Mexico: SCJN determines that human-rights violations committed by soldiers are to be judged by civilian tribunals; judges will have to base all sentences in conformity with international agreements

July 25, 2011

On 12 July, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) determined unanimously that the human-rights violations committed by soldiers will have to be sanctioned by civilian tribunals.  The decision by the maximum tribunal of justice was had within the context of the continuation of the sentence by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) against the Mexican State in the case of Rosendo Radilla, a sentence that requires Mexico to reform its Code of Military Justice so as to harmonize it with international human-rights agreements.  Both representatives of political parties as well as of civil-society organizations celebrated the decision as ‘historical.’  With this was ended the divergence in legal matters, given that Article 13 of the Mexican Constitution establishes that in crimes committed by soldiers in which is involved a civilian, such will be judged not by military tribunals; regardless, Article 57 of the Code of Military Justice contradicts this constitutional directive.  Olga Sánchez Cordero, minister of SCJN, affirmed in media that the IACHR sentence is “obligatory” for the Mexican State, thus opposing an “orienting” interpretation, as has been expressed by the voices of the Ministries of Governance (Segob), National Defense (Sedena) and Navy (Semar).  There still remains to be had a reform of the Code of Military Justice to observe the IACHR sentence, a task that corresponds to the legislative branch.

In the same session of the SCJN, in a 6 to 3 vote, the court declared that all Mexican judges can analyze and interpret the laws applicable to concrete cases so that their sentences do not contradict the Constitution or international human-rights conventions.  With this they are obligated to analyze the compatibility of a given norm with respect to the constitutional dispositions and of international agreements signed and ratified by the Mexican State.

For more information (in Spanish):

Más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero – briefs: Military incursion into Xochistlahuaca; feminicide increases in Guerrero; invitation for the Seventh National Assembly of the Environmentally Affected in Acapulco

July 25, 2011

On the morning of 7 July there was reported the presence of soldiers from the 35th Military Zone in the community of Suljaa’, municipality of Xochistlahuaca.  According to the denunciation, close to 50 soldiers entered the community in which they asked residents regarding the location of the autonomous radio Ñomndaa and carried out several patrols.  They manifested that their presence had to do with efforts to make a map of the community.  The day of the military incursion  coincided with the reinitiation of the transmissions of Radio Ñomndaa, which had been off-air for a month.  In light of this situation, on 8 July, independent and organized human-rights defenders demonstrated their concern and demanded among other things “the cessation of harassment directed against Radio Ñomndaa; that the authorities who attempt to make an operation in Suljaa’ [...] punctually inform regarding the objectives that motivate the deployment of these units; and that all harassment against efforts for popular communication and communal organization among the indigenous peoples of the country cease.”

Radio Ñomndaa was born out of the struggle against cacique governments of Suljaa’.  Since its birth to now it has been persecuted and criminalized.  Since 2005 have taken place acts of harassment against its members and collaborators, via fabricated charges, intimidation, death-threats, arrest-orders, and detentions, which are related to the constant presence of soldiers and federal and state police.

In other news, the investigator of the International Institute of Advanced Political Studies (IIEPA) from the Autonomous University of Guerrero and coordinator of the Hannah Arendt Observatory on Violence against Women, Rosa Icela Ojeda Rivera, revealed that from 2010 to 2011, feminicide in Guerrero has increased some 40 to 50 percent and that 85 women have been murdered violently in the state in what has passed to date of this year.  The degree of impunity in Guerrero has been catalogued as being high, due to the fact that only 30 percent of feminicides are resolved.

Lastly, members of the Council of Representatives of the Assembly, the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), and the community of Salsipuedes, Acapulco, have invited civil society to attend the Seventh Assembly of the Environmentally Affected taht will be held on 30 and 31 July in the community of Salsipuedes, one of the communities that pertains to CECOP.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sufre asedio y presencia militar, radio comunitaria de Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero (7 July)

Acoso militar contra La palabra del agua, radio comunitaria de Xochistlahuaca, Gro. (9 July)

Comunicado de defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos (8 July)

Ojeda Rivera: suben feminicidios a pesar de ser delito grave en Guerrero; van 85 (La Jornada, 12 July)

Guerrero subió en feminicidios al tercer lugar; sólo está abajo de Chihuahua y Baja California (El Sur de Acapuco)

Convocatoria, cartel, croquis y solicitud de apoyo para la séptima Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (10 July)

Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero – briefs: Indigenous person murdered by Army in Tlacoachistlahuaca (11 April)

