Oaxaca: indigenous organizations and peoples challenge federal reforms, considering them to be “a legalized land grab”

July 27, 2014

(@Otros Mundos Chiapas)

(@Other Worlds Chiapas)

On 14 July, upon the close of the “Water and Energy” seminar held in Oaxaca de Juárez, civil organizations and communities pertaining to the Mixteco, Chatino, Zapotec, and Mixe peoples of the state of Oaxaca as well as organizations from Chiapas and Mexico City issued a communique denouncing the reforms being implemented in the country.  They indicated that said reforms betray a lack of respect for humanity rights and represent “a legalized land grab,” given that they were approved to favor national and international firms.

The authors of the communique explained that the laws on Hydrocarbons, National Waters, Mining, Public Service of Electricity, Geothermal Energy, Housing, Foreign Investment, Expropriation, National Goods, Labor, Regulation of Energy, Public and Private Associations, the National Agency on Industrial Security, Protection of the Environment, Education, and Telecommunications “have been presented and approved without the participation of the communities and citizenry in general who live in the country.”

They denounced that “they have found the three levels of government to lie, trick, threaten with death, repress, arbitrarily arrest, forcibly disappear, and even execute communal human-rights defenders,” and they affirmed that they will continue defending their lands and territories amidst this new attempt at looting.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de organizaciones y pueblos indígenas (14 de julio de 2014)

Pueblos de Oaxaca repudian despojo de Peña Nieto con Ley Energética(Ciudadanía Expres, 17 de julio de 2014)

Rechazan comunidades las reformas de EPN (Noticias.net, 18 de julio de 2014)

Reforma Energética legaliza el despojo territorial a pueblos indígenas: ONG´s (Página3.mx, 18 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English): 

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society against the “Proposed Hydrocarbon Law” (28 June 2014)


Chiapas: new communique from the Las Abejas Civil Society

July 27, 2014

Sociedad Civil Las Abejas (@acteal.blogspot.com)

Las Abejas Civil Society (@acteal.blogspot.com)

On 22 July, during the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre of 1997, the Las Abejas Civil Society released a new communique positioning itself on several prevailing realities, “because it is our responsibility to say the truth and condemn lies, violence, and war.”  Las Abejas denounced that the “bad government of Mexico has coordinated with large neoliberal-capitalist interests to create plans to extract the riches of our Mother Earth.  These plans criminalize social movements; they imprison women and men who criticize the rotten system in Mexico.”  They gave as examples of such tendencies the murders of Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano from the San Sebastián Bachajon ejido, who adhered to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, in addition to the Zapatista support-base (BAEZLN) Galeano in La Realidad.

Las Abejas indicated that “we are saddened that still many of our brothers and sisters who do the dirty work of the government see us as enemies, insulting us and claiming us to be provocateurs.  All these thoughts that they have are the result of the crumbs given in the ‘Procampo,’ ‘Opportunities,’ and other welfare programs.”  They stressed the role of the “so-called leaders of a community or an organization”: “the bad government seeks to create divisions in a community or organization in resistance by offering a bit of money or a public office in exchange for providing information on what the organizations are doing.”  To illustrate this point, Las Abejas made reference to the “present conflict between the neighboring communities of Ch’enalvo’ and Chalchihuitan regarding the land dispute that has gone on for 40 years.”  They reiterated the call to dialogue “both to the peoples of Ch’enalvo’ and of Chalchihuitan and not to take up arms.”

Lastly, they shared a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo Comunicado en rechazo de los megaproyectos en territorios de pueblos originarios y de la guerra contra el Pueblo Palestino (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society against the “Proposed Hydrocarbon Law” (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (May 2, 2014)


Chiapas: TPP pre-audience judges Mexican State for crimes against humanity

July 27, 2014


Foto (@SIPAZ)

Photo (@SIPAZ)

On 18 July in El Limonar, Ocosingo municipality, there was held the pre-audience for the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP), “With Justice and Peace We Shall Find Truth.”  As part of the work on “Dirty War as violence, impunity, and lack of access to justice” covered by the Mexican chapter of the TPP,  the Viejo Velasco massacre was addressed.  This atrocity, which took place on 13 November 2006, resulted in the execution of four persons and the disappearance of four others.  Two of the disappeared were found dead some months later.  Furthermore, 37 residents of the community were forcibly displace, seeking refuge in the neighboring community of Nuevo Tila.

