Oaxaca: National and international mission documents 41 aggressions against NGO and rights-defenders

From 1 to 3 October, members of Peace Brigades International (PBI) and representatives of member-organizations of the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” carried out a civil mission in the state of Oaxaca toward the end of “corroborating the human-rights violations committed against rights-defenders in this state.”

According to data registered by the Network, Oaxaca is the state with the greatest number of human-rights violations against rights-defenders in Mexico.  In 2011 and 2012 to date, 41 aggressions were seen against groups (12) and rights-defenders (29) in the state.  The mission confirms that there are 1847 persons who benefit from precautionary measures as issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a number that reflects the worrying violation of human rights in the state.

Upon ending the mission, its member-participants stressed that “among the reports on the human-rights violations of rights-defenders as received by the mission, murders, physical aggressions, harassment, death-threats, slander, robbery, arbitrary arrest, and undue or disproportionate use of public force are stressed.  This situation of attacks and harassment as directed against rights-defenders is presented as a general situation, not only a manifestation of isolated cases.”

The mission stresses also that “many of these aggressions occur against persons and communal organizations who defend their right to land and territory, specifically against extractive projects (mining), wing-energy (for electricity generation), hydroelectric dams, and infrastructural projects in general.”

The mission emphasizes that “one of the factors that implies great impact for the situation of insecurity for rights-defenders is the near-total impunity with which crimes against them are met.  The rights-defenders with whom the mission met have applauded the initiative to concentrate all the cases of aggression in the new Special Prosecutorial Office for Crimes of Social Transcendence.  Regardless, they expressed their worry, because there are still cases to be transferred, and given that the Office lacks the necessary resources and capacities to confront this urgent problem.”

The Mission announced that there will be a second visit before the end of the year, so as to continue with investigating the commitments of authorities to guarantee the security of human-rights defenders.

For more information (in Spanish):

Oaxaca, primer lugar nacional en violaciones a derechos humanos de activistas (Proceso, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Misión a Oaxaca pro garantías básicas (La Jornada, 2 de octubre de 2012)

Documentan 41 agresiones a ONG y activistas en Oaxaca (Proceso, 3 de octubre de 2012)

Impunes, agresores de defensores de derechos humanos en Oaxaca: ONG (Milenio, 3 de octubre de 2012)

Concluye Misión de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos a Oaxaca (Comunicado final, PBI, RedTdT, GOBIXHA, 3 de octubre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)

Oaxaca: new intimidation directed at Alba Cruz (18 January 2011)

Oaxaca: attack on union leader Marcelino Coache (20 May 2010)

Oaxaca: Reports-police operations/new aggressions against the Human Rights Center/precautionary measures for activist and his family (14 May 2009)

Oaxaca: New threats in the case of Marcelino Coache (4 May 2009)

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