Oaxaca: Lizbeth Caña Cadeza renounces public charges; trial is demanded against her for events of 2006/7

July 24, 2011

Lizbeth Caña Cadeza

On 8 July, Rosa Lizbeth Caña Cadeza presented her resignation for the charge of superior auditor of the state of Oaxaca.  According to journalistic sources, the resignation has to do with personal reasons.  Human-rights defenders from civil organizations in the state have demanded that the Public Ministry investigate Caña Cadeza now that she has lost the constitutional protection given her by the public charge regarding her role as head of the State Attorney General’s Office in the administration of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (2004-2010).  Alba Cruz Ramos, member of the Committee for Wholesome Defense of Human Rights Gobixha (CODIGO-DH) and human-rights lawyer for 29 activists associated with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) who were illegally detained and tortured in 2006, indicates that initial investigations show Caña Cadeza to be responsible for torture in the case of César Mateos Benítez who had denounced her for being present during his torture.  For his part, Isaac Torres Carmona, member of the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (Limeddh), claims that there is sufficient information and evidence to prosecute Caña Cadeza, who was associated with arbitrary detentions, torture, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions during the social conflict of 2006.

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: Electricity-cut to 10 families that belong to the Las Abejas Civil Society. Tension in community

July 24, 2011

On 8 July, the Las Abejas Civil Society denounced in a communiqué that two days earlier, the Federal Commission on Electricity (CFE) arrived to the community Nuevo Yibeljoj, Chenalhó, to cut the light to 10 families belonging to the organization who have been in resistance to the paying of electricity-prices for several years.  In the same document, Las Abejas indicate that this action was carried out “in accordance with the owners of electricity in Nuevo yibeljoj, who call themselves ‘Las Abejas, A.C.,’ which in the year 2008 separated itself and left the path of struggle for justice in the Acteal massacre and of resistance in light of the neoliberal projects of hte bad government.  We see that this is part of the counter-insurgency war that is not lived just here in our lands.  The government of Juan Sabines and Felipe Calderón is increasingly worsening the situation to make difficult the construction of our autonomy and of peace with justice and dignity as originary peoples.”

Members of the ownership of electricity in Nuevo Yibeljoj express in a 10 July declaration for their part that there exists an agreement to “continue paying for the services in accordance with electrical consumption.  For this reason we have a commitment with our comrades in Santo Ch’en, neighbors of the community, to continue demanding that the CFE change all the wooden [electricity] posts.  We now have an advance of 50%.”  They affirmed that in a meeting held on 10 July, there was defined that which all members of the community must pay and that “absolutely no one will be able to violate the internal rules.”  Absent from the meeting were the 10 families from Las Abejas, with whom no agreement was reached.

For more information (in Spanish):

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Communiqué by Las Abejas Civil Society distances itself from Las Abejas Chiapas (4 May 2011)

Mexico: end of official visit to Mexico by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

July 24, 2011

Navanethem Pillay (@UN)

On 8 July, Navathem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, concluded her six-day visit to Mexico with a  press-conference in which she shared her observations regarding the human-rights situation in the country.

As regards the security srrategy, she stressed the “increase in reports on human-rights violations and the excessive use of force by State agents within the development of their actionsa agsint organizeed crime.”  She emphaseized that she is “profoundly concerned by the extermeley high previlaing levels of criminal violence in parts of the country.  Organized crime, with its brutal actions and methods, threatens the profound heart of the State and attacks basic human rights that we strive to protect.  The magnitude of the challenge is enormous and some of the roots of the problem go beyond the borders of Mexico.  I call on the USA, noted as the principal consumer of drugs and supplier of arms within and outside of Mexico, to make additional efforts so that the people of this country be safe.  I understand that under extraordinary circumstances difficult decisions must be made–such as regarding the participation of armed forces in public-security operations–until that time in which the State has constructed the capacities so as to protect the citizenry in accordance with the State of Right.  Regardless, these exceptional measures should remain true to their nature: extraordinary and limited temporarily.  Additionally the military should be subordinated to civilian control within the restrictions established by the standards and principles of human rights.”

On the other hand, she expressed special preoccupation for the victims of feminicide in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, aggressions against migrants, attacks on human-rights defenders and journalists, as well as for the situation of indigenous peoples (in particular, indigenous women).

