Guerrero: Tlachinollan celebrates 20 years of struggle in defense of human rights

August 5, 2014

Foto @SIPAZ

In Tlapa de Comofort, Guerrero, on 25 and 26 July, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights celebrated its XX anniversary, with these twenty years being characterized by struggle besides indigenous peoples in defense of their rights.   More than 400 representatives from 85 communities of the Mountain region, together with different organizations and social movements from various states and representatives of international institutions, arrived to attend the forum “From the communal heart of resistance.”  On this occasion Abel Barrera Hernández, director of Tlachinollan, declared that “the criminalization of indigenous peoples has risen, and so has the threats against their lands.  There are attempts to loot [these lands] by means of mining concessions and attempts to build hydroelectric dams.  The situation of life in these communities is worsening due to abuse, looting, and the complacence of the authorities in the face of organized crime.”  Furthermore, he stressed the inequity and lack of attention from the government for indigenous peoples in the region.

At the end of the forum, a march was held toward the city center to demand the release of representatives of the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC) and of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota (CECOP), including Nestora Salgado García, Arturo Campos, Gonzalo Molina, and Marco Antonio Suástegui.  Furthermore, members of the Council of Victims of the Mountain of Guerrero demanded that the state government observe its promises to support communities that were affected by the storms that destroyed crops and homes last September.

During the event itself, the importance of collective work was recognized as fundamental for the defense of human rights in the Mountain region, and Abel Barrera Hernández expressed his gratitude to indigenous peoples: “They gave us tortilla, coffee, petate, and shade, and they showed us how to sow communal justice.  For this reason, these twenty years have no sense without you, because you are the fathers, mothers, and founders of Tlachinollan.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Festeja Tlachinollan sus 20 años con una marcha en Guerrero (La Jornada, 27 de julio de 2014)

Reconocen 20 años de Tlachinollan, trabajo que busca justicia social para las comunidades (Sididh, 28 de julio de 2014)

Tlachinollan, 20 años de defensa de los derechos humanos en la Montaña(Sin Embargo, 28 de julio de 2014)

OPINIÓN: 20 años por los derechos humanos (Tlachinollan, 23 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Celebration of the 19th anniversary of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (4 August 2013)

Guerrero: 18th Anniversary of Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (20 June 2012)


Guerrero: three opponents of the La Parota dam project arrested

August 4, 2014

CECOP-flyer

One day after the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), on 29 July, three CECOP members were arrested, including a coordinator who had succeeded the former spokesperson Marco Antonio Suástegui, who in turn was arrested in mid-June.  The arrested inlude the coordinator of the Committee of Peoples of CECOP, Maximino Solís Valeriano, as well as Julio Ventura Ascencio and Emilio Hernández Solís. Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, director of juridical affairs for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, reported that in the case of Maximino Solís, the penal case he confronts began in 2005, such that the timeframe for prosecuting the crime has already passed.  In the cases of Ventura Ascensio and Hernández Solís, the charges for which they are being held is attempted murder.  Similarly, José Palma Tornez and Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz were charged for the same crime, though this was then reclassified to aggravated assault.  Palma Tornez was released after having paying a bail of 146,000 pesos, while Suástegui Muñoz continues incarcerated in Nayarit, where he confronts other charges as well.  The three newly incarcerated persons are being held in the Acapulco jail.

Regarding this new case, the victims accused CECOP members of having injured them in April, following the attack with firearms undertaken by their relatives against communal police in Cacahuatepec.  At this time, CECOP member Lorenzo Ángel Lázaro and ex-ejidal commissioner Nemesio Valeriano Moreno were injured.  There have been no arrests in the case of the attack on CECOP.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen ministeriales a tres integrantes del Cecop; un coordinador, entre ellos (La Jornada de Guerrero, 29 de julio de 2014)

Detienen a tres integrantes del Cecop acusados de tentativa de homicidio(El Sur de Acapulco, 29 de julio de 2014)

La Parota, la cuenta regresiva (La Jornada de Guerrero, 29 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: 14 organizations march in favor of release of CECOP’s Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz (20 July 2014)

Guerrero: Several injured after atttack on communal police of CECOP near Acapulco (23 April 2014)

Guerrero: CRAC accepts 48 new communities from Acapulco (16 March 2014)

Guerrero: Sympathizers of the La Parota dam injure two CECOP members with machetes (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: CECOP on red alert after invasion by Army (5 March 2013)


National: thousands march in Mexico City to demand agrarian reform

July 28, 2014

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On 23 July, between 25,000 (according to the government of Mexico City) and 35,000 campesinos (according to organizers of the action) marched in Mexico City to demand a comprehensive agrarian reform, in repudiation of the reform laws on energy, and in favor of respect for the rights of peoples and communities.

