Oaxaca: new journalist’s murder

August 30, 2014
Octavio  Rojas Hernández (El Buen Tono)

Octavio Rojas Hernández (El Buen Tono)

On August 11, the director of Social Communication of the municipality of San José Cosolapa, Oaxaca and collaborator of the newspaper “El Buen Tono” in Veracruz, Octavio Rojas Hernández was shot dead. His recent articles were about “Chupaductos” referring to a band that was “milking” Pemex pipelines. His research pointed that among those responsible were policemen from the municipality. The chief information officer of El Buen Tono said that this murder has to do directly with these notes. He thus demanded that the police investigation considers this line of research: “For us, the family and even sources within the city council, we all believe it is because of his articles. The Attorney should deepen that line of investigation, investigate well and deal with the consequences. “

Darío Ramírez, Director for Mexico and Central America of ARTICLE 19, an organization that protects the rights of journalists, “the murder of Octavio Rojas is a sad reminder of the latent danger to those who do journalism in Mexico. The murder must not go unpunished, even though all indications are that it will, according to previous cases. If we want a secure and free press, the first thing we need to do is to fight the most poignant sign of encouragement for future aggressions: impunity. “

In an alert related to the case, ARTICLE 19 said they it has documented from January 1, 2007 to the first semester of 2014, at least 139 attacks on the press in Oaxaca, which stand out as one of the three Mexican states with more aggression against reporters in seven years (the first place is the Federal District and the second, Veracruz). Of the total of agressions, four have been murders, 75 physical attacks, 27 threats, 13 acts of intimidation and six arbitrary arrests, to name a few of them. In 58 percent of cases, the alleged perpetrators of the attacks are public officials. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Ejecutan en Oaxaca a funcionario y corresponsal del diario “El Buen Tono” (Proceso, 12 de agosto de 2014)

Asesinan a balazos funcionario en Oaxaca (El Universal, 12 de agosto de 2014)

Otro periodista fue asesinado: Van 79 homicidios contra periodistas desde 2000 (Animal Político, 13 de agosto de 2014)

ALERTA: Procuraduría de Oaxaca no debe descartar vínculo profesional de comunicador asesinado (Artículo 19, 12 de agosto de 2014)

Página http://www.elbuentono.com.mx/

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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


National/Oaxaca: Father Solalinde declares that migrant flows will not diminish amidst imposition of new federal measures

August 5, 2014

Padre Alejandro Solalinde (@MPJD)

Padre Alejandro Solalinde (@MPJD)

If the number of undocumented migrants who have boarded the “Beast” (this being the train that travels from Arriaga, Chiapas, to Ixtepec, Oaxaca) seems to have diminished since the declarations made by the federal Secretary of Governance, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, that migrants would not be allowed to travel this way, Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, priest and recognized rights-defender for migrants, assured for his part that said policy would only increase the risks of travel without inhibiting migratory flows.

According to a report in La Jornada, Solalinde denounced that “Osorio Chong seeks to suppress the human rights of migrants; he is digging their graves even before they leave their countries.  He will be the only one responsible for whatever happens to the Central Americans.”

For his part, Alberto Donis Rodríguez, who heads the “Brothers on the Path” migrant home in Ixtepec, affirmed that the number of migrants continues steady, as train travel has now been replaced by overland routes on the highways.

Carlos Bartolo Solís, director of the Migrant Home of Compassion in Arriaga, Chiapas, affirmed that according to testimony from Central American migrants, masked armed men dressed in civilian clothes (presumably federal police) travel on the trains to persecute and detain migrants.

For more information (in Spanish):

Cava Osorio Chong tumbas de migrantes al impedirles viajar en La Bestia: Solalinde (1ero de agosto de 2014)

Sacerdote mexicano critica decisión contra viajes en la Bestia (Prensa Latina, 1ero de julio de 2014)

Flujo migratorio continuará pese a amenazas de Osorio Chong, asegura Solalinde (Página3.mx, 31 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Chiapas: March from Suchiate river to denounce abuses against migrants, and beginning of hunger strike (29 April 2013)


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)


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