In an important interview, Mr. Jose Carlos Alvarez Ortega – President of the State Human Rights Commission (CEDH) shares with us the work of this organization in the protection and defense of the human rights of all people in Sinaloa, its main mechanisms for the management and defense before public institutions and how they are currently working with the fresh produce industry of Sinaloa.
We invite you to read the full interview below:
1. What is the State Human Rights Commission (CEDH) and what are its main services?
The State Human Rights Commission is a public agency of the state of Sinaloa with management and budgetary autonomy that has legal personality and assets, and its purpose is the defense, protection, observance, promotion, study and divulgation of human rights recognized in the Mexican Constitution, in the local constitution of Sinaloa and the international instruments incorporated into the Mexican legal system.
2. Could you share with us a little of the history of the institutions for the defense of human rights worldwide?
We could mention as a first international antecedent, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which is a document that proclaims the 30 basic rights of every human being and for which the countries make a commitment to work together and promote them, the most relevant thing is that for the first time in history they were gathered and systematized in a single document, we could point out that many of these rights are currently part of the constitutional laws of each nation and in particular of Mexico.
3. What has it been like to preside over this important institution?
It has been a very important task that I have assumed with great passion and enthusiasm; it is a very noble activity to protect, defend and guarantee the human rights of the people and above all from the perspective and the central axis which is human dignity; that the people, not only the inhabitants of the state of Sinaloa but also those who transit through the territory of the state, have their human rights guaranteed, respected and defended.
4. How important do you consider the existence of a Human Rights Commission in the states?
The mission assigned to the human rights commission is extremely important because it monitors that the state and municipal authorities of Sinaloa comply with their obligation to promote, respect, protect and guarantee the human rights of all persons.
5. How do you collaborate with government agencies to generate public policies for the benefit of society?
In principle, by making observations that we consider to be an abuse of human rights through the resolutions we issue, which are the recommendations, but also a very important and essential part is through the training we provide to public employees.
6. How does the work of the CEDH align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
Through the promotion of human rights, through different programs such as the Distinction of Companies Committed to Human Rights, its promotion and application in Sinaloa’s companies.
7. How is the CEDH currently working in coordination with the agricultural sector?
We work with various groups that we call “priority attention”; however, in this case of the promotion of human rights through various programs, we have the one related to agricultural day laborers where we talk to all the personnel in the agricultural fields, including the people who work in the administration and the agricultural day laborers and their families; we explain to them what their rights are and about the authorities that are obligated to enforce them, in the particular case that they are not fulfilled, how the state human rights commission could intervene.
8. What is the Human Rights Committed Company Program about and which are the areas that it evaluates?
It is a program that aims to recognize the efforts of companies and establish mechanisms for self-management and evaluation, our objectives among others to consolidate the commitment to policies aimed at respecting and promoting human rights in the scope of their activities, to strengthen the organizational development of companies, to promote due diligence processes in human rights for the identification, prevention, mitigation and redress in case of risks for their activities or directly related to their business operations, also support, encourage and seek peaceful resolution of conflicts arising from direct and indirect activities of the company.
It also contributes to the development of socio-emotional skills of its employees regarding their work activities to contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to promote and disseminate the sustainability represented by respect for human rights as a competitive business advantage, and to stimulate and promote practices that directly drive continuous improvement.
There are seven fundamental pillars of the label:
1. Human rights policy
2. Harmonious labor practices
3. Organizational strengthening
6. Social environment
7. Environmental protection
9. How does a company obtain the Committed Company Label and what benefits does it represent?
The interested company needs to visit the website, where it fills out a general data form and downloads a letter of commitment to be signed by the legal representative, as well as the privacy notice, then proceeds to answer the self-assessment questionnaire consisting of 77 items of which to move to the next phase requires a minimum of 40 points, once the necessary points are accredited an appointment is made with the company for a visit to their home and to verify the evidence with which it is intended to accredit the reagents.
10. How many agricultural companies in Sinaloa hold this Distinctive?
In 2021 there were two; in 2022, which we are still in the review process, we have received applications from six companies; we hope to have more agricultural companies with this distinction next year.
11. Anything else you would like to add?
Invite citizens to approach the State Human Rights Commission through the regional offices located in Los Mochis, Guasave, Guamuchil, Mazatlán, and of course in Culiacan. When they feel that their human rights have been infringed, they should not have any problem coming and letting us know through a written complaint or denunciation, or also by other means such as a phone call or email. The important thing is that whoever feels that their human rights have been infringed upon should feel confident to bring it to the attention of this guarantor and protector of their human rights in Sinaloa.