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)


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

July 20, 2014

11328694306_d5c482edfc_c

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)


Oaxaca: Opponents to the Paso de la Reina dam denounce pressure

July 20, 2014

Foto (@SiPaz)

Photo (@Sipaz)

In a press conference held on 15 July, members of the Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Verde River (COPUDEVER) accused the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the local PAN deputy Sonia López of having pressured local authorities and residents of the region to accept the construction of the Paso de la Reina hydroelectric dam.  According to the protestors, pressure has increased since Enrique Peña Nieto released details some weeks ago about the National Infrastructure Program (PNI), which means to build 189 projects in the southern and southeastern regions of the country, including the Paso de la Reina dam.  COPUDEVER declares that “Outside of all democratic and legal processes, the hydroelectric project and the infrastructure plan constitute a public policy that is contrary to the right to autonomous development.”

On the same occasion, the CFE’s attempt to pressure local communities by promising them public-works projects was also denounced, including plans for electrification, drinking water, and education: “This action represents an undue use of resources which violates the collective rights of communities, as the support and projects are conditional upon acceptance of said megaproject.”  They furthermore warned that “the Mexican Army has been presenting itself in the territory to be affected by the project, toward the end of intimidating the people using the pretext of improving local security.”

Lastly, they recalled that the project is also opposed by the diocese of Puerto Escondido which, by means of a pastoral letter signed by more than 30 parishes, it has pronounced itself openly against the dam and denounced the pressure exercised by the CFE against local communities.

For more information (in Spanish):

CFE Y PAN PRESIONAN A COMUNIDADES A ACEPTAR PROYECTO “PASO DE LA REINA” (EDUCA, 15 de julio de 2014)

CFE y PAN presionan a comunidades oaxaqueñas a aceptar proyecto “Paso de la Reina”(Sididh, 16 de julio de 2014)

Denuncian intimidación del Ejército por proyecto de presa Paso de la Reina (EDUCA, 16 de julio de 2014)

Más información de SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Communities opposed to the Paso de la Reina report harassment and intimidation by Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) (28 June 2014)

Oaxaca: The Diocese of Puerto Escondido expresses its full support to the communities in resistance to hydro project Paso de la Reina (June 13, 2014)

National: National Program on Infrastructure presents projects with possible effects for the populace (May 16, 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Peaceful protest by COPUDEVER to mark “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life” (March 28, 2014)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER and EDUCA present report on “Paso de la Reina” (July 19, 2013)


Oaxaca: New threats to Código DH due to its accompaniment of processes in the Isthmus

July 19, 2014


banner03

The Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH) denounced that on 8 July it received a telephone call to its office threatening personnel from the organization for having accompanied penal processes that continue in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  In a second call, made just minutes later, threats were made against members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), who have been accompanied by Código DH for their opposition to the construction of wind-energy plants.

It should be mentioned that both Código DH and the APPJ have been the object of physical attacks, death-threats, harassment, and intimidation; the state of Oaxaca is one of the most dangerous in which to work for the defense of human rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

CODIGO DH recibe nuevas amenazas (Código DH, 8 de julio de 2014)

104 casos, 171 personas defensoras y 409 agresiones (Animal Político, 7 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón leave community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Harassment and robbery of offices of Consorcio (14 November 2011)

Oaxaca: new intimidation directed at Alba Cruz (18 January 2011)

Oaxaca: attack on union leader Marcelino Coache (20 May 2010)

 


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)


National: Secondary laws on telecommunications approved, despite protests

July 19, 2014


Monterrey, abril 2014 Foto @ Gabriela Pérez Montiel / Cuartoscuro.com

Monterrey, April 2014 Photo @ Gabriela Pérez Montiel / Cuartoscuro.com

On 9 July, the Mexican Congress approved the secondary laws contained within the telecommunications reform.  Some of the main points of these laws are to allow firms to be declared preponderant by sector rather than by given services, thus ensuring the predominance of the TV duopoly (Televisa and TV Azteca) in the telecommunications market, and that providers are required to retain histories of the communications engaged in by users so that these can be consulted for security reasons.  Furthermore, other controversial points included the possibility that authorities could plant a listening device whenever and wherever they choose in the supposed investigation of a crime or for “security reasons”; also, the State would be allowed the right to block telecommunications traffic in a predetermined geographical area.

