Guerrero: Briefs – Concern for the safety of the inhabitants of La Morena, NGOs sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior regarding the recent threats against OPIM; Monitor Civil documented 384 cases of human rights violations by the police; Inter-American Court of Human Rights rules in favor of campesino ecologists

December 28, 2010

Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera (@El Universal)

On December 7, about 35 military personnel aboard three Hummer vehicles entered the community of La Morena, municipality of Petatlan, using their weapons and causing panic among residents. According to testimonies, men and teenagers rushed to the nearby hills, while women, children and elders gathered in their homes, which were raided by the military. In February, Adolfo Torres Rosas was killed by soldiers, while Anselmo Torres Quiroz and Huber Vega Correa were arrested. Both are currently imprisoned in the prison of Acapulco for alleged drug crimes. In recent months, the harassment against the Cruz Torres family has focused on the intermittent and threatening presence of military in their community, as well as on the promotion of rumors suggesting that the Torres Cruz family is involved in kidnappings, a denunciation that hasn’t been properly reported to the civil authorities.

In a press release of December 7, the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCIC) and the Workshop for Community Development (TADECO), demanded to the authorities, among other things: to cease harassment against the Torres family, the immediate departure of the Army from the indigenous community of La Morena, and not to use the discourse of the struggle against drug trafficking to conceal acts of harassment and intimidation against the communities of the Sierra of Guerrero. Similarly, on 21 December, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) expressed concern about the situation in La Morena sending out an urgent action. It reiterated that to date nothing is known about the new investigation into the circumstances of the death of Adolfo Torres Rosas, and it denounced violence during the arrest and detention of Anselmo Torres and Huber Vega, who have presumably been victims of abuse and torture.

Moreover, on December 15, Social and Civil Organizations, sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB), expressing concern about the threats occurred against members of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) on November 28. OPIM’s members have accompanied Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, me’phaa indigenous women who were raped by soldiers in 2002, whose cases were recently resolved by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH) against the Mexican State. These organizations emphasized that “in light of the recent threats, a prompt and full compliance with the sentences of the CoIDH [against the Mexican state] becomes crucial to prevent that unfortunate new facts may occur.”

On another hand, the Monitor of Civil Police and Public Safety Corps in the mountains of Guerrero (Monitor Civil), which was created three years ago, made public the fact that it documented 384 cases of police abuses. It mentioned that the ministerial authorities are the police that most violates the fundamental rights of citizens in the Mountain region (179 registered cases). From the experience of the Civil Monitor, institutional conditions of this corporation lead to police abuses, since the absence of internal and external mechanisms of control and accountability allows ministerial elements to violate human rights and legality without punitive consequences. The most frequent violations perpetrated by the police corps were arbitrary detention (122 cases), extortion (87 cases) and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment (59 cases). To a lesser extent, there were other also violations such as torture (6 cases), extrajudicial execution (3 cases), unlawful entries (22 cases) and the imposition of excessive fines (31 cases). The Civil Monitor issued a report on the status of the police in the mountains of Guerrero through which it seeks to establish guidelines for a democratic reform of the police.

Finally, on December 20, the CoIDH condemned the Mexican state for violating the rights of freedom, integrity, judicial guarantees and judicial protection of Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, known as “the campesino ecologists.” The court ruling noted that the Mexican government must make a criminal investigation into the alleged acts of torture that Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera have denunciated. In addition, within two months, it will have to compensate the farmers for all the damages they have suffered, as well as for the cost of medical and psychological treatments they have received.

In 1999, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera were arrested by the military, for their fight against deforestation in the Sierra de Petatlán, and according to their testimonies, they were tortured. In 2004, the case of “the ecological campesinos” was presented to the American Commission on Human Rights and in 2009 it was taken by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH). The ruling of the CoIDH also ratified that Mexico should reform the Code of Military Justice, to exclude the jurisdiction of military courts for crimes related to human rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

– México: Preocupación por la seguridad de los habitantes de la comunidad de La Morena en Petatlán, en particular por los familiares del Sr. Javier Torres Cruz, Estado de Guerrero, México. (Acción Urgente Organización Mundial contra la Tortura, OMCT, 21 de diciembre)

– OSC envían carta a Segob por las recientes amenazas contra la OPIM entorno a las sentencias de la CoIDH (CENCOS, 15 de diciembre)