She stressed that “the mechanism for protection of journalists should be implemented post-haste with the full participation of journalists themselves, both at the national and state levels.”  Similarly, on the mechanism for protection of rights-defenders decreed and presented to the High Commissioner on 6 July, Pillay requested that it be implemented adequately, thus “strengthening the government.”  She assured that her offices in Mexico are disposed to collaborate with the adequate implementation of both mechanisms.

For more information (in Spanish):

La ONU, renuente para críticar a México: activistas (La Jornada, 11 July)

El crimen mina la democracia: Pillay (El Universal, 9 July)

Conferencia de prensa Palabras de la Alta Comisionada de la ONU para Derechos humanos al término de su visita a México (OACNUDH, 8 July)

Debe Calderón acabar con retórica: alta comisionada de la ONU(Proceso, 8 July)

En México, las mujeres enfrentan la peor parte de la violencia estructural: ONG (La Jornada, 8 July)

Pillay externa preocupación por normas para regular al Ejército (el Universal, 7 July)

Preocupan a la ONU violaciones a derechos humanos en México (La Jornada, 7 July)

Sedena y Pillay acuerdan plan de trabajo (El Universal, 7 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi pillay to the state (14 July)

Chiapas: The La Garrucha JBG denounces “intensification of counter-insurgency campaign”

July 20, 2011

Región Las Cañadas, zona correspondiente al Caracol III de La Garrucha @ SIPAZ

Región Las Cañadas, zone that corresponds to Caracol III of La Garrucha @ SIPAZ

On 7 July, the “El Camino del Futuro” Good-Government Council (JBG), with headquarters in the Caracol “Resisting until a new Dawn” of La Garrucha, made public a denunciation that considers three cases in the zone that corresponds to this Caracol.  They defined the cases as part of an intesiifcation of the counter-insurgency campaign carried out by the federal, state, and municipal governments that seeks to manipulate persons of other indigenous and campesino organizations so that “AMONG US CAMPESINOS WE CONFRONT EACH OTHER AND KILL EACH OTHER.”

According to the Zapatista authorities, in the community of Nuevo Paraíso, from the autonomous municipality Francisco Villa (official municipality of Ocosingo), members of the Regional Organization of Coffee-growers of Ocosingo (ORCAO) from the ejido Guadalupe Victoria have occupied “THE LAND THAT WAS RECOVERED WHICH PERTAINS TO THE [NUEVO] PARAISO ON 3 MARCH 2011 IN THE SAME PLACE [...] ANOTHER GROUP OF PERSONS FROM LAS CONCHITAS IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF OCOSINGO IS GROWING A MILPA AND ANOTHER GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM THE POJCOL EJIDO FROM THE CHILON MUNICIPALITY.”  Furthermore, according to the JBG’s denunciation, the members of ORCAO have robbed these Zapatista support-bases (BAEZLN), destroyed coffee-plants, and took a cow worth 5000 pesos from the months of March to June of this year.

Linked to the archaeological zone of Toniná, the JBG denounced the federal, state, and municipal governments for manipulating “SEÑORA MARIA SOCORRO ESPINOZA TRUJILLO, AND HER DAUGHTERS BERENICE CRUZ ESPINOZA AND DALIA MARIBEL CRUZ ESPINOZA ASSESSED BY THE BAD GOVERNMENT” so that they sell the land recovered by the EZLN.

Finally, the JBG referred in its denunciation to the community of Nuevo Rosario, where members of ORCAO and unaffiliated party-persons have cut down trees to sell in Ocosingo, against the wishes of the BAEZLN of the community, beyond having taken from the BAEZLN milpa, causing destruction.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia completa de la JBG “El Camino del Futuro” (9 July 2011)

La Jornada: Denuncian bases zapatistas despojo de tierras y agresiones cometidos por Orcao (10 July 2011)

Mexico: Accord to establish a Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders; campaign “Declare yourself” is launched

July 20, 2011

On 6 July, in observance of the official visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, there was presented an accord to establish the foundation of a Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, the same that was published on 7 July in the Official Daily of the Federation.  According to the agreement, the Secretary of Governance (Segob), through the “Secretary, the Subsecretary of Juridical Affairs and Human Rights, and the Head of the Institution for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, will dictate the necessary administrative measures to protect human-rights defenders in light of their situation of risk, threat, and vulnerability.”  In this document human-rights defenders are defined as those persons who, whether individually or collectively, promote and defend the human rights that have been recognized by the Mexican Constitution and the international agreements ratified by the Mexican State.  The agreement stipulates that the Federal Attorney General’s Office and other institutions of the federal administration should collaborate with Segob to protect those human-rights defenders who find themselves in situations of risk, threat, or vulnerability.  Regarding the establishment of a Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, the “Secretary of Governance will seek the participation of representatives of non-governmental organizations that promote and defend human rights as well as academic institutions and other experts.”  There will be no modification in the organizational structure nor in additional budgeting for the implementation of the mechanism, according to the agreement.

