Guerrero: update in the Ayotzinapa case

December 17, 2014

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Photo @SIPAZ

The parents and relatives of the disappeared normalist students have rejected the version presented by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) that the youth were burned and reduced to ashes in the garbage-dump of Cocula, Guerrero.  The families held that the remains of Alexander Mora Venancio, the only one of the 43 students who has been identified, were provided by the government to maintain the version of the three narco-hitmen who confessed to burning the remains of the students after killing them.  “The Argentinian investigators cannot confirm that these remains were found in Cocula, because they were not present at the time of the discovery of the remains [of Alexander Mora], such that the black bags containing the remains were open,” said a representative.  The director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria, affirmed that expectations are “very low” that the laboratory will be able to identify the human remains that were presumably found in Cocula, because the conditions to which they were consciously exposed converted them to a “very challenging” state.

Beyond this, civil-society organizations have defended the legal representatives of the families of the 43 students disappeared by the police in Iguala, after it was reported that the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), associated with the Secretary of Governance, had qualified them as a “danger for governance,” making reference to members of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.  In a communique, 19 human-rights organizations denounced and lamented that the government would try to discredit human-rights defenders and use public resources to weaken the movement for the disappeared in place of employing the capacities of intelligence agencies to combat the infiltration and corruption of the “narco-State” and ensure that grave human-rights violations do not remain in impunity.

On 3 December, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH) visited the Rural Normal school of Ayotzinapa to meet with relatives and friends of the disappeared students.  The visit was part of a follow-up campaign that the OACNUDH has provided in the case.  The Office reiterated its solidarity and energetic denunciation of the events of Iguala.

In a communique from 10 December, the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico demanded that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto clarify the role played by the Mexican Army and federal police in the disappearance of the 43 students.  In this way, it also demanded that Angela Merkel’s government suspend negotiations regarding security agreements with Mexico until the latter government provides a report on the general situation of human rights in Mexico.  On 10 December, the German daily Tages Zeitung reported that at least 36 of the weapons presumably used against the normalist students of Ayotzinapa were G-36 German assault rifles, produced by the Heckler & Koch corporation.  A day previous, on 9 December, deputies of the green parties in the European Parliament protested inside the parliament building in Brussels, demanding that the Mexican government use all possible means of finding the disappeared students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School alive.

For more information (in Spanish):

Defienden 19 ONG a Vidulfo Rosales y Abel barrera ante ataques del CISEN (El Sur de Acapulco, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Comunicado de prensa – ONU-DH visita a familiares y compañeros de los normalistas en Ayotzinapa y reitera su respaldo a sus demandas de justicia (Tlachinallon, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Defendamos a Tlachinollan ante ataques del Cisen (EDUCA, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Son “muy bajas” las expectativas para identificar los restos de Cocula, dice la universidad de Austria (El Sur de Acapulco, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Ayotzinapa: Vivos los queremos (El Topil, diciembre de 2014)

Comunicado de prensa (Coordinación alemana, 10 de diciembre de 2014)

Acuerdo de seguridad Alemania-México: inminente y poco transparente(Deutsche Welle, 10 de diciembre de 2014)

Se utilizaron armas alemanas en ataque a normalistas (Proceso, 10 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: approval of law on social movement that some have characterized as an “anti-protest law”

December 17, 2014

Movilización en la Ciudad de México, 20 de noviembre de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Mobilization in Mexico City, 20 November 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 2 December, deputies from the PRI, PAN, PVEM, and PANAL parties approved a bill on “social movement,” or constitutional changes that some NGOs and analysts worry could allow the authorities to suppress protests and more broadly restrict freedom of expression, reunion, and petition.  This comes within the context of multitudinous mobilizations against the government of Enrique Peña Nieto over the case of the disappeared 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa.

Some PRD, PT, and Citizens’ Movement legislators have qualified this bill as an “anti-protest law.”  Yet it still was approved 292 to 100, and thus will proceed to the Senate.  Once approved by the Senate, it must be approved by at least 17 state congresses.

Those comprising the front for the Liberty of Expression and Social Protest and Greenpeace Mexico have made an energetic call on the federal congress to avoid instituting any disposition that would seek to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, meeting, and association.  These groups indicated that it is alarming that the reform take place “within a context of enormous social discontent and public mobilizations against which public force has used disproportionate force, leading to violations of the freedom of expression, meeting, social protest, and even health.”  It is for these reasons that the General Law on Movement may seek to further restrict the right to social protest.