Protestors presented a document with their proposals for agrarian reform, to be taken into account at the national Congress, which is about to address the matter in response to a proposal made in March by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The slogans that were uttered at the protest spoke to the principal grievances: for example, “Hunger is not combated with handouts but rather through food production in communities,” or “Mexico demands food and energy sovereignty.”

Organizations that covered the whole spectrum of politics in Mexico, including some groupings allied to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is at present in power.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campesinos exigen una reforma integral para el agro; repudian leyes energéticas (La Jornada, 24 de julio de 2014)

Marchan hoy miles de campesinos en rechazo a las leyes de energía (La Jornada; 23 de julio de 2014)

Venimos a detener el despojo de tierras y a defender el agua”, anuncian campesinos; planean hoy megamarcha en DF (Sin Embargo, 23 de julio de 2014)


Guerrero: Communal Police prisoners are “political prisoners,” declares General Gallardo

July 20, 2014

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Photo @Desinformémonos

The six communal police from the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities (CRAC) incarcerated in the Las Cruces jail are political prisoners, noted the retired Army General Francisco Gallardo, who himself is considered a former prisoner of conscience due to his past struggles for human rights within the armed forces.  He declared that “they were imprisoned for defending a cause; a political prisoner should not break under the circumstances, nor should those who are fighting for his or her liberation.  I hope to see them released very soon.”  Within the context of a visit from the general to the prisoners, the Network Decade against Impunity (led by Bishop Raúl Vera) announced the beginning of its international campaign for the liberation of the communal police members.

Nestora Salgado, a commander of the Commuanl Police in Olinalá who was arrested together with other communal police yet transferred to a maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit, declared in a telephone interview that “The government is bothered that we exist; we only request security for our people.  We have debts to no one but our people.”  In the Mountain and Little Coast regions of Guerrero, criminalization, incarceration, and the buying off of social activists has been on the rise since different groups organized themselves to impede the entrance of mining firms to the area.

As part of the repressive climate experienced in Guerrero, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, member of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP) and of the communal police which adheres to the CRAC-PC, has been arrested. He was detained and tortured on 17 June by the Ministerial Police, accused of attempted murder.  He has been incarcerated in the same location as Nestora Salgado.

For more information (in Spanish)

Gobierno de Guerrero, fabricador de delitos: Nestora Salgado(Desinformémonos, julio de 2014)

Anuncian campaña por la libertad de los comunitarios (La Joranda de Guerrero, 16 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Several injured after atttack on communal police of CECOP near Acapulco (23 April 2014)

Guerrero: CRAC accepts 48 new communities from Acapulco (16 March 2014)


Guerrero: 14 organizations march in favor of release of CECOP’s Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz

July 20, 2014

On 13 July, to mark the eleventh anniversary of the founding of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), members of this group and at least 14 other social organizations from Guerrero held a march on the Acapulco-Pinotepa national highway to demand the release of the CECOP spokesperson, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, who has been incarcerated since mid-June.  Another reason for the protest was to reject the La Parota hydroelectric dam project, which is to be constructed near Acapulco.  Lastly, protestors expressed their support for the release of all political prisoners in the state.  At least a thousand persons participated in the event.

At the beginning of the march, protestors faced Navy personnel, but there were no confrontations or attacks; some protestors expressed their desire that the soldiers abandon the zone.  In the community of Las Chanecas, there was a patrol of the Ministerial Police with five agents who withdrew upon arrival of the protest.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, lawyer for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, noted that the march demonstrated the capacity of response from CECOP and other organizations to prevent the construction of the La Parota dam.

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan al menos 14 organizaciones con el Cecop por la liberación de Suástegui (La Jornada de Guerrero, 14 de julio de 2014)

Marchan el Cecop y organizaciones para exigir la libertad de Suástegui y de líderes sociales (El Sur de Acapulco,

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Several injured after atttack on communal police of CECOP near Acapulco (23 April 2014)

Guerrero: CRAC accepts 48 new communities from Acapulco (16 March 2014)

Guerrero: Sympathizers of the La Parota dam injure two CECOP members with machetes (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: CECOP on red alert after invasion by Army (5 March 2013)

Guerrero: Governor Aguirre Rivero will not support construction of La Parota (27 August 2012)

Guerrero: Federal tribunal confirms end to La Parota dam project (20 July 2012)


National: Activists denounce increase in violence against women

July 19, 2014


Foto (@SiPaz)

Photo (@Sipaz)

Between 9 and 10 July, there was held a meeting in Mexico City among civil-society organizations seeking to relieve the situation of violence and discrimination experienced by women in Mexico, analyze the work that these organizations have carried out in recent years, and above all examine the challenges faced by the State still in advancing toward the guarantee of the full recognition and exercise of women’s rights.