Several civil-society organizations (OSC) have welcomed the agreement, but regardless there are deficiencies.  In a joint communiqué, Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defenders (ACUDDEH), the Global Association of Communal Radios Mexico (AMARC), the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the National Center for Social Communication (Cencos), the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), the Cerezo Committee, the Northern Border Initiative of Mexico, Litiga OLE, and the National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” affirmed that the federal government’s proposal does not represent a concession on the part of the Mexican State but rather a joint effort by persons and organizations that seek to effectively protect human-rights defenders.  They expressed the following: “We maintain a series of worries with regard to the guidelines for the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders.  We feel that it should be inclusive and have its own budget, as well as consult state-governments in its application.”  Among the things that should be included within this Mechanism, says the communiqué, are agreements with the states of the federal (given that in some cases they are the ones responsible for implementing the Mechanism’s measures), the participation of civil society in the same, an inter-institutional budget for its implementation, a broad definition of the term human-rights defender, and clearly defined measures of prevention and investigation, among other things.

Cencos, for its part, did an analysis and comparison of the agreements for the protection of journalists and human-rights defenders.  In its conclusion it indicates that “in light of the problem is highlighted the lack of institutional harmonization among the diverse ambits to attend to the situations of vulnerability that are faced in a wholesome manner.  That which was created for the protection of rights-defenders and journalists is not sufficient.  There must be a holistic interrogation so as to understand the possibly responsibility for aggression comes from organized crime as well as governmental authorities.  For this reason the process would require the generation of confidence, prioritizing the vision of human rights as a state responsibility.”

Also on this occasion of the official visit of Navanethem Pillly to Mexico, on 6 July in Mexico City there was had a public presentation of the campaign “Declare yourself,” which seeks to generate consciousness and visibilize the work of human-rights defenders, and thus ensure that this work be recognized, valued, and protected in light of the risks faced by defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acuerdo para el establecimiento de un Mecanismo para la Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (Documento oficial, emitido por la Secretaría de Gobernación en el Diario Oficial de la Federación) (07/07/2011)

Comunicado conjunto de organizaciones de derechos humanos sobre el Mecanismo para la Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (05 July 2011)

Cencos: 10 elementos: Análisis sobre los “Acuerdos” de protección para periodistas y defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos(07 July 2011)

Campaña “Declárate”

Red TDT: Documento entregado a la Alta Comisionada de Naciones Unidas de Derechos Humanos en el encuentro con miembros de la Sociedad Civil (05 July 2011)

La Jornada: ONG acusan ante comisionada de la ONU las graves violaciones a derechos en el país (06 July 2011)

La Jornada: Presentan campaña para proteger a los defensores de las garantías básicas (07 July 2011)

La Jornada: Preocupan a la ONU violaciones a derechos humanos en México (07 July 2011)

Chiapas: Release of one of the 5 of San Sebastián Bachajón

July 20, 2011

On 7 July, Mariano Demeza Silvano, a minor 17 years of age, one of the five adherents to the Other Campaign from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilón, who was detained at the beginning of February on several charges following a confrontation regarding the control-point at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls, was conditionally released.  He is to leave the juvenile-detention center of Villa Crisol and will be managed by the Chilón System for the Wholesome Development of the Family (DIF) to carry out community-service projects.

The other four adherents detained in March continue to be held in the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced (CERSS) number 17, in the Playas de Catazajá.  On 27 June, they published a communiqué denouncing abuses and discrimination on the part of prison authorities in Playas de Catazajá vis-a-vis prisoners’ relatives.  They denounce “energetically those persons and we demand more respect and more just treatment of the relatives of prisoners who want to enter to visit their family-members, given that they feel harassed and threatened in the way they are currently treaty.  The government should truly demonstrate its respect for human rights so that it does not in vain waste money paying the personnel of the State Council [on Human Rights].  The true reality is this: that the institution serves injustice and masks the government’s behvioar so it can better carry out its discriminatory acts.”

This same day, dozens of families of prisoners in this same prison also denounces sexual abuse and humiliation on the part of  prison authorities upon visiting.  The relatives found David Montero Montero, director, to be responsible, and they demand the intervention of the secretary of Citizens’ Protection and Security to remove Montero from office, given the abuses committed both inside the prison and with regard to relatives of the imprisoned.