For more information (in Spanish):

Aprueban diputados ley antimarchas en medio de protestas por Ayotzinapa (Proceso, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

PRI y PAN buscan aprobar reforma que reglamente las manifestaciones(La Jornada, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

 ¿Ley antimarchas? Puntos clave de lo aprobado por diputados (Aristegui Noticias, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

El PRD condena Ley Antimarchas, pero en el DF la impulsa, acusan activistas (Sin Embargo 4 de diciembre de 2014)

ONG se declaran en alerta por eventuales intentos de cercar la libertad de expresión (La Jornada, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: State congress approves initiative on “legitimate use of force” (18 May 2014)

National: Creation of the Front for the Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (26 April 2014)


National: “To Defend Human Rights Is Necessary, Legitimate, and Dangerous” – Amnesty International

December 17, 2014

AI

On 9 December, day for human-rights defenders, Amnesty International (AI) presented the document “To Defend Human Rights Is Necessary, Legitimate, and Dangerous” regarding the work of human-rights observers and journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report notes that journalists and rights-defenders risk their lives and liberty to struggle for human rights, and continue to suffer from intimidation, assault, and other forms of violence.

The document stresses the “high levels of violence and repression” against those who work in questions having to do with the land, territory, and natural resources, as well as the rights of women and children, migrants, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans* and intersexual persons, in addition to journalists and trade-unionists who defend human rights.

“The saddening reality is that many of these persons who defend human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean suffer constant persecution and attacks as revenge for their efforts.  In different countries we have observed a disquieting and lamentable increase in the levels of violence and repressions suffered by these persons just for defending human rights and justice,” noted Erika Guevara Rosas, director of the American Program with AI.

For more information (in Spanish):

Defender Derechos Humanos en las Américs: Necesario, Legítimo y Peligroso, Amnestía Internacional, 9 de diciembre de 2014

Denuncia AI aumento de violencia contra defensores de Derechos Humanos en Latinoamerica, SDPNoticias, 9 de diciembre de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders (12 June 2014)


International/National: IACHR presents report regarding right to truth which includes the case of the “Dirty War” in Mexico

December 16, 2014

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At the end of November, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a report regarding the right to truth in Latin America “in light of the enormous challenges that many States of the region confront with regard to guaranteeing the rights of thousands of victims after periods of dictatorship, armed internal conflicts, and generalized violence.”

The report analyzes several cases, emphasizing “the obligations that the States have in reagrd to the objective of guaranteeing the right to truth in terms of grave human-rights violations.”  In the specific case of Mexico, the report makes reference to the creation of a Special Prosecutorial Office for Past Social and Political Movements (FEMOSPP), which seeks to investigate what happened in 532 cases of disappeared and arrested individuals.  It recalls that “on 15 December 2005, a group of investigators submitted a draft of the report.  However, to date, the report has not been made public, and it can only be found online, as published by the National Security Archive.”

In observance of the presentation of the report, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, Executive Secretary for the IACHR, stressed that “this report is a contribution that compiles the jurisprudence of the Inter-American legal system regarding the obligations States have in terms of truth, justice, and compensation for victims of past [crimes].  But it is not a report which deals only with the past, for it is also a contribution to the present, so as to assist from our place and mandate the democracies of today to advance with their pending debts.  It is also a contribution to the future.  The guarantee to the right to truth permits the construction of a future exempt from these types of abuses.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Derecho a la verdad en América: Informe Completo (CIDH)

Urge CIDH a erradicar desapariciones forzadas en América (El Universal, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

CIDH presenta informe sobre el Derecho a la Verdad en América (Boletín de prensa de la CIDH, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

CIDH presenta informe sobre el derecho a la Verdad; retoma el caso de la FEMOSPP en México (Centro Prodh, 2 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: TPP preaudience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity (27 July 2014)

Guerrero: Death-threats directed against two activists with the Truth Commission (7 February 2013)

 


Guerrero: 2 months after the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, more cases of forced disappearances and violence emerge

December 15, 2014

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Photo @SIPAZ

On 26 November, French television channel France 24 reported that two months after the case of the disappearance of 43 normalist students in Iguala, another 31 youth from the neighboring municipality of Cocula were disappeared by organized crime.  The high-school students have been missing since 7 July, though the case was not well-known due to the fear of the locals in light of the death-threats issued by those who carried out the disappearances.  The final day of classes before the start of summer vacations, masked men dressed in marine blue, seemingly riding in police vehicles, kidnapped the youth as they were leaving the Justo Sierra high school.  The school is located just by the mayor’s hall of Cocula.  Local police have also been implicated in the Ayotzinapa case.  National and international journalistic coverage of the 43 normalists from Ayotzinapa motivated the mother of one of the disappeared youth to break the silence.  Other off-camera testimonies confirmed the kidnapping of the youth.  However, the Office for National Security (CNS) reported that no denunciation exists, nor is there any report from the educational authorities, regarding the missing 30 students.  Beyond this, units from the federal police visited the Justo Sierra high school, and the vice principal claimed not to know anything about the disappearance of any students attending the school.  The governor of Guerrero, Rogelio Ortega, indicated that the disappearances of the youth of Cocula took place between 2 and 3 July.  He mentioned that this was documented on the Guerrero state-government’s web page, even though “there was no denunciation made.”