Aftr having reviewed the relevant documents and the declarations of victims and witnesses, the judges declared that the “The fact that these acts of violence from the State did not solely target combatants but also the civilian, non-combatant population–including boys and girls–shows that the only common factor among the victims was that they pertained to certain ethnic groups and social organizations.  It also shows that said acts were committed ‘with the intention of destroying’ these groups ‘totally or in part,’ thus qualifying these as crimes against humanity.”  For this reason, they judged the Mexican State to be culpable of having violated the rights to life and personal integrity as well as the right not to experience forced disappearance in the cases of Viejo Velasco and Acteal in the Northern Zone of Chiapas.

In conclusion, the tribunal declared that “the State must use the appropriate means to observe its obligation to investigate the acts that have been denouned, as well as to identify, judge, and sanction those responsible and the beneficiaries of these crimes.”  It stressed that “the Mexican State is obliged to comprehensively compensate the damages caused by these crimes against humanity.”  Lastly, it recalled that the cycle of the Mexican chapter of the TPP will end in November 2014, a time in which the “grave human-rights violations committed by the Mexican State that to date enjoy impunity” will be denounced and made visible before the national and international public.

For more information (in Spanish):

Dictamen Preaudiencia “Con Justicia y Paz encontramos la Verdad” (TPP blogspot capítulo México, 19 de julio de 2014)

Estado mexicano, culpable en masacre de Viejo Velasco: TPP (Chiapas Paralelo, 21 de julio de 2014)

BOLETIN DE PRENSA “Con Justicia y Paz encontramos la Verdad”(Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 16 de julio de 2014)

Ante la falta de justicia del Estado familiares de víctimas de la masacre de Viejo Velasco exigen verdad (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 16 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 2011)

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)


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)


Chiapas: Invitation to the TPP preaudience, “With justice and peace, we will find truth”

July 19, 2014


140702_TTP_limonar_cartel

On 18 July will be held the pre-audience of the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP) “With justice and peace, we will find truth” in the El Limonar community, Ocosingo municipality.  The invitation made to “all popular, social, political, and human-rights organizations, as well as all families, friends, and persons in solidarity with the victims of the counterinsurgent war in the state of Chiapas” was made within the Dirty War, impunity, and lack of access to justice track covered by the TPP’s Mexico Chapter.  The idea is to address the case of Poblado Viejo Velasco which on 13 November 2006 experienced a massacre that left four executed, another four forcibly disappeared, and thirty-six displaced.
The invitation indicates that “this massacre took place within the context of counter-insurgent war as designed and implemented by the Mexican State by means of the Chiapas Campaign Plan ’94, which had the result that the paramilitary group Peace and Justice engaged in the following crimes: 85 executions, 37 forcible disappearances, and more than 12000 people forcibly displaced in the northern Zone, and the Acteal massacre in the highlands, when PRI paramilitaries murdered 45 persons, the majority of whom were women and infants–4 of them yet to be born–as well as provoking the forced displacement of more than 6000 persons.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Con tu firma, súmate a la Preaudiencia “Con Justicia y Paz encontramos la Verdad” (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 2 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 7 years since the Viejo Velasco massacre (7 December 2013)

Chiapas: 5 years after the Viejo Velasco massacre (26 November 2011)

Chiapas: Mexican government hides remains of Viejo Velasco massacre (25 de marzo de 2011)

Chiapas: The Viejo Velasco massacre three years later (19 November 2009)


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)


National: UN report highlights impunity and high number of homicides in Mexico

June 23, 2014
United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns (@Proceso)

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns (@Proceso)

Christof Heyns, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, has presented the report of his visit to Mexico in April and May 2013, where he collected information on violations of the right to life and individual integrity, as well as on torture and forced disappearances.