In other news, in a new act that demonstrates that tensions continue in the zone of Bachajón, on 27 June, the ejidatarios who are adherents to the Other Campaign warned of an attempt to loot Alac Sac jun, part of the ejido, on the part of officialist groups.  They found the authorities responsible for anything that might take place in the vicinity of the terrain.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ordenan liberar a activista de Bachajón (La Jornada, 8 July)

Comunicado de los ejidatarios de Bachajón respecto a la liberación de Mariano Demeza (8 July)

Denuncian abusos en contra de internos y visitantes del penal de Catazajá, Chiapas (La Jornada, 6 July)

Alertan ejidatarios de Bachajón sobre intento de despojo en Alan Sac jun (La Jornada, 1 July)

San Sebastián Bachajón denuncian ex autoridades oficiales(Comunicado de los adherentes a La Otra Campaña de San Sebastián Bachajón, 27 June)

Denuncia de los presos de San Sebastián desde CERESO NUM. 17 PLAYAS DE CATAZAJÁ (27 June 2011)

Familiares de Internos de cárcel en Playas de catazajá en el Norte de Chiapas denuncian violencia sexual de funcionarios de dicha cárcel (27 June 2011)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Facing police repression, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón abandon control-post they had taken the previous day (24 April 2011)

Chiapas: Press conference by ejidatari@s from San Sebastián Bachajón (20 March  2011)

Chiapas: Special report by Frayba: Government creates and administers conflicts (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: The Peace Network visits prisoners from San Sebastián Bachajón (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Mexico: Pronouncement by OSC on forced disappearance of approximately 80 migrants

July 20, 2011

Migrant Home Ixtepec (@SIPAZ)

On 5 July, several civil organizations pronounced themselves demanding a cessation of violence directed against Mexican and Central American migrants, as well as migrants of any other nationality.  They affirmed: “We believe that the DISAPPEARANCE of approximately 80 women, children, and men is not an isolated act but rather yet another expression of violence against migrants in transit through our country.  IT IS THE DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MEXICAN AUTHORITIES TO GUARANTEE AND ENSURE THE SECURITY OF THESE PERSONS.”

On 24 June, a train carrying merchandise and 200 irregular migrants departed from the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca, en route to Medias Aguas, Veracruz, in its route toward the border between Mexico and the United States.  According to testimony of witnesses, when the train approached Medias Aguas, the conductor stopped the train in an isolated area in which were found three trucks.  At least 10 armed men alighted from the vehicles and began to harass the migrants.  Some managed to escape, but many were captured at gunpoint and taken in the trucks.

Some of the witnesses returned to the “Brothers on the Path” home in Oaxaca where they had been staying before leaving for Veracruz.  Father Solalinde, the home’s director, has denounced that an indeterminate number of migrants have been kidnapped in the region of Medias Aguas.  The Federal Attorney General’s Office has begun two investigations into the crime of kidnapping, with little significant progress to date.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de OSC (5 July)

Demanda Solalinde desaparición de INM; está cargado de corrupción, dice (La Jornada, 1 July)

Sin confirmar, presunto plagio de migrantes: PGR (El Universal, 1 July)

AI exige esclarecer desaparición de migrantes (El Universal, 27 June)

Chiapas: Judicial harassment of relatives of the director of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights AC

July 20, 2011

Nataniel Hernández Nuñez (@Front Line Defenders)

In a 4 July press-release, the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, with headquarters in Tonalá in the coastal region of Chiapas, expressed its concern “for the continuing acts of judicial harassment to which the relatives of the director of this organization have been subjected.  C.C. Bersain Hernández Zavala and Guadalupe Núñez Salazar came to the home of the relatives to leave a citation from the Ministerial Police (AFI) demanding that they appear before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) located in the city of Arriaga [...] without knowing the reasons for which they have been called before this penal authority.”

The Center locates this new act in the tendency on the part of the Mexican State and in particular the Chiapas state-government to “use the judicial system to persecute, harass, incarcerate human-rights defenders and [in this case] relatives of those who dedicate their work to the defense of human rights.”  They demand that the “Mexican government and the Chiapas government put an end to these acts of harassment directed against human-rights defenders and their relatives [as well as] observe the numerous international accords on human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín del CDH Digna Ochoa (4 July 2011)

Defensores de derechos humanos denuncian hostigamiento y persecución en Chiapas (La Jornada, 8 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers