Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 17, 2013

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On 27 April, three years passed since the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, of Finnish origins, who were attacked by an armed group with presumed links to local and state authorities on this day in 2010, as they were traveling in a humanitarian and observation caravan to the Triqui community of San Juan Copala to document the conditions in which dozens of family had been living under conditions of siege.

Members of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), and teachers from Section 22 of the Huajuápan chapter of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), together with other social organizations, on 26 April carried out mobilizations and a march to protest the impunity experienced in the case of these murders.

Omar Esparza Zarate, leader of MAIZ in the Mixteco region and widower of Bety Cariño Trujillo, expressed that “These three years have been difficult, because I not only lost a comrade–the pain is there and will always be there–but also because of all the harassment, intimidation, illegal searches of the office, and sensing that one has to always be on edge due to lack of knowledge of when the aggressors will make good on their death-threats.”  Furthermore, he added that “for three years, we have spoken to the lack of interest on the government’s part to see justice done.  We have not perceived any sort of will to resolve these murders, nor for punishment of those responsible for them, in accordance with the law.”  Finally, Omar Esparza lamented that the state authorities have not observed their commitment, nor have they declared responsibility for the intellectual and material authors of the crimes.  Beyond this, he stressed that the deaths of social activists is certainly a constant feature of life in the country.

For its part, the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) made public that “with relation to these crimes, 12 arrest-orders have been declared against the presumed murderers, among which is included the leaders of UBISORT which one day before the departure of the caravan made serious threats against the physical integrity of our comrades.  We also indicate that ex-governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz should be considered an intellectual author of these bloody acts, given his public recognition of his having financially supported the paramilitary UBISORT group.”Similarly, Amnesty International and Frontline Defenders have reminded the federal and Oaxacan state authorities of their responsibilities to guarantee that these acts not remain in impunity.

For more information (in Spanish):

La herida está ahí y siempre va a estar: Omar Esparza (El Imparcial, 27 de abril de 2013)

UCIZONI: Demandamos castigo para los asesinos de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Kaos en la Red, 26 de abril de 2013)

A 3 años de la muerte de una indígena y un finlandés en Oaxaca (E-Oaxaca, 26 de abril de 2013)

Oaxaca: A tres años del asesinato de defensores de derechos humanos seguimos reclamando justicia (Amnistía Internacional México, 27 de abril de 2013)

México: Se cumple el 3° aniversario del asesinato de la defensora de los derechos humanos Bety Cariño (Frontline Defenders, 27 de abril de 2013)

Audio-video:

Entrevista a Bety Cariño: Sembrando sueños, cosechando esperanzas (Código DH, 27 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders (21 April 2012)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)


Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders

April 21, 2012

(@zapateando.com.mx)

On 17 April, members of different civil and social organizations carried out a meeting in front of the headquarters of the Federal Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City to demand the clarification of the murder of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola that occurred on 27 April 2010 when they were attempting to bring humanitarian support to the community of San Juan Copala in the Triqui region of the state of Oaxaca.  Protestors demanded that authorities conclude with their investigations, “given that they now have all the necessary evidence and testimony, and it is just a question of political will to resolve it.”

They announced that they will submit an international criminal denunciation against the Oaxacan ex-governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (2004-2010).  Beyond this, the Cariño family declared that it will next week visit Finland, Jaakkola’s country of origin, to officially submit the denunciation against Ruiz for his responsibility for the crime.  “Yes, it is necessary to go to the other side of the world to find justice, so that is how we will do it,” signaled Omar Esparza, Bety Cariño’s husband.

In the protest participated organizations like the Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement, the Mexican Alliance for the Self-Determination of Peoples, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, and Campesino and Urban Communities in Solidarity with Alternatives, among others.

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden aclarar asesinato de Cariño y Jaakkola (La Jornada, 18 de abril de 2012)

OSC anuncian denuncia penal internacional contra Ulises Ruíz a dos años del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Boletín de Prensa MAIZ  / Alianza Mexicana por la Auto Determinación de los Pueblos, 17 de abril de 2012)

Convocan a protesta para exigir detención de homicidas de activistas (Proceso, 30 de marzo de 2012)

For more information (in Spanish):

Oaxaca: Triquis return to their communities after 16 months of sit-in (8 February 2012)

Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: justice demanded for San Juan Copala

December 14, 2011

Reyna Flores Matrínez (@sanjuancopalaoaxaca.wordpress.com)

In light of the lack of responses by the state government 16 months after their having been expelled from San Juan Copala, displaced women from the Triqui zone have announced that they will engage in a walking march starting on 19 December from the communities of Agua Fría, Santa Cruz Tilapa, and Yosoyuxi toward the capital.  In a press-conference, Reyna Martínez, representative of the group, lamented that to date, and despite the 27 murders in the zone, there have been launched only three criminal investigations, and that in any case substantial advances in the investigation of the events are lacking.  She also denounced the lack of interest on the part of the government to find a solution to the problem, “given that in recent months this has been in the hands of low-ranking officials who have no capacity for creating solutions.”

In other news, following the announcement on 8 December that there would be presented at the European Parliament the report of the Euro-deputies Satu Hassi (Finland) and Franziska Keller (Germany) after their official visit to Mexico last September (a presentation that was deferred to the subsequent year), several media have published articles on said report which identifies several challenges regarding investigations into the murder of activists Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño, which occurred on 27 April 2010 near San Juan Copala: “Change does not come overnight, and now a new party has come into power in Oaxaca following 70 years of PRI governments.  Regardless, lack of coordination between federal and state levels, the co-existence of different judicial systems, and the poor existing standards for investigations continue to serve as obstacles for there to be significant progress, despite the efforts of the government.”  The report also indicates that “We fear that without political will to delimit responsibilities, impunity will continue to prevail.  People feel that the credibility of the Mexican State is at stake.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe europeo: Los crímenes de San Juan Copala, puras disculpas (Proceso, 2 December)

Realizarán mujeres desplazados de Copala caminata a la capital(Noticiasnet.mx, 7 December)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October 2010)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)


Oaxaca: Third National Forum “Weaving Resistance in Defense of our territories”

June 8, 2011

Photo @ Colectivo Oaxaqueño

On 20 and 21 May was held the Third National Forum “Weaving Resistance in Defense of Our Territories” in Capulálpam de Méndez, Oaxaca, where 59 indigenous communities and 51 social and civil organizations pronounced themselves regarding respect for their collective rights regarding property and natural resources, following a profound reflection having to do with the principal problems faced by indigenous communities and peoples.  They expressed during the day that “in light of the lack of efficient legal resources for the defense of collective rights, we peoples today find ourselves in resistance so as to protect the natural resources of our territories, such as water, forests, biodiversity, as well as to show our self-determination as a legitimate right of the people.”

In this event the indigenous people of Capulálpam declared the “Y” territory located in a sacred mountain in the same municipality as “historical communal territory for the recharging of aquifers,” affirming that “this patrimony of Capulálpam will never be the object of exploitation.”

The forum also expressed its solidarity with the struggles in Capulálpam de Méndez against the mining project of La Natividad; Santa Cruz Itundujia, against the Federal Commission on Electricity; the Coordination of United Peoples in Defense of Water, in the Valley of Ocotlán; San José Progeso, against the mining project of the Cuzcatlán firm; the council of United Peoples in Defense of the Río Verde, against the hydroelectric project Paso de la Reyna; the Ecologist Front Agua San Felipe, for the defense of water; the Wixárrica people, for the defense of its ceremonial center and the struggles for territorial defense taken in the state and the country, as well as demanding justice for the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaratoria del tercer foro regional: Tejiendo la Resistencia en Defensa de Nuestros Territorios, CENCOS, 24 May 2011

Pueblos Indígenas exigen respeto a sus territorios frente a proyectos depredadores de sus recursos naturales, Realidad Oaxaca, 23 May 2011

DECLARACIÓN DEL TERRITORIO HISTÓRICO COMUNAL DE RECARGA DE ACUIFEROS LA “Y”, Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 24 May 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Forum Building Resistance in Defense of our Territory (27 April 2009)


Oaxaca: Detention of Rufino Juárez, director of UBISORT

June 2, 2011

On 12 May Rufino Juárez Hernández, director of Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT), was arrested.  He is suspected to be one of those responsible for the grave climate of violence experienced lately in the Triqui region, particularly the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.