The corresponding legal process was marked by numerous irregularities, beginning with the participation of legislators who have labor, capital, or family ties with media corporations (“telebancada”) who had to excuse themselves from the congressional debates due to a possible conflict of interests.  The PRD Secretary General said that “this is not a PRD vote,” making reference to the three PRD senators from Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Morelos who voted in favor of the bill; these elements belong to the New Left current and are better known as the “Chuchos,” a group led by Jesús Ortega Martínez that counts as its member the national president of political power, Jesús Zambrano Grijalva.  This law, in accordance with those who oppose it, is qualified as a “Televisa-Peña Law” and a “gift” to the television corporations to thank them for their support during the presidential campaign, as the PAN Senator Javier Corral Jurado argued.  “It is a true disgrace; those who have voted for this article are giving money to Enrique Peña Nieto to allow him to pay back past campaign favors, or even to finance future ones (2015 and 2018),” noted Jurado, who is secretary of the Commission on Radio, Television, and Film.

In other news, due to the limitations imposed on communal and indigenous radios in the new law, the International Agency for Indigenous Press (AIPIN) has been studying the possibility of requesting a juridical motion to arrest the approval of this law, considering it to amount to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples to engage in communication.  Besides, the law has not been consulted with indigenous communities, as is required by the Constitution and Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

For more information (in Spanish):

Telecomunicaciones: legislativo claudicante (La Jornada, 4 de julio de 2014)

Frente por la Comunicación Democrática Capítulo Oaxaca Pronunciamiento ante la Ley Telecom (Educa, 2 de julio de 2014)

La Ley de Telecomunicaciones debe proteger plenamente los derechos humanos: AI (Amnistía Internacional, 3 de julio de 2014)

Audio:

Consejo Consultivo de Pueblos Indígenas y Afromexicanos de Oaxaca(Colectivo Buen Vivir, 2 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Protests on the rise against Law on Telecommunications (3 May 2014)


National: Social organizations carry out “Disjointed National Mobilization” to demand release of political prisoners

July 14, 2014

movilizacion8julio

Photo (@EDUCA)

On 8 July, members of 38 social organizations organized a “Disjointed National Mobilization” involving roadblocks and protests in Mexico City, Yucatán, Chiapas, Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, Morelos, and Chihuahua. The mobilization was organized to demand the release of Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Enedina Rosas Vélez, and Abraham Cordero Calderón, who have been imprisoned in Puebla state since April of this year for their opposition to the Comprehensive Morelos Project (PIM).

PIM, which is overseen by the Federal Electricity Commission, seeks to build two geothermal plants as well as an aqueduct and a gas pipeline to supply these plants; the additional infrastructure would cross the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala.  The construction works are being conceded to transnational firms, both Spanish and Italian.

Also during the mobilization, organizations demanded the release of Marco Antonio Suastegui, spokesperson for the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), who was detained in the state of Nayarit on 17 June.  The member organizations note in a communique that “we cannot allow the bad governments to continue imprisoning members of our people so that the conquistadores of today who own the large transnational corporations have all the ability to continue looting us of our land, polluting our nature, threatening our life, destroying our culture, and violating our rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado Mobilización Dislocada Nacional 8 de julio 2014 (Alianza Única del Valle, 26 junio 2014)

Exigen liberación de activistas y cancelación de megaproyectos (EDUCA, 8 de julio de 2014)

Protestas en 8 estados por el Proyecto Integral Morelos (La Jornada, 8 de julio de 2014)

Campesinos de Ixtapa anuncian movilización (Reporte Ciudadano, 7 de julio de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: 13 días de ayuno y oración de Alejandro Díaz Santis para pedir por su liberación (8 de julio de 2014)

Guerrero: Organizaciones exigen la inmediata liberación del vocero del CECOP, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz (27 de junio de 2014)

Guerrero: Operativo policial detiene a opositor de la presa de La Parota(17 de junio de 2014)


Guerrero: Indigenous community requests that the SCJN review the Mining Law

July 14, 2014

Conferencia de prensa en el Centro Prodh Foto (@Alina Vallejo, Sididh)

Press conference at the Prodh Center
Photo (@Alina Vallejo, Sididh)

On 29 June in Mexico City, representatives of the Me’phaa indigenous community of San Miguel del Progreso-Júba Wajiín (Malinaltepec municipality), organized a press conference together with the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights at which they requested that the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) “analyze for the first time if the Mining Law which exists is compatible with the Constitution and international human-rights treaties.”  It is important to recall that on 12 February 2014, the community was granted a court case against two mining concessions that had been awarded to transnational firms without any sort of prior informed consent within at least 84% of the affected territory.  The victory represented a historical moment for the rights of indigenous peoples.

