Press Release | 07 May 2024

Launch of grievance mechanism of the German automotive industry in Mexico

Civil society from Mexico and Germany welcomes the start of the cross-company grievance mechanism / To ensure its effectiveness, the participating CSOs call for the long-term and increased involvement of relevant companies and political institutions and the securing of resources for civil society engagement around it

Mexico City/Berlin, 07.05.2024: On the occasion of the launch of the “Mecanismo de Reclamación de Derechos Humanos” (MRDH) in Mexico City, in English known as “cross-company grievance mechanism”, civil society organizations involved draw an overall positive conclusion. After 4.5 years of thorough dialogue between companies, unions, governments, national human rights institutions, and civil society, first in Germany and then with Mexican actors, the mechanism is now open to complaints. The design until now is very promising: The MRDH is unique in its scope, covers the whole supply chain of German automotive companies in Mexico until final assembly, and addresses all different kinds of potentially affected stakeholders. Most importantly, civil society in Mexico was involved in developing the mechanism. Independent experts will examine complaints filed and a crucial role for rightsholders in its implementation is foreseen. 

“We are pleased that the MRDH is finally starting because it is ambitious and can contribute to improving the human rights situation among German car supply chains in Mexico.  Three companies, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and ZF Friedrichshafen, are taking part in the implementation and have committed to uphold the decisions reached by its independent experts, including contributing to remediation. During its design, it was unfortunate to see the exit of large German companies. To be effective industry-wide, more companies need to engage in a serious and trustful manner, by disclosing key information on their supply chains to the mechanism and constructively participating in solving complaints and providing remedies,” says Diana Figueroa, Fundación Avina.

Mexico is an important partner country for the German automotive industry. Automobile manufacturers benefit from a supplier industry that has grown over decades. In Mexico, all industrial sectors, from the extraction of raw materials to the processing and completion of all sorts of vehicles, are located close to one another. 

“The German automotive industry is co-responsible for various cases of human rights violations in its supply chains in Mexico,” explains Anton Pieper, WEED. “The mechanism can be a game changer if implemented well. It has the opportunity to provide redress to affected people. Therefore, it is fundamental that it is made known widely, especially in Mexico, but also in Germany. Only then can rightsholders be aware that this is an avenue for redress that aims to reduce the burden of proof on them and provides solutions according to their needs.”

“It is essential that the mechanism puts the interests of rightsholders in Mexico at its center. The involvement of civil society is crucial for this: both in the short term to build trust with those affected and to support them in submitting complaints, and in the long term for the monitoring and strategic development of the mechanism. Sufficient resources are therefore needed to ensure civil society support for the mechanism and thus to reach the most affected communities and groups even better” says Lara Louisa Siever, INKOTA-netzwerk e.V.

The MRDH is a pilot with limited-term until the end of 2025. “A lasting contribution to improvements in the automotive supply chains on the ground should be integrated in more than a year and a half. To be fully effective for workers, communities or groups affected, the mechanism should integrate the various lessons learned from its pilot phase and make sure it becomes a dynamic mechanism to prevent and remediate the actual and potential risks identified. For this, both the industry and the governments must really commit to the mechanism in the long term and ensure public financing beyond 2025. This is important to ensure the governance logic and the initial objectives of the mechanism,” comments Eduardo Villarreal from Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (ProDESC).


The cross-company grievance mechanism for the German automotive industry in Mexico (MRDH) is one of several products of the automobile industry dialogue that has been running since 2020. The MRDH is intended to enable those affected in the supply chains of German automobile manufacturers to report actual and potential cases of human rights violations in Mexico and to receive support in resolving as well as access to remedies. The actors from industry, trade unions, and civil society jointly decided on the concept of the grievance mechanism in Mexico in June 2022. The civil society organizations ProDESC, Fundación Avina and BHRRC, Germanwatch, INKOTA, and WEED contributed to its development.

Effective grievance mechanisms have become more important, not least as a result of the adoption of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and in the course of negotiations on the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. Effective grievance mechanisms must be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights-compatible and a source of continuous learning in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This is essential to prevent human rights violations and provide effective remedy and redress for those affected.