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24 Nov 2021

Mexico: Government declares mega-projects as "national security" issues to overcome legal, environmental and indigenous demands, say experts

ONEA México

On 22 November, Mexican President López Obrador published a decree in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) classifying government megaprojects as works of public interest and national security. Many of these projects, meanwhile, such as a new airport in Mexico City, the Maya Train and a refinery in the state of Tabascos, are the subject of lawsuits, mainly from communities potentially affected by them.

Critics of the decree claim that it is a governmental manoeuvre to shield the works from justice, guaranteeing their continuity and putting an end to interruptions that are currently impeding them.

Several organisations expressed their dissatisfaction with the measure. The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) rejected it, stating that "the agreement is not properly grounded or motivated, in addition to the fact that it exceeds the law in the definition of national security, violates various laws and invades the powers of the Legislative Branch". The Mexican Institute of Finance Executives (IMEF) described the action as "worrying". José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, said the Mexican president "believes he is above the law". CEMDA said the measure "puts at risk the fulfilment of human rights and legal principles recognised in the Political Constitution and international, environmental and human rights treaties".

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