A tres años de trabajo Monitor Civil documenta 384 casos de violación a los derechos humanos por parte de la policía (CENCOS, 17 de diciembre)

– CIDH falla a favor de campesinos ecologistas (El Universal, 20 de diciembre)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

– Guerrero: briefs – New threats against leaders of the OPIM; inclusion of resources for La Parota in federal budget; Invitation to the sixth anniversary of Radio Ñomndaa (December 14, 2010)

– Guerrero: briefs – NGOs present amicus brief to Inter-American Court on case of environmentalists; activist is detained (September 23, 2010)

– Guerrero: The Civil Monitor documents 117 cases of police abuse (December 3, 2008)


México: COP-16 in Cancún

December 27, 2010

Many commentators have hailed the outcome of the sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Fund on Climate Change (UNFCC), which took place in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December of this year. To the surprise of many, COP-16 did in fact produce an agreement—the Cancún Accord—that has been endorsed by nearly all of the world’s country-government delegates present in Cancún. Hopes for the summit were for many months rather low, with scores of governmental ministers announcing that no agreement should be expected. Indeed, in marked contrast to COP-16’s predecessor in Copenhagen, Denmark, remarkably few heads of state even bothered to make an appearance at the Mexican resort-city. In having produced an agreement, though, Cancún succeeded where its predecessor failed, for COP-15 closed with a hastily produced back-room agreement endorsed by the small number of countries that are the major offenders with regard to greenhouse-gas emissions: the U.S., China, the E.U., India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa. The majority of countries represented in the COP were not consulted regarding the content of the Copenhagen Accord but were instead expected to agree to it, despite the fact that it mandated no binding carbon-reduction path at all and made only vague promises regarding ‘climate aid,’ or resources dedicated to adaptation to climate change. Indeed, country-governments critical of the agreement’s inadequacy saw their climate aid suspended by the U.S. altogether.

In this sense, then, that the Cancún Accord received much broader endorsement could perhaps be said to importantly reflect progress toward a more democratic and inclusive approach to climate-negotiations, but the truth of the matter is that the policy-proposals called for by the Cancún Accord, like those set forth at the end of COP-15 in December 2009, fail radically to address the problem of anthropogenic climate change, and hence imperil the welfare and even survival of much of humanity within the near term.

Photo (

In a parallel way, a Global Forum for Life and Environmental and Social Justice was organized in opposition to COP-16 in Cancún from 4 to 10 December and brought to a close by Bolivian President Evo Morales. It stressed that the important thing is that conventional approaches to the problem of climate change be displaced in favor of more rational and humane ones. Such can be found for example in the proposals made by La Via Campesina, the international association of small farmers, which quite rightly noted repeatedly at that a shift from large-scale industrial farming to traditional organic farming methods could do much to resolve the climate crisis, given that campesin@ agriculture as a whole produces a fraction of the carbon emissions brought about by industrial farming. A complementary approach is to be found in the Cochabamba Accord, the product of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth organized by the government of Bolivia in April 2010, which calls on Northern societies to institute radical carbon-reduction trajectories within the next 10 years, advocating that the resources presently dedicated by such societies to militarism and ‘defense’ be re-directed to dealing with climate change, and further demands the creation of an international tribunal for climate justice to prosecute country-governments that fail to fulfill their obligations to significantly reduce their contributions to global warming within the near term. Finally, the anti-capitalist grouping Anti-C@p in Cancún stressed the dire need for anti-systemic politics in light of the enormity of the threats posed to humanity by environmental destruction and climate change.

For more information (in Spanish):

Culmina COP 16 con Acuerdos de Cancún (La Jornada, 12 de diciembre de 2010)

Inevitable, el choque de trenes en la COP 16 (La Jornada, 5 de diciembre de 2010)

Arriban caravaneros a Cancún; exhibirán la grave devastación ambiental en México (La Jornada, 4 de diciembre)

Pocas expectativas en la Cop 16 (La Jornada, 29 de noviembre de 2010)

Página Web de la Vía Campesina (incluyendo fotos, audios y videos del Foro global por la vida, la justicia ambiental y social)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Hunger in Mexico – an increasingly common phenomenon likely to be resolved bymeans of profound social change (November 2010)

Chiapas: Thirteenth Anniversary of the Acteal Massacre

December 27, 2010

On December 16, as a part of the activities in observance of the 13th anniversary of the Acteal massacre in which 45 Indians were killed on December 22, 1997, the chorus of Acteal and Sak Tzebul, an indigenous rock group, gave a joint concert called “Voices that sow the seeds of peace” in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, in order to raise funds for the choir to record an album.

On December 20, 21 and 22, the civil organization “Las Abejas” held a Meeting named “Weaving the Resistance in favor of Autonomy and against Dependence and Counterinsurgency” in Acteal, Chenalho. Participants came from various regions of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Atenco and they explained in their final statement: “We understand autonomy as the right to live as we want, without asking permission and without others imposing on us to live as they want us to; as freedom for every people to make decisions about land, resources, organization and education; and to think for ourselves. Autonomy begins in the heart of every person, it is not just a goal, but the path in which we are already. ” They affirmed their commitment to “forge alliances as we want and to globalize our struggle from below, keeping with our own work, without relying on government aid and programs.” They reported: “Others are upset because we want to live free and they want to end our autonomy, to impose projects, to make us dependent on their programs. When that does not work out, they apply to you counterinsurgency strategies. But we keep up with the resistance. (…) [T] he government has changed color and discourse, but in reality it remains the same: it has changed its lead bullets with “bullets of sugar”, but without leaving the use of lead bullets. It has co-opted leaders, and sought to change the mind and heart of people. (…) We do not accept that because we have dignity. “

On day 22, a Mass was celebrated by the bishop of San Cristobal in the presence of hundreds of participants and many priests from different places of Chiapas. Moreover, young people and children from Acteal had prepared a play whose message was that holding memory may be something lively and promising: “Death will not have the last word but Life”, they said, and “we sing because despite the pain, joy is our strength. “

A few days before the anniversary of the massacre, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a report on the admissibility of the Acteal case and found that 13 years is a long enough period to apply the exception to the criteria of “exhaustion of domestic remedies”.

Since March 2005, the Commission had received a complaint submitted by the civil organization “Las Abejas”, to which the victims belonged, and by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center. It alleged the international responsibility of the Mexican State in the massacre. Considering the non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, it was until earlier this year that the IACHR admitted the case.

The CDHFBC stated that the Commission report confirms the value and proof of the testimony of the victims’ relatives and survivors of the Acteal massacre. He added that the documentation published by the IACHR confirms the responsibility, by act and omission, of the Mexican State in the Acteal massacre, as well as the subsequent denial of justice, leaving unpunished this crime against humanity.

For more information (in Spanish):

– Masacres como la de Acteal suceden ahora todos los días, denuncian Las Abejas (La Jornada, 24 de diciembre de 2010)

Conmemora Las Abejas 13 años de Acteal con acto sobre autonomía (La Jornada, 23 de diciembre de 2010)

– “13 años de la Masacre de Acteal” (Pronunciamiento de la Organización de la Sociedad Civil las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

– “13 años de la Masacre de Acteal” (Pronunciamiento de la Organización de la Sociedad Civil las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

– Homilía del obispo de San Cristóbal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel en la misa en Acteal el 22 de diciembre de 2010

– Recuerdan con misa masacre en Acteal (el Universal, 22 de diciembre)

– “El gobierno apuesta al olvido en Acteal” (El Universal, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

ONG: Acteal, 13 años de impunidad (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

– Pronunciamiento del Encuentro tejiendo Resistencia y Autonomia frente a la Contrainsurgencia y la Dependencia (Acteal, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

– Acteal bajo el signo de la impunidad (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

– CIDH: aún no se ha identificado a todos los responsables de la masacre de Acteal (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre)

Boletín: CIDH presenta informe sobre la admisibilidad de la Masacre de Acteal (CDHFBC, 20 de diciembre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ:

– Chiapas: “Las Abejas” present the event “Voices that sow the seeds of peace” (December 14, 2010)

– Chiapas: “Las Abejas” and Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center celebrate admission of the Acteal case in the IACHR (November 26, 2010)

– Chiapas: Las Abejas indignant over the release of 15 of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (October 26, 2010)

Chiapas: Harassment and Surveillance of Human Rights Defenders

December 24, 2010

On December 17, 2010, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) published a report on new incidents endangering the life of two human rights defenders: in early December, the member of the Committee of Political Ex prisonners “Innocent Voices “, (Voces Inocentes) Julio César Pérez Ruiz, as well as the member of the Network of Medical and Mental Health Care for Survivors of Torture, a CDHFBC external collaborator, Jose Alejandro Meza, were subjected to surveillance and harassment in different events that occurred in San Cristobal de Las Casas. Meza also suffered unlawful entries on his car and home.

The Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas expressed concern over what it described as a new aggression against human rights defenders in Chiapas, ocurring just after the death threats against Margarita Martinez and members of the CDHFBC itself in late November. The CDHFBC asked the state judicial authorities to conduct a prompt, efficient and effective investigation to punish those responsible for these acts.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín 25 Hostigamiento y vigilancia a defensores de derechos humanos. (CDHFBC)

Denuncian hostigamiento a defensores de DH en Chiapas (Informe Chiapas, 18 de diciembre de 2010)

Siguen denuncias de hostigamiento para defensores de ONG (Cuarto Poder, 19 de diciembre de 2010)

Persisten las amenazas a defensores de derechos humanos (La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ:

– Chiapas: Death Threats Made Against Margarita Martinez and Members of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (November 27, 2010)

– Chiapas: a year of impunity in the case of aggression against human-rights defenders (November 11, 2010)

Chiapas: release of blogger Hector Bautista

December 22, 2010

On December 12, Hector Bautista who had been arrested on Nov. 3 on charges of child pornography was released. Journalists, human rights NGOs, and alternative media considered the detention of Bautista Flores as an attack on freedom of expression, and accused the government of Chiapas of a campaign of intimidation and repression. He left the prison of El Amate in the municipality of Cintalapa, after the withdrawal from criminal prosecution by the Chiapas Attorney General (PGJE).

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan al bloguero chiapaneco Héctor Bautista (informe Chiapas-Noticias de Chiapas, 22 de diciembre de 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Report of journalists’ persecution (November 17, 2010)

Guerrero: briefs – Supporters of La Parota demonstrate in front of the TUA; Academics deliver letter against La Parota to the TUA; Anniversary of Radio Ñomndaa held in spite of persecution

December 22, 2010

On December 14, roughly 600 supporters of the hydroelectric dam, La Parota, demonstrated outside of the United Agrarian Court (TUA) 41 to demand the resolution of the challenge to the April 28 assembly filed by the Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositoras a La Parota (CECOP) and warned that in the event of a negative vote, they would convene another meeting, “but we are going to succeed in continuing the project.” The demonstrators were received by the Secretary of Agreements, Jorge Paniagua Salazar, who said that  his duty is to listen to all parties, “to come to a fair resolution”, and that the date of the resolution was already “nearly” here and would be finished on that same day. It was also on that same day that the TUA received two amicus curiae letters from leading academics, as well as national and international organizations. These documents concern the right to consultation and land law, reaffirming the arguments of hundreds of letters in opposition to La Parota.

Lastly, on December 13, David Valtierra Arango, founder of Radio Ñomndaa, declared that “despite the persecution and aggression of the three levels of government”, Radio Ñomndaa will celebrate the sixth anniversary of the autonomous radio project on the 18 through the 20 of December in the municipality Suljaa’ (Xochistlahuaca). The event will include a series of activities such as discussion tables, cultural events, live broadcasting of programs by invited organizations and popular dance. The discussion tables will be centered on “finding tactics that permit free expression of community media and building a common and comprehensive defense against attacks by the oppressive system. “The anniversary of Radio Ñomndaa will be a celebration of having succeeded, with great effort and resources, in transmitting the voice of the people”, said Valtierra.

For More Information:

Simpatizantes de La Parota se manifiestan en el TUA 41(La Jornada, 15 de diciembre)

Marchan 600 simpatizantes de La Parota al TUA; exigen que los favorezca el fallo (El Sur Acapulco, 15 de diciembre)

Con Amicus Curiae, académicos y organizaciones refuerzan argumentos en contra de La Parota (CENCOS, 14 de diciembre)

Festejarán el sexto año de la Radio Ñomndaa a pesar de la persecución (La Jornada, 14 de diciembre)

For More Information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: breves – Nuevas amenazas a dirigentes de la OPIM; inclusión de recursos en presupuesto federal destinados a La Parota; Invitación al sexto aniversario de Radio Ñomndaa(6 de diciembre 2010)

