Complaint mechanism of the German automotive industry begins operation in Mexico.

Mexiko-City/Berlin, 07. May 2024: On the occasion of the launch of the "Human Rights Complaint Mechanism" (MRDH) in Mexico City, known in German as the "Cross-Company Complaint Mechanism", the involved civil society organizations have drawn a generally positive conclusion. After 4.5 years of intensive dialogue between companies, trade unions, governments, national human rights institutions, and civil society, initially in Germany and then in Mexico, the mechanism is now accessible for complaints from affected individuals. On paper, it is very promising: the MRDH is unique in its scope, covering the entire supply chain of German automotive companies in Mexico up to the final assembly, and it addresses all those potentially affected by human rights violations. It is particularly important that Mexican civil society was involved in the development of the mechanism, that independent experts will review the submitted complaints, and that rights holders will play a crucial role in the implementation.

"We are pleased that the MRDH is finally operational, as it is ambitious and can contribute to improving the human rights situation in the German automotive supply chains in Mexico. With BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and ZF Friedrichshafen, three companies are involved in the implementation and have committed to implementing the decisions made by the independent experts and contributing to remedial measures. It is regrettable that large German companies withdrew during the conception phase of the MRDH. To be effective industry-wide, more companies must seriously and trustfully engage by sharing crucial information about their supply chains with the mechanism and constructively participating in the resolution of complaints and enabling remedy," says Diana Figueroa, Fundación Avina.

Mexico is an important partner country for the German automotive industry. Automakers benefit from a supply industry that has grown over decades, with all sectors of the industry located in close proximity to each other in Mexico, from the extraction of raw materials, through processing, to the final assembly of the cars.

"The German automotive industry is co-responsible for various cases of human rights violations in its supply chain in Mexico," explains Anton Pieper, WEED. "The mechanism can be a game-changer. If well implemented, it can provide redress and remedy to affected populations. For this, it must be made widely known both in Mexico and in Germany. Only then can potentially affected individuals be aware of this possibility for redress, which aims to reduce the burden of proof for them and find solutions according to their needs."

"It is fundamental that the mechanism focuses on the concerns of rights holders in Mexico. For this, the involvement of civil society is crucial: both in the short term for building trust on the part of those affected and supporting them in filing complaints, and in the long term for monitoring and strategic development of the mechanism. Therefore, sufficient resources are needed to ensure civil society support of the mechanism and thus better reach the most affected communities and groups," says Lara Louisa Siever, INKOTA-netzwerk e.V.

The MRDH is a pilot project with a currently limited duration until the end of 2025. "In a year and a half, no matter how ambitiously designed, a mechanism will not contribute sustainably to improvements in the automotive supply chains in Mexico. To fully unleash its impact for workers, communities, and those affected, the mechanism should utilize the insights from the pilot phase. This could make it a permanent and dynamic mechanism that can address and mitigate actual and potential risks. For this, both industry and governments must engage long-term in the mechanism. Additionally, public funding must be secured beyond 2025. This is important to maintain the multi-stakeholder character and achieve the goals of the mechanism in the long term," says Eduardo Villarreal, Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Project (ProDESC).


The cross-company complaint mechanism of the German automotive industry in Mexico has emerged as an independent project from the Automotive Industry Dialogue that has been ongoing since 2020. The MRDH is designed to enable those affected in the supply chains of German automotive manufacturers to report actual and potential cases of human rights violations in Mexico and to receive support in investigating these cases as well as access to remedy. The concept for the complaint mechanism in Mexico was jointly decided in June 2022 by stakeholders from industry, unions, and civil society. The civil society organizations ProDESC, Fundación Avina, and the Centre for Information on Business and Human Rights, along with Germanwatch, INKOTA, and WEED, contributed to its development.

Effective complaint mechanisms have gained greater importance not least due to the adoption of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and in the course of negotiations for the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. Effective complaint mechanisms must be legitimate, transparent, predictable, accessible, rights-compatible, and equitable according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This is essential to prevent human rights violations and to provide effective remedy and reparation for those affected


Additional Information:

Press release from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on the launch of the cross-company complaint mechanism of the German automotive industry in Mexico on May 7, 2024:

Press release from civil society on the interim status of the complaint mechanism in September 2022:

Civil society's statement on Volkswagen's withdrawal from the mechanism in December 2022:

For more information on the concept of the Cross-Company Complaint Mechanism, see the Action Guide to the Core Element of the Complaint Mechanism of the Automotive Industry Dialogue from June 2022, under section 4.9 "Implementation Step 9 - Learning from the Cross-Company Complaint Mechanism of the Industry Dialogue," pages 46-53v(German):

Position paper "Effectively Involving Rights Holders in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives" by civil society from May 2022:

Position paper "Effective Complaint Mechanisms in the European Supply Chain Law - Recommendations for the Design of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)" by ECCHR, Germanwatch, INKOTA-netzwerk, WEED, from August 2023:


Anton Pieper, Advisor for Economy and Human Rights, WEED, phone: 030 / 280 44 820, email:

Lara Louisa Siever, Advisor for Raw Materials Policy, Economy and Human Rights, phone: 030 / 420 8202 58, email:

Diana Figueroa, Program Manager, Fundación Avina, email:

Eduardo Villarreal, Research and Advocacy Coordinator, ProDESC, email:

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