It must be stressed that, in the first 10 months of 2014, at least 12 cases of collective disappearances have been seen in Mexico.  Cases similar to that of Ayotzinapa, even including the same number of victims, have been presented in seven other states.  In the month before the events in Iguala, 199 persons were disappeared.  The states with the highest number of victims have been Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Guerrero.  A year before the disappearance of the 43 Mexican students in Iguala, there was another night of terror in a neighboring community, where residents relate that an armed commando group invaded various houses and forcibly took groups of people, in their majority youth.  Cocula is one of the municipalities of Guerrero where violence has most acutely affected the population.  At least 82 have been disappeared, murdered, or kidnapped in the past 3 years.

Another case of extreme violence in the state took place on 27 November: at least 11 burned and decapitated bodies were found on a path by the community of Ayahualulco in Chilapa. In a communique, the State Prosecutorial General’s Office (FGE) reported that the 11 males killed lost their lives due to gunfire and were then semi-burned.  Their corpses appeared ridden with gunshot wounds emanating from high-caliber firearms.  Beside the bodies, there was a note left that was directed to a criminal group known as “The Squirrels” saying: “There you go, trash.”  Chilapa de Álvarez has been the site of other violence episodes this year.  Between 8 and 10 July, confrontations were registered between presumed criminals and police that left 14 dead.  A day later, six more bodies were found.  It was reported that these persons died after a confrontation between two organized-crime gorups.

For more information (in Spanish):
11 decapitados en Guerrero; PGR atrae investigación (Aristegui Noticias, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

Reportan desaparición de otros 31 estudiantes en Cocula (Proceso, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

France 24 revela nuevo secuestro masivo de estudiantes en Guerrero (VIDEO) (SDP Noticias, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

Confirma gobernador de Guerrero desaparición de jóvenes en Cocula (La Jornada, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

Afirman autoridades que no hay denuncia sobre secuestro en Cocula (La Jornada, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

La noche olvidada de Cocula (El Faro, 23 de octubre de 2014)

Desaparecen 5 al día tras caso Ayotzinapa (Excelsior, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

Cocula: 82 desaparecidos, asesinados o secuestrados en los tres últimos años (El Sur de Acapulco, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Day of actions for Ayotzinapa to observe the Mexican Revolution (7 December 2014)

Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)


National/Chiapas: Day of actions for Ayotzinapa to observe the Mexican Revolution

December 7, 2014

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March in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Photo @SIPAZ

On 20 November, in observance of the Day for Global Action for Ayotzinapa, protests were held in solidarity with the relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzianapa in many cities throughout the world.  From three points in Mexico City, thousands of persons marched, accompanying caravans of students and relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa to arrive at the rally in the Zócalo of the capital.  After the rally, when the mobilization that had been peaceful to that point ended, a group of youth launched rockets and attempted to break down the principal entrance of the National Palace.  Riot police intervened against them, as against the rest of the protestors who had not participated in this intensified phase.  People were injured and arrested, but the authorities have not released any official data.  Meanwhile, on social networks photographs emerged demonstrating presumed infiltrators in the protests, who were placed there supposedly to destabilize the protests.

The parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa expressed, before hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Mexico City’s Zócalo, that “this is not just about Guerrero: all throughout Mexico there are secret graves full of persons who have been executed outside the law and forcibly disappeared.”  This was their conclusion following the tour they carried out in several states of the country during the previous week, including the north and south of the country.  At the act at the Zócalo, one of the organizers reported that in more than 185 cities of the world, people had come out to the streets to demand the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.

