Chiapas: Presentation of annual report from the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, “Between official cynicism and popular dignity”

October 12, 2014


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On 8 October, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its annual report, entitled “Human Rights under Debate: Between official cynicism and popular dignity,” which corresponds to the period between January 2013 and July 2014, as based in information compiled in Chiapas.  Those who spoke on the panel to present the report were Dolores González Saravia, director of Services and Assessment for Peace (SERAPAZ); Fray Gonzalo Ituarte, member of the directive council of the CDHFBC; and  José Javier Avilés Arreola, vicar for justice and peace from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese.

The report is comprised of four chapters.  First, “Faces of plunder,” describes how “the governments seek to commodify the Earth and land”; second, a discourse on the defense of human rights, and third, the impacts of the armed internal conflict in Chiapas on the national system.  In the fourth chapter, it is written that “life, death, and rebirth is resignified by those who survived the Acteal massacre , those who testify about the terror of the crimes against humanity committed in the northern zone of Chiapas, the continued impunity in the case of the Viejo Velasco massacre, and the invisibilization of our disappeared, among other stories that have lacerated humanity.  Despite this, the spirit of searching for truth and justice is the path that illuminates our path amidst the war standing,” as the CDHFBC indicated in its press-bulletin.

On 20 October, the report will also be presented at the Lamm Cultural Center in Mexico City.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe: Los derechos humanos a debate “Entre el cinismo oficial y la Dignidad de los Pueblos”

Presenta Frayba su Informe Anual: Los Derechos Humanos a Debate(Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 5 de octubre de 2014)

Audio – Video:Informe Frayba 2014 – Presentación (Ustream.tv)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre

September 2, 2014

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

On 22 August, at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), the Las Abejas Civil Society published a new communiqué to commemorate the five years since the beginning of the release of the formerly imprisoned persons who had been considered responsible for the Acteal massacre of December 1997. Since August 2009, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) has allowed 54 of the 70 who were sentenced to be released in this sense. Some of those who have been released were allowed to go freely without warning the public about this, as in the case of Roberto Méndez Gutiérrez, a “paramilitary commander and confessed patricipant in the Acteal massacre.” Amidst this tendency, members of Los Abejas declared that “our memory tells us that this Supreme Court has been converted for us into the ‘Supreme Court for the rich and criminals of the Nation'; this court is the expression of the justice system in Mexico, which is rotten.”

The Acteal massacre and the impunity that prevails in the case to date, stressed Las Abejas, form part of the low-intensity warfare being promoted in the region by the “bad government.” Las Abejas indicated furthermore that the repression, murders, and massacres are a consequence fo the “commercial traties” which Mexico has signed with rich countries, toward the end of “exterminating the Zapatista people and other organized peoples,” given that “if the indigenous peoples had control of their land, NAFTA would not be able to function in Mexico, the U.S., or Canada, for this way they could not extract and steal all the wealth possessed by our Mother Earth.”

In light of this “death culture,” Las Abejas declare that “We are aware that justice will not come from above,” and for this reason “our search for justice for the Acteal massacre we call the construction of ‘Another Justice,’ one that is conceptualized and constructed from the organized peoples, women and men of Mexico who also seek a dignified and true justice, as we do. This other justice, this dignified and true justice, is now being built in the Peoples’ Permanent Tribunal (TPP), in meetings and fora of organized peoples and communities in Mexico […]. We in the Las Abejas Civil Society will not resign ourselves but will instead continue building our ties with brothers and sisters who struggle each and every day against this oppressive capitalist system.”

For more information (in Spanish):

A 5 años de la excarcelación de los paramilitares (Las Abejas de Acteal, 22 de agosto de 2014)

Libres, 54 paramilitares sentenciados por la masacre de Acteal: Las Abejas (La Jornada, 23 de agosto de 2014)

La “Suprema Corte de ricos y criminales de la Nación” ha liberado a 54 paramilitares sentenciados por la masacre de Acteal: Las Abejas (La Jornada de Oriente, 24 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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


National: creation of mechanism for human-rights observation amidst the militarization of the Southern Border

September 2, 2014

(@fronterasurmx.wordpress.com)On 19 August, organizations from southeastern Mexico decided to “launch coordinated actions for monitoring, so as to demand the observance of responsibilities amidst the possible increase in human-rights violations” due to the “Southern Border Program” which was announced by the federal government on 7 July. These organizations foresee the program as including “the construction of more border infrastructure. Beyond this, there will be greater border control due to increased coordination among authorities of different State agencies, in addition to a greater presence of Army and Navy units. There will also be founded Centers for Comprehensive Attention to Border Transit.”

The organizations denounced that “this plan contains numerous ambiguities and retains a vision of natural security, prioritizing the control and flow of migration above human security” as well as the “lack of a Mexican migratory policy based in human rights that promotes the non-discrimination and multiculturalism implied by migratory flows.”

These organizations affirm that “since 2013 there have been observed numerous movements along the southern border which seek to increase its militarization, augment the presence of federal police, and re-enforce customs and biometrical controls. This militarization continues apace today, whether with the Southern Border Program or not, as we see in the constant and violent operations suffered by migrants in Tabasco and the coastal region of Chiapas.”

The organizations which are participating in this initiative include the following: the Migrant Home “la 72” in Tenosique, Tabasco; the San Francisco de Asís Migrant Home in Huixtla, Chiapas; the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas; the Fray Matías de Córdova Center for Human Rights in Tapachula, Chiapas; and Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación in Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish):

Instalan mecanismo de observación con visión de derechos humanos ante la militarización de la Frontera Sur (boletín del Observatorio, 19 de agosto de 2014)

Estas son las principales acciones del Programa Frontera Sur para proteger a migrantes (Animal Político, 26 de agosto de 2014)

Critican Plan Frontera Sur; ven riesgos para migrantes (El Universal, 26 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Four years after the San Fernando massacre, “La 72” denounces new operations against migrants (26 de agosto de 2014)

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: bulletin from Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights denounces that “counterinsurgency continue to operate in Chiapas”

September 2, 2014

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On 18 August, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced in a bulletin entitled “Counterinsurgency continues to operate in Chiapas” that “in recent months, the unresolved armed internal conflict in Chiapas has been characterized by a continuous aggression against Support-Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN), with the action of some social and regional organizations being used for State purposes, given their years-long disputes regarding tenure of lands recuperated [by the EZLN]. Several of these social organizations have encouraged their leaders to become officials and public servants, thus in many cases contradicting the founding principles of these grounds through submission of their plans for struggle to governmental interests and budgetary priorities. In Chiapas, the comprehensive war of attrition continues against peoples who struggle and resist by means of media tactics that include the utilization of concepts like human rights, multiculturalism, collective rights of indigenous peoples, and so on—all of these empty of meaning.”

The CDHFBC recalled within this recent wave of attacks the events that took place in La Realidad on 2 May 2014, in addition to the more recent cases of the Egipto and El Rosario communities which “confirms the climate of constant aggression and provocation that is exacerbated each time that dialogue is celebrated, as in the conference of the National Indigenous Congress from 4 to 9 August in La Realidad.”

The CDHFBC noted that it has “carried out constant interventions amidst the gravity of the attacks against BAEZLN and the [official] response has been governmental parsimony and unwillingness to act. This attitude of indifference maintains and provokes conflicts that are labeled ‘inter-communal’ as a means of hiding the counter-insurgent aspects. The objective is to exhaust the people who resist, struggle, and transform society through their cultures and rights.”

For this reason, the CDHFBC assured that “we will continue to document the attacks against the Zapatistas, denounce human-rights violations, and accompany the peoples who demand their rights to what pertains to them and who for nefarious reasons seek to plunder. We reiterate our call for national and international solidarity to manifest support for the threatened BAEZLN.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín completo: La contrainsurgencia sigue operando en Chiapas (CDHFBC, 18 de agosto de 2014)

Nueva agresión armada contra zapatistas de Ocosingo, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to the La Garrucha caraocol (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (June 10, 2014)

Chiapas: indigenous organizations and communities also affected by “counterinsurgency and war of extermination” express their solidarity with the EZLN (June 9, 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN announces homage to Zapatista murdered in La Realidad and announces primary results of investigation on the case (May 18, 2014)


Chiapas: Update regarding forced displacement of EZLN support bases belonging to the La Garrucha caracol

September 2, 2014

índiceIn a new Urgent Action published on 15 August, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced the persistence of attacks against support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) in communities of Ocosingo, as prosecuted by members of the Regional Organization of Coffee-Cultivators of Ocosingo (ORCAO). The events began in “recuperated” lands that are collectively worked in the San Manuel autonomous rebel Zapatista municipality (MAREZ), which pertains to the La Garrucha caracol: on 13 August, nine Zapatista families founded the Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto on said lands, which adjoin the Egipto and El Rosario communities.

The bulletin noted that on 14 August, an armed group of 18 ORCAO members for the Pojcol community (Chilón municipality) surrounded the land and began to shoot into the air for 40 minutes and warning the BAEZLN that they had 6 hours to withdraw definitively. The 9 families (40 persons in total) and the 250 BAEZLN who were supporting them “decided to withdraw to a different place.” After this, the ORCAO members destroyed the houses, robbed store merchandise and cash from the homes, among other crimes.

The bulletin details that on 14 August, the women and children of the El Rosario community who belong to ORCAO abandoned the community, leaving only the men, while witnesses claim that these men were threatening the BAEZLN with immediate displacement. The female and children BAEZLN, for their part, also decided to leave amidst the risk of a possible confrontation. The CDHFBC reported that the threats of the ORCAO against BAEZLN in El Rosario “were intensifying to the point of indicating a possible forcible displacement” in the late hours.

For this reason, the CDHFBC expressed its “concern for the imminent risk to life, security, and physical integrity to which the BAEZLN” of the El Rosario, Kexil, Egipto, and Nuevo Poblado San Jacinto communities face. The Center held the Chiapas state government responsible “for being absent during the initial denunciations, thus allowing the perpetration of increasingly flagrant violations of human rights.” It called on State and federal authorities to cease the death-threats and attacks that have served as the basis for the displacement of BAEZLN from three communities, in addition to the adoption of measures to protect the life, integrity,a nd security of the BAEZLN from the San Manuel autonomous municipality.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC, 15 de agosto de 2014)

Denuncia Centro Frayba agresiones contra bases de apoyo zapatistas en Ocosingo (La Jornada, 16 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forced displacement of EZLN support-bases belonging to La Garrucha caracol (29 August 2014)


Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state

April 29, 2014

Rueda de prensa de los liberados. Foto (@Pozol Colectivo)

Press-conference of those released. Photo (@Pozol Colectivo)

The indigenous prisoners Audentino García Villafuerte (Hiber) and Andrés and Josué López Hernández have been released after nearly eight months incarcerated (Hiber) and three years, two months, and nine days (the López Hernández brothers).

After a trial that found no evidence to condemn them, the three prisoners were released unconditionally at the end of March.

According to repeated denunciations, national and international human-rights organizations note that the charges of these three were fabricated, and that their basic rights to freedom and personal integrity had been violated, given that they were subjected to torture during their imprisonment.

According to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), “Using their testimony, we can confirm that in jails in the state of Chiapas, indigenous peoples are discriminated against and insulted, but due to fear of reprisals against them and their families, they do not denounce the acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.  Furthermore, even when torture is obvious, justice is absent because it is not investigated.”

For the CDHFBC, torture is a method of criminal investigation used frequently in Chiapas by police units and the Army and Navy toward the end of obtaining information or forced confessions.

“Due to its acts of torture, the State is responsible both directly and by omission for the behavior of its officials, who, being cognizant of the act, do not intervene to punish those responsible and thus allow this grave human-rights violation to continue unchecked.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“En Chiapas persisten prácticas de tortura” denuncia el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Pozol Colectivo, 14 de abril de 2014)

En Chiapas persisten prácticas de tortura (CDHFBC, 15 de abril de 2014)

Video: Persiste la tortura en Chiapas (Koman Ilel, 14 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (18 de marzo de 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (1 January 2014)

National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico (10 June 2013)

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)


Chiapas: 25-year anniversary of “Frayba”

March 30, 2014

25 Aniversario del Frayba, marzo de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

25th anniversary of Frayba, March de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 19 March, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC, better known as Frayba) celebrated 25 years since its founding.  Created in 1989 through the invitation of the then bishop of the the San Cristóbal de San Cristóbal diocese, Samuel Ruíz García, it in time passed into becoming a key reference for the defense of human rights, particularly of indigenous peoples, at the local, national, and international levels.

Part of the celebrations included the organization of an “International forum on human rights: from memory to hope,” which was attended by more than 350 persons, nationals and internationals.  On 18 March, the book The Social Evangelism of Bishop Raúl Vera was presented by the very bishop himself, who previously had worked with Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas and who now holds the presidency of the CDHFBC.

At the press-conference and ceremony which closed the events, the members of the CDHFBC recognized the difficulties and challenges implied for example by the advance of extractive industry and touristic projects in Chiapas, ina ddition to the attempts to loot territory, but they stressed that “it is the people who guide our path, in a positive feedback loop.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Destaca obispo Raúl Vera, la creación del Frayba por don Samuel Ruiz(Chiapas Paralelo, 20 de marzo de 2014)

Sin traicionar el legado de Samuel Ruiz, celebra el Frayba su 25 aniversario(Proceso, 19 de marzo de 2014)

El Frayba celebra su 25 aniversario (La Jornada, 19 de marzo de 2014)

“Lo que no se vale aquí es no caminar… caminemos”: Samuel Ruiz García(Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de marzo de 2014)

Sitio Web del 25 aniversario: http://yorailmaya.wordpress.com/

Facebook: frayba.derechoshumanos

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation of the six-year report from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (26 March 2013)


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