The report highlights the high number of homicides in Mexico (100,000 since 2006), 70 percent of which are drug-related. Among the social groups that have suffered most homicides are women, migrants, journalists, and human rights defenders. According to the rapporteur, “the numbers show that levels of violence levels are far worse compared to the ones that I have seen in the other countries I have visited in the four years of my term.”

According to Heyns, impunity in terms of homicides in Mexico is due, in many cases, to inadequate investigations, improper handling of the crime scenes, and lack of coordination in the forensic service, often leading people to be processed and accused erroneously.

The report also recommends a security system focused on human rights, rather than on militarism. It urges a halt to the military role in public security, since the preparation and mode of action of the armed forces is not adequate for civilian purposes.

An improvement in forensic and investigative services, greater powers for public bodies in defense of human rights, and more independence for the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) with respect to the federal government are also encouraged.

On violence against women, the rapporteur noted that this often results from the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors. He recommended that femicide should be classified in all relevant criminal codes and that specific protocols for investigations in those case should be created.

Finally, Heyns concluded that in Mexico, “what is required is a systematic, comprehensive and exhaustive strengthening of the rule of law.”

For more information (In Spanish):

Impera en México la impunidad en asesinatos de mujeres: ONU (Cimac, 12 de junio de 2014)

Violencia en México, mucho más grave que en otros países: ONU (La Jornada, 13 de junio de 2014)

Amenazado en México el derecho a vivir: ONU (La Prensa, 13 de junio de 2014)

México: Desaparición forzada a la orden del día (Argenpress, 13 de junio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (In English):

Mexico: Preliminary conclusions from the UN relator regarding extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions in the country (May 17, 2013)


Guerrero: Mexican State is denounced for failing to observe its obligations in the Rosendo Radilla Pacheco case

June 2, 2014

rosendo radilla

Nearly 40 years since the forced disappearance of Rosendo Radilla Pacheco and 5 years since the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) handed down its sentence in the case, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) and the Association of Relatives of the Detained, Disappeared, and Victims of Human-Rights Violations in Mexico (AFADEM) denounced that the federal government has failed to observe its obligation of providing the whereabouts of the disappeared and that it continues not to investigate those responsible for the disappearance: “the investigation has not been conducted with due diligence, such that it has not succeeded in identifying the responsible of the disappearance, much less process them.  It is also true that the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has similarly failed with its duty to provide the relatives of Mr. Radilla with a copy of the investigation in a form that would respect the rights of victims, as the IACHR has ordered.  Due to both omissions, the rights of Rosendo Radilla’s relatives have been repeatedly violated, as have those of society to know the truth of the acts, context, and circumstances in which the crime was committed.”

Last April, CMDPDH and AFADEM presented observations for the eleventh report of the federal government regarding the observance of the sentence in the case, noting that the federal congress “similarly has failed to modify the Federal Penal Code to adequately classify this type of crime of forced disappearance of persons.”

Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, a social activist from the municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez, Guerrero, was disappeared by Army units in 1974.  In 2009, the IACHR released a sentence in the case condemning the Mexican State for grave human-rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Impunidad y negación: respuestas del Estado mexicano sobre Caso Radilla (CMDPDH, 23 de abril de 2014)

Exige Afadem pesquisa seria sobre los desaparecidos de la guerra sucia(La Jornada de Guerrero, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Caso Rosendo Radilla Pacheco (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Homage to Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, disappeared by the Army (15 March 2014)

Guerrero: Soldiers harass Tita Radilla in Atoyac (7 December 2013)

Guerrero/National: SCJN affirms observance of IACHR sentences in Radilla and Cantú cases (28 September 2012)

Guerrero briefs: The PGR should report on the Radilla case (13 December 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: government announces installation of Commission of Truth and Tita Radilla receives recognition (28 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: State accepts responsibility in Radilla case in absence of relatives (27 November 2011)


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