In accordance with information released by the State Police, Juárez Hernández is accused of being the intellectual author of the murder of Celestino Hernández Cruz, who belongs to the Movement for the Unification of Triqui Struggle-Independent (MULTI).  This was a murder registered on 17 April 2010 in the center of San Juan Copala.

Rufino Juárez is also a suspect in the attack on the humanitarian caravan that was head to San Juan Copala on 27 April 2010 in which were killed Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.  Days before the departure of the caravan, Juárez Hernández publicly made grave threats to the lives and security of its members.

MULTI and UBISORT, as well as the Movement for Unification of Triqui Struggle (MULT), conflict over local power in the Triqui region, as has been reflected in the high levels of violence employed by militants associated with each of these organizations.  In 2010 at least 36 murders were counted in that region of the state of Oaxaca, all of them the result of different ambushes.

Amnesty International hopes that this action on the part of the State Attorney General’s Office will constitute the beginning of actions taken to dismantle the armed illegal groups found in the region and to put an end to the impunity that has left anxiety among a people that has been subjected to attacks and harassment.  The organization hopes that this judicial action will be the prelude to further clarifications regarding the murder of the human rights defenders Alberta “Bety” Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola as well as clarifications on the presumed ties to be found among municipal and state authorities  and illegal armed groups like UBISORT.

Non-governmental organizations believe this detention is no act of goodwill or concession on the part of the Oaxaca state government but rather the product of national and international pressure to demand justice for the murder of Bety and Jyri.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen por homicidio a líder triqui en Oaxaca, El Universal, 14 May 2011

Acusan de homicidio a líder de la Ubisort, Enfoque Oaxaca, 13 May 2011

México: Un primer paso hacia la justicia en la región Triqui de Oaxaca, Amnistía Internacional

Pronunciamiento Público, Zapateando, 18 May 2011

Comunicado de Prensa, Viento Nuevo, 24 May 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala is dismantled (30 September 2010)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October)


Oaxaca: impunity continues, one year after the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 4, 2011

On 27 April 2010, Bety Cariño (human-rights defender and member of the organization Center for Communal Support Working Together-CACTUS) and Jyri Jaakkola (a Finnish human-rights observer) were murdered while participating in a humanitarian caravan en route to San Juan Copala.

Non-governmental organizations, university collectives, and members of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala paid the two their respects and denounced the impunity of the case by means of different activities taken up in Oaxaca as elsewhere in the country and the world.  For their part, 250 displaced individuals from San Juan Copala marched to demand justice once again.

Significantly, on the day before the one-year anniversary, Omar Esparza Zárate, husband to Bety and member of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), together with Fernando Urbano Morales of CACTUS, were detained for 8 hours by federal police on the Mexico-Oaxaca highway.  By means of a communiqué, CACTUS denounced that “Beyond arbitrariness, we know that this arrest takes place within a context of violence, harrassment, and repression against human-rights defenders and ‘coincides’ as well with the fact that tomorrow 27 April marks one year of the murder of our comrade Bety Cariño, shot by paramilitary bullets in the humanitarian caravan to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.  This shows the intentionality of the Mexican State to intimidate and terrify those who have since last year demanded justice for the founder of CACTUS and other social activists who have been incarcerated and murdered in this period of mobilization and social repression.”  CACTUS noted that the activities called for to demand justice for the murders of Bety and Jyri would carry on regardless.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April 2010)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)


Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño

September 6, 2010

The parents of Jyri Jaakkola during a press-conference (@ La Jornada)

At the end of August arrived in Mexico Eeva and Raimo Jaakkola, parents of Jyri Jaakkola, the Finnish activist who was murdered on 27 April while participating in a civil mission of observation headed to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá in the Triqui region of the state of Oaxaca.  Eeva and Raimo visited the country to demand the clarification of the death of their son and that of social activist Alberta Cariño as well as to “meet with the friends of Jyri,” according to Eeva.

According to media sources, Jyri’s parents met with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the governor-elect of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, though they rejected the possibility of having an audience with the actual governor of the state, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who has been said to have links with the group that has been claimed as responsible for the 27 April attack, the Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT).  Eeva and Raimo had planned to visit the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá, but these plans were cancelled following an August 22 attack in the Triqui region in which three members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULT-I) were killed.

Jyri’s parents participated in a press-conference on 24 August in Distrito Federal, together with Alberto Herrera, executive director of Amnesty International Mexico; David Peña, from the National Association of Democratic Lawyers; and Omar Esparza Zárate, Bety’s husband.  In their comments Jyri’s parents stressed that “[t]hose who defend the most marginalized groups are often the ones who face the greatest risks.” They called on Mexican authorities to “punish those responsible” for the 27 April attack, and they requested that President Calderón help them.  With regard to the ongoing situation in the Triqui region, Eeva emphasized that “as mother to Jyri I feel a great sense of solidarity with the Triqui women who have lost their sons,” adding that “I am affected to know that what happened to my son and to Bety also has happened to many other human-rights defenders in Mexico.” This was taken up by Raimo, who expressed concern regarding the possibility that what happened to Jyri and Bety could also happen to other human-rights defenders.

Reflecting on the life and death of Jyri, Eeva said the following:

“We are proud of his manner of thinking and living–his understanding of solidarity was to share one’s life with its joys and sadness, but also with its risks.  We want justice for him, but also for the people with whom he lived and worked.  It is very important that the case of Jyri and Bety be resolved [...].  We hope that the resolution of their murders represent a step toward the changing of the culture of impunity, and that it guarantee security for indigenous peoples and human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Defending human rights in Mexico can cost one’s life: parents of Jaakkola (La Jornada, 24 August)

Parents of Finnish activist Jyri Jaakkola demand justice (La Jornada, 25 August)

Silent march of Triquis in Oaxaca demands justice for 3 victims of paramilitary group (La Jornada, 30 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29 April)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June)


Oaxaca: Urgent Action in the case of Padre Uvi

August 13, 2010

Padre Uvi (@ Colectivo Pinotepa)

On Thursday 5 August, the Regional Center for Human Rights “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A.C. (Barca), located in Oaxaca de Juárez, released an Urgent Action regarding the case of Father R. Fco. Wilfrido Mayrén Peláez, also known as Padre Uvi.  The Urgent Action emphasized the work Padre Uvi has engaged in on human rights since the year 1992, being the founder of Barca.  It disclosed that Padre Uvi has supported the social-organizational process of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala in the Triqui region, approaching different media and international organizations “so that they be familiar with the situation that prevails in the area.” He denounced the killing of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola on 27 April of this year, presumably prosecuted by members of the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), and he has taken on the defense of Padre Martín Octavio García Ortiz following his kidnapping by strangers on 19 June.

Barca’s communiqué relates that two representatives from the European Parliament requested asylum from Padre Uvi on 2 July after realizing that they were being pursued by members of UBISORT after having held a meeting in which had been discussed the situation in San Juan Copalá.  It mentions that UBISORT has accused Padre Uvi of being responsible for the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of this organization, on 30 July.  Barca emphasizes that “the attacks directed against father [Uvi] worry us, given that they are increasingly frequent and threatening,” adding that “unfortunately here in Oaxaca, there are many cases of attacks on human-rights defenders, and we believe that people from the government and complying groups could make attempts against the physical and psychological integrity of [Padre Uvi], given that the government has protected with all impunity some groups in the state, as is the case with UBISORT.” Barca made a call to “all those social human-rights organizations, people, and international media to be conscious of and endorse the responsibility of the Mexican State to guarantee security and protect the lives and work of human-rights defenders in Oaxaca.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Barca Urgent Action in full (5 de agosto)

