asserts that what was said at the press conference is false. Its work, together with other respected civil society organizations, has been to defend the interests and rights of families, always centering the victims. This has led Centre Prodh to denounce the existence of torture in the initial investigation that was used to construct the “official narrative” which, paradoxically, is what the President of the Republic supported today with his statements.

The staff of Centre Prodh regret these falsehoods and disqualifications, which are especially serious coming from the Head of the Executive. It will continue its work, denouncing human rights violations, accompanying victims, and formulating proposals. Until dignity becomes custom.

Photo by Jorge Aguilar on Unsplash

Novenas to mark the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola

July 31, 2021

Jesuit parishes across the UK will be sharing their contributions in the run-up to the feast day.

The latest issue of 'The Way' is out now!

April 17, 2023

The April 2023 issue, titled 'Labours of Love', includes articles by leading theologians

What will the decisions you make today look like from your deathbed?

January 10, 2022

The advice given to us by St Ignatius of Loyola about how to make good decisions rings true today.

Addressing our Lifestyles for a Sustainable World

March 18, 2024

In 2023, we completed a carbon audit covering all our assets.