Chiapas: denunciation of acts of “social cleansing” in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

In a public communique released on 7 November, several organizations that work for the promotion and defense of the rights of infants and adolescents, including Melel Xojobal A.C. and Save The Children, demonstrated their concern over “numerous acts of social cleansing that have affected hundreds of child workers and their families” in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  They detail several examples of this which have been registered since 1 October.  Affirming that though at least 1481 children and adolescents work or accompany their parents to work in this city, “there do not exist public policies at the municipal level designed for infants, in particular for indigenous infants.”

These organizations note that “for more than five years, City Hall has in turn implemented different acts of social cleansing, such as banning the sale of handcrafts in the streets, the relocation of merchants who sell popular and necessary products to the periphery of the city, the creation of a touristic police that ‘invites’ ambulatory merchants to abandon their places so as not to bother visitors.”  They claim that “far from opening links of understanding among the citizenry, the aforementioned generates a climate of social discrimination and criminalizes the poverty of those who work in the streets, thus perpetuating exclusion, marginalization, and the violation of their human rights.”  Further, they added that “the desire to maintain the city as secure and attractive and orderly for tourists should not imply social costs for the local population, much less for the infants and adolescents who work in public spaces.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Es necesario garantizar el respeto de los DH de las niñas, niños y adolescentes trabajadores de San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Boletín de prensa, OSC de DH, 7 de noviembre de 2012)

Trabajan más de 2 mil infantes (Cuarto Poder, 8 de noviembre de 2012)

Limpieza social en México (La Jornada, artículo de opinión de Miguel Concha, 10 de noviembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: “Violence and infancy in the state” (27 November 2011)

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