Participants in the event included the UN Expert of the Work Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice, Alda Facio, and Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur for Violence against Women, the latter operating in a non-official capacity.  Eight years since the publication of their report “Integration of Women’s Human Rights and Gender Perspectives: Violence against Women, Mexico Mission,” the representatives of the Associates for Justice (JASS) stressed that, “If some reforms have been adopted in law, these have not resulted in structural changes, both in terms of prevention through investigation and sanctioning as well as access to a life free of violence.”  In effect, on this occasion it was recalled that Mexico has ratified the “Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women” (CEDAW), an international instrument to recognize the human rights of women, while there remain “many practices and policies that in effect favor and even deepen discrimination,” noted the JASS activists.

Finally, those at the event denounced the increase in violence against women in all their manifestations: impunity, the gravity of forced disappearance, sexual crimes, attacks against female human-rights defenders and journalists, the generalized increase in gender discrimination and inequality, particularly for poor, indigenous, and migrant women.  In this way, conference-goers called on the Mexican State forthrightly to adopt comprehensive policies to arrest the structural violence experienced by women.

In light of this context, the Special Rapporteur declared that gender violence is “the most generalized violation of human rights that we confront today,” explaining that “the lack of comprehension of gender violence is a barrier to the exercise of all human rights by women themselves.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 8 años de publicado informe sobre derechos humanos de las mujeres en México, regresa Relatora Especial sobre la Violencia contra la Mujer de la ONU (PRODESC, 8 de julio de 2014)

Responsabilidad del Estado Mexicano ante la CEDAW (JASS, 7 de julio de 2014)

La violencia hacia las mujeres “es la violación a DH más generalizada”: Relatora ONU (Sididh, 10 de julio de 2014)

Integración de los Derechos Humanos de la Mujer y la Perspectiva de Género: la violencia contra la mujer. Misión a México (CINU, 13 de enero de 2006)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: the Mexican government does not comply with the recommendations of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (23 June 2014)

Oaxaca: Every other day a woman is killed in the state (12 June 2014)

Oaxaca: the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists (10 June 2014)

Guerrero: Harassment and attacks on individuals and organizations in favor of the decriminalization of abortion and the right to decide (12 June 2014)


Oaxaca: Civil organizations denounce attack on female human-rights defender

July 14, 2014

Foto (@EDUCA)

Photo (@EDUCA)

During the early morning of 4 July 2014, a female activist and human-rights defender was sexually assaulted by a soldier in the Mexican Army.  The defender, member of the organization Union of Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) and the Network of Female Defenders, whose name has not been disclosed for security reasons, was en route to Oaxaca City from Matías Romero to attend the “Communication in Defense of Land” conference in the School for Communal Human-Rights Defenders.  The assault took place on an ADO bus in which she was traveling.

The victim attempted to denounce the abuse, firstly to the bus driver and then at a military checkpoint that halted the bus in San Pedro Totolapan, but on both occasions she was ignored.  On the contrary, since the case involved a high-level military man, she was told that nothing could be done.

The next day, close to 20 civil organizations published a letter denouncing the aggression, stressing that “beyond constituting a crime stipulated in article 241 of the Penal Code of Oaxaca as well as a clear human-rights violation, this is a very serious act in terms of the security of users of the system maintained by the firm, and even graver still because it involves an assault perpetrated by a high-ranking military official.”  The organizations added that the lack of response “shows the abuse of power and discrimination engaged in by the members of the armed forces.”

Lastly, in the letter the organizations demanded that the ADO bus firm “immediately respond to the complaint made by the human-rights defender, that it provides the corresponding authorities with the details of the aggressor soldier, that it guarantee reparations, and that it provide a public response regarding security policies for their users.”

Sadly, the case of 4 July is no isolated case.  Between 2011 and 2013, according to the Network All Rights for All, there were 409 assaults committed against human-rights defenders in Mexico.  Included within these aggressions most commonly are harassment, surveillance, robbery, kidnapping, forced disappearance, arbitrary arrests, death-threats, and torture, as well as murders.  27 human-rights defenders have been killed between 2011 and 2013: 16 men and 11 women, the majority of them in Guerrero, Michoacán, Chihuahua, Oaxaca, and Puebla.

For more information (in Spanish):

Militar agrede sexualmente a defensora de derechos humanos en autobus de empresa ADO (EDUCA, 7 de julio de 2014)

Militar ebrio abusa sexualmente de una activista en Oaxaca (Proceso, 7 de julio de 2014)

ONG´s denuncian irresponsabilidad del ADO; activista fue agredida a bordo de autobús (Página3, 7 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: One of the most violent and dangerous states for the exercise of journalism (May 16, 2014)

National: “La 72″ migrant home denounces kidnapping, robbery, and threats against migrants by INM (30 March 2014)
Guerrero: NGOs call on Peña Nieto to observe the sentences on Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo (2 May 2013)


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