Millenarians and subversive activists reject the army among the Triquis (Despertar, 2 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: more violence in the Triqui region following the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of UBISORT and brother to Rufino Juárez Hernández (13 August 2010)

Oaxaca: Update on the case of Padre Martín (19 July)

Oaxaca: arrest of cleric following killings of PRI functionaries in San José el Progreso (30 June)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan — 2 dead and 4 missing (29 April)


Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá

June 21, 2010

On June 8, the humanitarian support caravan “Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola,” composed of some 300 people, left from the Oaxacan municipality of Huajuapan for San Juan Copalá to deliver between 30 and 35 tons of food to the autonomous municipality that has for months been surrounded by members of the group Union for the Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT for the Spanish acronym), which is linked to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The caravan was not able to enter the community due to a blockade that UBISORT members had created on the road to San Juan Copalá; the road-block was made up of a line of stones at the location of  La Pavimentada and a group of Triqui women guarded by armed men, including Rufino Hernandez Juarez, leader of UBISORT.

Participating in the caravan were residents of San Juan Copalá, members of the Other Campaign, deputies from the PRD and PT, members of the Mexican Alliance for the Self-Determination of Peoples (AMAP), the Mexican Union of Electrical Workers (SME), the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC), other civil society organizations, members of the Catholic church, human rights groups, environmentalists from various Mexican states, as well as journalists and European observers. The caravan was escorted by 500 officers of the State Preventative Police (PEP), who according to accounts recommended that the members of the caravan desist from continuing in face of the UBISORT road-block. After hearing gun shots fired near the blockade, the caravan leaders concluded that conditions were lacking to continue and so decided to return to Huajuapan to ensure the safety of the caravan members.

According to the analysis of Jorge Albino Ortiz, a representative of San Juan Copalá and coordinator of the caravan, state police laid a “fence” on the road to the autonomous municipality on June 8 precisely to protect UBISORT. He asserted that the police actions against the caravan show the state government’s support for this organization and added that the state administration acts in this way to negate the autonomous project that has been developed in the municipality since 2007.

According to Romualdo Wilfrido Mayrén Peláez, coordinator of the Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace with the archdiocese of Oaxaca, there has since 8 June been considered the possibility that the International Red Cross and the United Nations deliver the tons of food currently stored in Huajuapan to San Juan Copalá.  He also mentioned the  prospect of organizing another caravan, this one composed entirely of women.

The area remains very tense. In the words of Triqui activist Marcos Albino, “Triqui children have not had been able to have childhoods, given the climate of violence encouraged by the governor Ulises Ruiz.” Mayrén Peláez, legal representative of the archdiocese of Oaxaca, has argued that “what is happening in San Juan Copala is a war: there are disappearances, deaths and aggressions.” For his part, the PRD legislator, Alejandro Encinas, announced in early June that he expected the Organization of American States and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to appoint a representative to document human-rights violations in the area.

Solidarity marches also took place on the 8th in Mexico City, Queretaro, and Oaxaca de Juarez. The demonstrations in Mexico City, organized by female Triquis, students, and members of civil society organizations, were met by riot police who attacked their members. In Queretaro, the demonstrators demanded security guarantees for the caravan as well as a speed-up of the investigation by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) in San Juan Copalá. In Oaxaca de Juarez, members of Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL) engaged in a roadblock, during which electoral propaganda promoting the candidacy of Eviél Perez Magaña (PRI-Green Ecologist) in state elections to be held in early July was burned. According to David Venegas, a member of VOCAL, these activities were coordinated with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).

In a statement released on June 10, the editors of La Jornada asserted that impunity in Oaxaca, experienced in relation to the Triqui region, reflects that “the rule of law [there] is nonexistent.” For his part, Miguel Concha, president of the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vitoria, said that the inability of the new caravan to enter San Juan Copalá “confirms that there are armed groups that are out of control or protected by the government Oaxaca,” a conclusion that is shared by David Peña, of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, who said in an interview that “in this region of Oaxaca there is an absence of the rule of law [...]. There, the one who commands an armed group, is clearly paramilitary.” Peña added that “we can’t conceive that an armed group has more power and control in the region that both governments [i.e. state and federal]. “

For more information (in Spanish):

With road-blocks and shots the humanitarian convoy is prevented from reaching San Juan Copala (La Jornada, 9 June)

They are protected by the police (La Jornada, 10 June)

The real war of the Mexican government, against indigenous peoples: a special report (La Jornada, 12 June)

The International Red Cross is asked to take supplies to San Juan Copala (La Jornada, 10 June)

The prospect that a female-only caravan be sent to Copala is considered (La Jornada, 9 June)

Security in San Juan Copala worsens; attacks reach other communities, it is said (La Jornada, 3 June)

Solidarity marches in 3 locations (La Jornada, 8 June)

Riot-police in the capital obstruct march in support of aid-caravan (La Jornada, 9 June)

Copala: violence and power-vacuum (La Jornada, 10 de junio)

Blog of the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala

Cyber-action for San Juan Copala: All with the Caravan Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: On the “International and National Humanitarian Caravan Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakola” to San Juan Copala (8 June 2010)

Oaxaca: The Peace Network’s Communiqué on the Caravan to San Juan Copala (9 June 2010)


Oaxaca: the Peace Network’s Communiqué on the Caravan to San Juan Copala

June 9, 2010

The caravan en route to San Juan Copala ©La Jornada

The Peace Network, comprised of civil human-rights organizations in Chiapas, and of which SIPAZ is a part, demands security-guarantees for the members of the “National and International Humanitarian Caravana Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola” as well as for the population of the region to which the caravan is headed.  Below, we share the communiqué in full.

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

7 June 2010

* We demand security-guarantees for the caravan headed to San Juan Copala

* Solidarity group from Chiapas joins the caravan

The Peace Network, comprised of civil human-rights organizations in the state of Chiapas, calls on Felipe Calderón, president of Mexico, and on Ulises Ruíz Ortiz, governor of the state of Oaxaca, to guarantee the security of human-rights defenders, observers, and residents of the community of San Juan Copala.

We are alarmed at the current situation in San Juan Copala, given the violence seen on 27 April, when members of a caravan–human-rights defenders, both national and international, together with journalists–were ambushed in La Sabana by UBISORT (Union of Social Welfare for the Triqui Region) while en route to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala.

The Peace Network is aware that, on 8 June, a new caravan will embark to take aid and basic necessities to the population that has been isolated, that has received no attention, that lacks basic services from local authorities.  We are also aware that a solidarity group from Chiapas will join the caravan to San Juan Copala.

We organizations that make up the Network call on state and federal authorities to guarantee the protection of the members of the caravan, as well as the men, women, and children of the Triqui region of Oaxaca.

It is important to stress that the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) has recognized the importanceof the work of human-rights defenders, indicating that “respect for human rights in a democratic State depends in large part on the effective and adequate guarantees enjoyed by human-rights defenders, so that they can freedly engage in their activities.  Special attention should be paid to actions that limit or constitute obstacles for the work of human-rights defenders.”

Member-organizations of the Peace Network

Educación para la Paz (Edupaz)

Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas de Acción Comunitaria, A.C. (Ciepac)

Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C. (Desmi)

The International Service for Peace (Sipaz)

Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria, A.C. (Coreco)

Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación A.C. (Enlace CC)

Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz, A.C. (Serapaz)

Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas, A.C. (CDMCH)

Centro de Derechos Indígenas, A.C. (Cediac)

Comité de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada, A.C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, A.C. (Frayba)

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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