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)


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


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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)


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)


Oaxaca / National: Assault on teacher Damian Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco

June 13, 2014
Demostration of teachers from Oaxaca (@Sección XX)

Demostration of teachers from Oaxaca (@Sección XX)

The Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH), reported that on May 26, the teacher Damian Gallardo Martinez, was attacked in the jail in Salto, Jalisco, where he is imprisoned having been accused of kidnapping the children of a Oaxacan entrepreneur. A criminal complaint was presented to investigate the facts, since his relatives fear he might be victimized by a new assault. Martínez Gallardo’s defense asked the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) to issue precautionary measures to ensure his physical and psychological integrity.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acusa Limeddh que Gallardo es hostigado aún estando preso (Enfoque Oaxaca, 5 de junio de 2014)

LIMEDDH denuncia que Damián Gallardo fue atacado en el penal del Salto, Jalisco (NSS Oaxaca, 5 de junio de 2014)

Piden a CNDH medidas cautelares para Damián Gallardo (Quadratín Oaxaca, 5 de junio de 2014)


National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmentalists

June 12, 2014
Demostration against the Paso de la Reina Dam in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ)

Demostration against the Paso de la Reina Dam in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ)

The Mexican Environmental Law Center (CEMDA) announced that, between 2009 and 2012, 51 environmental activists were attacked in Mexico. 23 of those cases were murders and two are of forced disappearance.

Andrea Ulisse Cerami, responsible for Defense and Public Policy at CEMDA, also mentioned: “We have a record of cases but we believe there might be many more of them, because several defenders do not even report those aggressions. We believe that there are more; there are cases of persons that come to us and express that they are afraid to denounce. “

These attacks occur when communities oppose development projects of different types. The projects are imposed in their territories without consulting them, although they may imply the sale or abandonment of their lands.

According to Andrea Ulisse Cerami, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders, and it is among the 5 countries that have received the most complaints. The states with the highest number of reported assaults are Guerrero and the state of Mexico. The cases of Oaxaca and Chiapas, both rich in natural resources, are also notable. “There has been a number of complaints, mainly related to mining. The case of Mariano Abarca Romero, defender of indigenous peoples and anti-mining activist who was killed [in Chiapas], is one of them.”

Finally, the representative of CEMDA emphasized the failure to investigate and punish the perpetrators, “which is the main preventive measure that can be given.” “In the case of murders in recent years, none of them has been clarified. There is the problem of access to justice for environmental defenders. In fact the lack of punishment of those responsible is another measure that encourages new attacks because nobody seems to mind about them.”

For more information (in Spanish)

El CEMDA reporta 51 ataques a activistas del medio ambiente en tres años; hay 23 asesinados y dos desaparecidos (Sinembargo, 5 de junio de 2014)


Oaxaca: the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists

June 10, 2014

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The Network of Female Activists and Human Rights Defenders of Oaxaca announced that, from January 1st to date, 38 attacks on 17 defenders, three journalists, and 5 women’s organizations and/or groups have been recorded in Oaxaca. Those statistics make this the state with the highest number of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico, according to data from the Register of the National Network of Female Human Rights Defenders in Mexico (RNDDHM).

The Network is particularly concerned about the exponential increase in attacks on female journalists that was recorded during the month of May in the state of Oaxaca. It also indicates that impunity in the cases of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists contributes to increase their reproduction.

Therefore, the network asks the government to “guarantee the exercise of the right to defend human rights including the right to information and freedom of expression; the recognition of danger and specific attacks suffered by female human rights defenders and journalists; the design and immediate implementation of preventive and protective measures, in consultation with female defenders and journalists in response to their needs; the prompt investigation and punishment of those responsible for the attacks against the journalists Citlalli Lopez and Alejandra Janet Martinez, as well as in all the attacks against female HR defenders and journalists. “

For more information (in Spanish):
Oaxaca: Primer lugar en ataques a mujeres defensoras de DH y periodistas (Página 3, 23 de mayo de 2014)

Oaxaca, primer lugar en ataques a defensoras de DH y periodistas (Ciudadanía Express, 23 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ:
Oaxaca: One of the most violent and dangerous states for the exercise of journalism (May 16, 2014)


National / International: Global Day of action against Monsanto

June 9, 2014

jornadamundialcontramonsanto24mayo14

On May 24, a second Global Day of action against Monsanto–a multinational company that provides chemicals for agriculture, most of them herbicides, pesticides and GMOs–was organized. Of the 351 marches that took place in the world, 13 of them were in Mexico.

In Mexico City, hundreds of activists held a “Corn Carnival,” under the motto “we want beans, we want corn, we want Monsanto out of the country”. In addition to a march-carnival, workshops, exchange of seeds, urban gardens and mini-milpas were organized. The protesters expressed their opposition to the trade, experimental plantings, and pilot projects of transgenic corn in Mexico. On the other hand, they denounced the agrarian reform currently promoted by the federal government, considering that it aims at privatizing lands.

In both Oaxaca and Chiapas, actions were also performed to collect one million signatures and to send them to President Enrique Peña Nieto so as to get information and respect for the decision to reject GMOs.

For more information (In Spanish):

Queremos maíz y a Monsanto fuera del país, gritaron durante marcha en el DF (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Granos transgénicos, lejos de ser el progreso: Rubén Albarrán (La Jornada, 25 de mayo de 2014)

Preparan marcha-carnaval contra la empresa de transgénicos Monsanto (Proceso, 21 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: International Day of Action against Monsanto and transgenics (June 7, 2013)


Oaxaca: Private agents in service of mining interests detain ex-deputy Flavio Sosa

June 2, 2014

Mina Cuzcatlán en San José del Progreso. Foto @SIPAZ

Mining exploitation in San José del Progreso. Photo @SIPAZ

Armed agents working for the private security firm GIA Private Armed Security detained the former federal and local deputy Flavio Sosa Villavicencio recently for 20 minutes.  This took lace with F. Sosa was taking photos of three trailers belonging to the Canadian Fortune Silver Mines that were traveling on the Oaxaca-Puerto Ángel highway.  They were escorted by patrols belonging to the cited security firm.

These private guards demanded that F. Mosa produce his identification but they withdrew when Federal Attorney General’s Office agents intervened, being the escort for the former deputy.

F. Sosa said that he would analyze possible recourse to legal actions in response to the actions of th private security.

It should be recalled that in March 2012 F. Sosa demanded that the federal government revoke the concessions and permits for the operation of the Fortune Silver Mines in San José del Progreso on the charge that these had been provisioned in an illegal manner.

For more information (in Spanish):

Retiene a Flavio Sosa la minera de San José del Progreso (Oaxaca digital, 21 de mayo de 2014)

Nos aventaron un tráiler, casi no lo libramos”, afirma Flavio sosa ante embate de la minera (Página3, 21 de mayo de 2014)

Elementos de seguridad de minera retiene a Flavio Sosa (Ciudadanía Express, 21 de mayo de 2014)

Retiene a Flavio Sosa la minera de San José del Progreso (Diario Oaxaca, 21 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (16 March 2014)


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