Chiapas: “Violence and infancy in the state”

On 22 November, in commemoration of the XXII anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the organization Melel Xojobal indicated that Chiapas is a state in which the rights of children are frequently violated, both in rural and urban zones.  In general terms, they note that “Mexico occupies the first place in physical violence, sexual violence, and homicides directed against minors younger than 14 years of age among the countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Linked to this scenario, since the federal government launched its ‘war’ against organized crime in 2006, violence has taken the lives of thousands of children and has been incorporated as a ‘normal’ aspect of the lives of millions of these.”

In urban zones in Chiapas, the organization details that the types of violence most identified are physical, very common above all within families and in schools, as well as cases of sexual exploitation of infants, above all in border towns.  Melel affirms also that “another expression of violence against children in the cities is social cleansing, or systematic action that consists in assaulting, harassing, and threatening the population that lives and works in the streets, pressing them to leave these public spaces.”

In rural zones, beyond child labor, the organization indicates that “the structural violence suffered by children and adolescents results in deaths from preventable diseases.”  It refers to the “communal conflicts [which] are also a source of violence, be it due to religious intolerance or political confrontations among parties or organizations,” giving the example of this problem in the case of Guaquitepec, municipality of Chilón, where due to communal conflict there were invaded school spaces and some furniture destroyed.

Regarding migration, the organization notes that children and adolescents in Chiapas “have their reasons to flee beatings at home, to stop being a burden on the family and instead find a job or a mother or father who before leaving for the United States promised to return but never did.”

In the case of Zapatista autonomous communities, Melel notes “that the panorama is violent, given that there exist cases of forced displacement due to the harassment of groups opposed to the autonomous organization,” as in the case of San Marcos Avilés, official municipality of Chilón.  The organization denounces also that the war of low intensity and the creation of so-called paramilitary groups “constitute a constant threat to the security, life, and integrity of the communities in resistance and of the children and youth who in part constitute these.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pide ONG protección a infantes trabajadores (Cuarto Poder, 22 November 2011)

Comunicado de prensa completo (Melel Xolobal, 22 November 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Fourteenth anniversary of Melel Xojobal, organization for the defense of the rights of children and adolescents (7 February 2011)

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