Guerrero – breves: Atentado contra periódico El Sur de Acapulco; Conflicto agrario en Jicayán de Tovar; Manifestación contra el proyecto hidroeléctrico de La Parota; Desalojo forzado de 350 familias en Puerto Marqués; Policía Comunitaria emite comunicado contra exploraciones mineras (17 de noviembre de 2010)

Guerrero: breves – Detienen a dirigente de CETEG; Se licitará La Parota: CFE (27 de octubre de 2010)

Mexico: Deputies adopted Human Rights Reform

December 17, 2010

On December 14, the House of Representatives unanimously approved reforms on Human Rights that would entail changes in eleven articles of the Mexican Constitution. It will be returned to the Senate, since it amended some of its scopes, among them the fact that the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) will now be entitled to investigate serious Human Rights violations, though without obtaining the same powers as investigating authorities.

The draft amendment to Chapter I of Title I of the Constitution includes the concept of human rights, expanding the one of “individual rights”, and recognizes the protection of international treaties signed by Mexico in this regard. It also incorporates the prohibition of discriminatory practices motivated by sexual preference, in addition to national or ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, social status, health status, religion, and marital status.

The ruling sets out the procedure to restrict or suspend the exercise of rights and guarantees, in case of invasion, serious disturbance of public peace or any other situation that may put society in great danger or conflict. It stresses that in no case the exercise of the rights to life, personal integrity, non-discrimination, protection of the family, nationality, or the rights of children, political rights, freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief may be restricted or suspended. The power to suspend the exercise of rights and guarantees will correspond to the President of the Republic, with the approval of the chambers of Congress or, in case of recess, the Standing Committee.

The amended Article 33 limits the ability of the Executive to expel foreigners who will be granted a full hearing, and, as a principle of foreign policy, the protection and promotion of human rights will be added to Article 89.

Another amendment will compel officials that don’t abide by the recommendations of the Ombudsman to give a public explanation.

Alberto Herrera, executive director of Amnesty International (AI) Mexico, said that this is a very important reform. He acknowledged that it opens a door for inclusion of international human rights treaties in the Constitution, which would serve to address several of the loopholes in the text.

The Mexico Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) approved the initiative but demanded the Congress to change the wording of Article 11 of the initiative, because as it stands, it allows terminological and conceptual confusion that may undermine the protection of asylum guarantee.

In a joint statement on December 15, nearly 20 Mexican civil organizations welcomed the adoption of the constitutional reforms on Human Rights and urged the Senate to prioritize their approval, which, they consider, is a historic triumph for the Human Rights movement in Mexico. They stressed: “[I] n addition to the incorporation into the Constitution of the rights contained in international treaties on the subject, are worthy of note: the inclusion of the criterion of consistent interpretation, the emergency state regulation, control of the constitutionality of the decrees issued by the Executive in such a state and the explicit protection of human rights that under no circumstances might be suspended, the recognition of the right of audience in the process of foreigners’ expulsion, the centrality of Human Rights in education, in the prison system and in foreign policy, the right for everyone to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution, and the strengthening of the powers of public bodies designed for human rights protection, among others. Such a reform is crucial to update the Constitution in this area and represents the most important step Mexico has taken in decades, so that all people will be provided with the protection of human rights included in the Constitution and in international treaties, which is why we urge the Senate to prioritize the adoption of this fundamental reform in the legislative agenda .”

The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) also welcomed the constitutional reform approved unanimously by the House of Representatives in the field. They expressed that they felt that it strengthens and extends the protection of human rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Aprueban en comisiones de San Lázaro la reforma en materia de derechos humanos (La Jornada, 14 de diciembre)

Los diputados conceden a la CNDH la facultad de investigar (Milenio, 14 de diciembre de 2010)

Reforma sobre derechos armoniza leyes mexicanas con estándares mundiales: AI (La Jornada, 15 de diciembre de 2010)

Pide ACNUR al Congreso garantizar asilo en el país (La Jornada, 15 de diciembre de 2010)

Pronunciamiento conjunto de organizaciones civiles mexicanas (15 de diciembre de 2010)

– Quedan reafirmados derechos humanos en la Constitución (La Jornada, 16 de diciembre de 2010)

Diputados dan más facultades a la CNDH (El Universal, 16 de diciembre de 2010)

– Celebran ONG modificaciones hechas en San Lázaro al juicio de amparo (La Jornada, 17 de diciembre de 2010)