Chiapas: Forum for the defense of human-rights defenders

Forum for the defense of human-rights defenders (Tonalá, October 2011, @SIPAZ)

Different human-rights centers, including the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights (Tonalá), the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, and the Center for Rights of Women in Chiapas, the Bety Cariño Center (from southern Veracruz=, and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (from Guerrero) met on 8 and 9 October to observe a “Forum for the defense of human-rights defenders,” held in Tonalá, Chiapas.  The objective of the same was to “visibilize the harassment and persecution of human-rights defenders in the central, southern, and southeastern regions of Mexico, as well as to articulate an agenda of actions for the protection and defense of rights-defenders in the region.”

Yazmin Hernández, director of the Digna Ochoa Center, denounced the criminalization and harassment suffered by human-rights defenders in Chiapas, remembering that the ex-director of the same center, Nataniel Hernández Núñez, continues to be persecuted by the courts.  She also accused the government of treating defenders “as criminals” and called on the different centers to coordinate their actions so as to find measures “to protect ourselves together.”

Civil groups and organizations such as the community of Candelaria (Venustiano Carranza), relatives of prisoners on hunger strike and fast in different Chiapas prisons, the Cerezo Committee, the House for Migrants in Arriaga, the Assembly of the Peoples Adherents to the Other Campaign, Civil Resistance against High Electricity Prices from Candelaria, the Ocez Di Unopi, and the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas also participated.  They denounced the aggressions directed against adherents to the Other Campaign as well as harassment against those who defend migrants, women, and the indigenous.

The participants also make more profound the subjects dealt with at the Forum by means of 5 work-tables:

Work-table 1: Mechanisms of prevention for rights-defenders

Work-table 2: Mechanisms of protection for defenders

Work-table 3: Mechanisms for defense for defenders

Work-table 4: Support in solidarity for the defense of defenders

Work-table 5: Technical support and new knowledges

In the final pronunciation of the Forum was highlighted the following: “1. That the harassment and repression exercised by the Mexican State toward all human-rights defenders at the national level is committed with the objective of dismantling and inhibiting the legitimate work of promoting and defending human rights.  2. That this premeditated aggression against human-rights defenders seeks to make-vulnerable the organizational processes in resistance to the ravages of neoliberal capitalism.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento final del Foro (9 October 2011)

Termina en Tonalá un foro en pro de defensores de derechos, Constante, la violencia del Estado contra los mexicanos, afirma ONG (La Jornada, 10 October 2011)

Necesario buscar el fin al hostigamiento contra “humanistas” (Cuarto Poder, 11 October)

Audios del Foro por la defensa del los defensores y las defensoras de derechos, desde Tonala, Chiapas (Radio Pozol)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Growing insecurity for the work of human-rights defenders–denunciations from Washington, Brussels, and Chiapas (31 March 2011)

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Mexico: Accord to establish a Mechanism for Protection of Human-Rights Defenders; campaign “Declare yourself” is launched (20 July 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Chiapas: Judicial harassment of human-rights defender (21 June 2010)

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