In Chiapas, thousands of students, teachers, campesinos, and citizens in general marched in a dozen municipalities to demand the presentation of the students who were disappeared on 26 September.  At least 4000 marched peacefully in the capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, a protest was organized that counted with the participation of a thousand people.  After a group of presumed infiltrators burned down shops after looted them, a strong police presence was deployed, leading to the arrest of several protestors.  Regardless, the police had been nowhere to be seen until 2pm; the morning of the protest progressed without any visible police presence.  The protestors distanced themselves from the counter-violence that was exhibited at the beginning of the march, when some set an Oxxo and part of a Soriana store on fire.  They accused the government of sending agents provocateurs.  Later, authorities announced the arrest of 13 “anarchists.”  Also in Comitán, Venustiano Carranza, Ocosingo, Tapachula, as elsewhere, protests were held.  Dissidents shared similar slogans, including, “You took them alive; alive we want them back,” and “Zapata lives; the struggle continues!”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Les decía ‘no me peguen, ya nos vamos’”; múltiples agresiones policiacas en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Marcha pacífica realizan en la capital chiapaneca (Diario de Chiapas, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Videos: Histórica marcha por Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Culmina la Jornada de Acción Global por Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

La refriega en el Zócalo después de una marcha pacífica (Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Identifican en redes a encapuchados, antes de la marcha en DF (Aristegui Noticias, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Fosas por todo el país: padres de los 43 normalistas (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

Multitudinarias movilizaciones de solidaridad en ciudades del mundo (La Jornada, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Chiapas: New actions by the EZLN to support Ayotzinapa (26 October 2014)

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)


National: Final audience of the Mexican Chapter of the People’s Permanent Tribunal

December 7, 2014

Sobrevivientes de la masacre de Viejo Velasco durante el TPP en El Limonar, Chiapas, julio 2014. Foto@SIPAZ

Survivors of the Viejo Velasco massacre during the TPP session in El Limonar, Chiapas, July 2014. Photo @ SIPAZ

From 12 to 15 November, the final audience of the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP) was held, after having begun in October 2011.  After 3 years of collecting information and analyzing the totality of testimonies provided by victims, organizations, and experts regarding 10 thematic questions, the sentence “Free Trade, Violence, Impunity, and Rights of the People in Mexico (2011-2014)” was published.  This sentence concludes that juridical responsibilities exist among four actors: the Mexican State, transnational corporations, other countries (such as the US and Canada, among others), and international institutions (like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, and so on).  The four tiers are assigned varying degrees of responsibility.

The sentence is the culmination of 10 thematic and multidisciplinary audiences, themselves the fruit of 40 preaudiences, as well as the participation of nearly a thousands organizations of diverse character that involved thousands of individuals.  The cases that were presented showed the open violations of individual and collective human rights resulting from economic and commercial treaties.  It was also decided that the Mexican State is the party that “has objective international responsibility for the violation of rights, civil and political, social and cultural, as for the creation of a healthy environment and access to justice.  Such changes presuppose the observance of numerous international laws and of the Mexican Constitution.”

In this way, with regard to the normalist students who were disappeared and murdered in September 2014 in Iguala, it was mentioned “the events in Ayotzinapa constitute yet another chapter in the long list of violations of the rights to dignity and to life among the Mexican people: they are the dramatic expression, both real and symbolic, of present reality, and of the significance of the proposals for the TPP […].  All this that has been meticulously documented for three years was condensed in Iguala in a number of hours of barbarism.  And in this reign of impunity that is Mexico today, there are murders without murderers, torture without torturers, and sexual abuse without rapists.  This is a permanent deviation from social responsibility that has led to thousands of massacres, murders, and systematic violations of collective rights.  [For the State] these are crimes that are always isolated or marginal, rather than true crimes for which the State is responsible.”

The sentence specifies the gravest crimes, including crimes against humanity, that have been committed during the six-year terms of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Vicente Fox Quesada, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and Enrique Peña Nieto.  It concludes with a battery of recommendations directed to international groups, Mexican civil society, and international media, calling for a “refoundation of Mexico” to accord with the 20 lines of recommendations, so as to bring the country back from the “deviation of power” it has experienced.

One of the judges at the final audience, Bishop Raúl Vera, affirmed that what took place at the TPP “is a comprehensive study of the unjust system that deliberately has been promoted by the Mexican government”; he indicated the “lack of responsibility on the part of the State” which “is judged principally for its deviation of power to favor transnational corporations; its commitments do not identify with the people in the least.”  “Social discontent prevails because the people feel abandoned,” noted Raúl Vera.

For more information (in Spanish):

Sentencia de la audiencia final del Capítulo México del TPP (TPP México, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

Desde Salinas, gobiernos son “responsables de crímenes de lesa humanidad”: TPP  (Proceso, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

El Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos: a la sombra de Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

Violaciones del Estado, desde Salinas hasta EPN: documento del Tribunal de Pueblos (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

Tribunal establece crímenes de Estado y señala “desviación del poder” en México: Vera (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: TPP preaudience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity (27 July 2014)

Chiapas: Invitation to the TPP preaudience, “With justice and peace we will find truth” (19 July 2014)

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


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