Speaking from Glasgow during the COP26 climate talks, Senator Raúl Paz Alonzo, asked the Mexican government to recognise ecocide as the fifth Crime against World Peace and Security.
A few weeks ago, Senator Paz called on the Mexican Congress to recognise ecocide as a serious crime in the federal penal code.
Now, from Glasgow and in the context of COP 26, the senator is urging the Federal Government of Mexico to be the first Latin American country to expressly support the inclusion of ecocide in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, an initiative already supported by Belgium, France, and island states such as Vanuatu and the Maldives, as well as the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Pope Francis, and the European Parliament.
From Glasgow, Senator Paz said, “I am meeting with the Stop Ecocide organisation in Glasgow to announce two things: that we are presenting in Mexico the proposal to include ecocide as a serious crime in the Federal Criminal Code and that we are calling on the Mexican State to support the international initiative to make ecocide an international crime, as Pope Francis has been pushing for. We are at a crucial moment in the history of humanity and we need measures like this to face the current climate emergency.”
If Mexico passes this law, it would be the first Latin American country to recognise ecocide, which would prevent and, if necessary, punish major environmental catastrophes that until now have been committed with impunity or only incurred an insignificant fine compared to the damage caused.
The appeal has been referred by the Senate to the Foreign Affairs Committee and the President of the Republic is expected to issue a response.
Senator Paz has also pointed out, “this has been an effort of several months and here in Glasgow, at COP26, we show that we are here to work on the changes that Mexico and the world need”.
Paz Alonzo has decided to join the Stop Ecocide initiative after witnessing, as president of the Water Resources Commission, that the country has witnessed one of the worst droughts in 20 years, and after seeing how in the same period the legal frameworks have not been updated to deal with crimes against the environment.
Stop Ecocide International (SEI) was, however, co-founded in 2017 by pioneering barrister Polly Higgins (1968-2019) and current Executive Director, Jojo Mehta.
SEI is the driving force behind, and central communications hub for, the growing global movement to make ecocide an international crime. Its core work is activating and developing global cross-sector support for this.
Positioned at the meeting point of legal developments, political traction and public narrative, we are uniquely placed to support and amplify the global conversation.
Its core international team is located in many parts of the world and managed from the UK by Stop Ecocide International Ltd.
Its charitable entity the Stop Ecocide Foundation was created in November 2019 in the Netherlands to be the fundraising vehicle for the campaign, and was the commissioning body for the independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide.
Before now, the senator participated in an independent event during COP26, organised by Stop Ecocide International, which dealt with how to protect Mother Earth, from the Sacred Guardianship of indigenous peoples to Ecocide Law.
Coordinator of Stop Ecocide Americas, Maite Mompó, said “it is vital that Latin American states join the global movement to make ecocide an international crime and it is important that they also consider introducing this new crime into their own legislation.
‘’In the face of the climate and ecological crisis we are experiencing, we need to put an end to this massive destruction of nature and to do so we urgently need to introduce the crime of ecocide into the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Stop Ecocide welcomes the Senator’s initiative and we have also asked that it be supported by all political groups in a non-partisan way, because protecting the environment and the future of new generations is a task to which we must all commit ourselves”.
In the meantime, speaking at an independent panel event on Ecocide Law and Climate Justice, hosted by Stop Ecocide International during COP26 in Glasgow (along with co-hosts Global Witness, Client Earth and Climate Counsel), Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, David Lammy MP publicly announced the commitment of the Labour Party to support discussions around an international crime of ecocide.
“I think that we should be hopeful, and this is why I am very pleased that I, as Shadow Justice Secretary, have committed the Labour Party to assisting with this cause”, he said.