At the conference, the San Miguel del Progreso-Júba Wajiín community recalled that on 13 March 2014, the Economy Minister presented the Resource for Review through which the federal government has tried to overturn said sentence by appealing to the existing mining law to claim that the human rights of the community have in no case been violated, given that the legislation does not demand free prior and informed consent in the case of mining concessions.

Lastly, the representatives of the Me’phaa community stressed the need for and importance of reviewing the Mining Law, not only for their own community, but also for all the communities that have been affected by the awarding of mining concessions on their lands.  In this way, they indicated that it could provide the Supreme Court another chance to limit the looting of land by clearly establishing the rights of peoples and of indigenous communities.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunidad me’phaa llama a SCJN a revisar Ley Minera (Sididh, 30 de junio de 2014)

Obtiene comunidad indígena Me’phaa amparo inédito contra concesión minera (NAR, 29 de junio de 2014)

Indígenas Me’phaa de Guerrero ganan histórico amparo contra mineras(Entresemana, 2 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/Mexico/Latin America: Grave challenges to Goldcorp and other Canadian mining firms (May 3, 2014)

Guerrero: Ejidatarios from Carrizalillo to sue mining company before the Agrarian Tribunal (29 April 2014)

Guerrero: ejidatarios of Los Filos close gold mine in Carrizalillo (10 April 2014)

In Focus: The unsustainability of the Extractive Mineral Model (May 2013)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)


Mexico/Latin America: The TPP prosecutes Canadian mining companies

June 12, 2014

tpp-canadaFrom May 29 to June 1, the first meeting of the Peoples’ Permanent Tribunal (TPP) on the Canadian mining industry was held in Montreal (Canada). The TPP is a mechanism that was created in Italy in 1979. In the light of international laws on human rights violations, it examines cases that have exhausted traditional and national mechanisms.

In Latin America, more than 200 social conflicts can be attributed to mining industry. 75% of the mining companies in the world are Canadians. At the hearing, these companies were “accused of violating the fundamental rights of peoples in Latin America.” The Canadian government was criticized for “contributing (…) to the violation of indigenous peoples’ human rights in Latin America, by supporting the mining industry and favoring those companies in a context of impunity.” The TPP stressed that the Canadian government “tolerates or covers up violations of human rights perpetrated by these companies. “

In particular, five companies operating in Latin America, including Blackfire Exploration and Excellon Resources, have been prosecuted for their activities in Mexico.

The Tribunal found that the expansion of Canadian mining in Latin America has been favored both by Canada (using diplomatic pressure on the countries whose resources are exploited), as well as by the governments of those same countries (that facilitate investment and allow corruption and violations of human and environmental rights). Local authorities are accused of being accomplices “when they grant concessions and operating licenses without taking into account the impact that these activities may have on human rights,” and “when they increase the flexibility of their labor, environmental and tax regulations to promote the interests of mining companies,” responding to the “undue influence on the reform of the mining and environmental legislation” by the Canadian state.

The Tribunal noted that among the rights violated almost systematically by Canadian mining companies are found the following: the right to water, health, a healthy environment, the right to security and physical integrity, the right to self-determination, the right to participation, consultation and prior consent, the right to expression and protest, the right to fair and just working conditions, and freedom of association.

The TPP’s preliminary verdict stressed the responsibility of mining companies “for human rights violations (…), as well as the responsibility of the Canadian State and of countries where the natural resources are exploited by these companies because they haven’t prevented or have facilitated, tolerated and covered up such violations.  In practice, too, they have prevented victims’ access to justice for such violations. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Veredicto preliminar del TPP (1er de junio de 2014)

Piden justicia en Canadá por asesinato de Mariano Abarca (Chiapas Paralelo, 4 de junio de 2014)

Del total de conflictos mineros en América Latina, 90% son con empresas canadienses (La Jornada, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Empresas mineras al banquillo de los acusados por generar 200 conflictos sociales (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Guerrero/Mexico/Latin America: Grave challenges to Goldcorp and other Canadian mining firms (May 3, 2014)

Guerrero: Ejidatarios from Carrizalillo to sue mining company before the Agrarian Tribunal (29 April 2014)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers