Oaxaca: Information update on observation-caravan attack

Two days after the attack occured against an observation caravan in the Triqui region in the state of Oaxaca, the four people initially reported missing made it out of the region. Two of them suffered gunshot wounds from the act of agression. Meanwhile, various national and international human rights organizations denounced the attack which took place on April 27 and demanded that the authorities clarify the events surrounding the crime.

According to press reports, April 29 saw the emergence of David Venegas and Noé Bautista, members of the organization Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL, for the Spanish acronym), and rescued the same day were Érika Ramírez and David Cilia, reporters for the magazine Contralinea. Noé Bautista and David Cilia suffered bullet wounds from the April 27th attack. With this, there are no longer any missing persons remaining among those who participated in the caravan. Confirmed dead as a result of the attack were Beatriz Alberta Cariño Trujillo, director of the Center for Community Support Working Together (CACTUS), and Finnish human-rights observer, Jyri Jaakkola.

The agression against the observation caravan has raised strong national and international condemnation, from both non-governmental and supranational organizations. The National Network for the Rights of Everyone (RedTDT, for the Spanish acronym), in conjunction with more than 60 civil society and human rights organizations from Mexico, released an Urgent Action demanding that the state and federal governments undertake an exhaustive and impartial investigation of the attack and bring those responsible to justice. Also, Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH),  and the United Nations Office for the High Comissioner of Human Rights in Mexico (OACNUDH) condemed the attack on the caravan which had among its purposes the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population group surrounded by the paramilitary organization, Union of Social Welfare for the Triqui Region (UBISORT), in the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá.

The attack occured within the context of ongoing state-level election campaigns. Oaxaca’s governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, denied all responsibility on the part of the state government for the April 27 attacks.  Furthermore, he questioned the participation of foreigners in this caravan, suggesting that their migratory status be investigated.

The Peace Network, comprised of various human-rights organizations that work to promote peace in Chiapas, claimed that “the government of Oaxaca is calling into question international observation, a peaceful civil-intervention mechanism that has proven key in putting an end to violence in several locations and contexts.”

For more information:

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca:  attack on observation-caravan–2 dead and 4 missing (29/04/2010)

Oaxaca:  the Peace Network condemns armed attack against observation-caravan in San Juan Copalá (01/05/2010)

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