Chiapas: Attacks against and harassment of wetlands defenders in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

On 13 May, local organizations and human-rights groups reported that, since the beginning of the year, the construction firm Peje de Oro has been pressuring neighboring residents of the FSTSE 2001 district of San Cristóbal de las Casas who are defending the María Eugenia wetland by use of physical attacks, threatened injuries, and legal cases. They have indicated that, since this time, the construction firm has begun work to develop a residential project on land “that is found within the reaches of the Natural Protected Area Subject to Wetland Protection from the Montaña María Eugenia, as decreed in 2008 and subsequently in 2011, and recognized as a RAMSAR site.”

Civil organizations have warned that, finding itself subject to the urban sprawl of San Cristóbal de las Casas, the decline in the wetland’s health is ever-accelerating, thus emphasizing the “great importance of conserving this area that provides 70% of the water that is distributed to the people of San Cristóbal de las Casas.”

Since 25 April, the attacks have been on the rise. This is the case, according to the organizations, as seen in the “possible acts or omissions, ignorance, corruption, or irresponsibility on the part of the authorities and public officials, both municipal and State, in both the judicial and executive branches.” For this reason, they have demanded that the human rights of the residents of FSTSE2001 be ensured, that the perpetrators of attacks be arrested, that existing arrest-orders be cancelled, and that a work-table be installed to implement immediate actions to avert the destruction of the wetland, beyond initiating an exhaustive and professional investigation into the probable conflict of interest with the Díaz Ochoa family, especially Mariano Díaz Ochoa, the ex-mayor of San Cristóbal, former sub-delegate for governance in the highland, and now a candidate for the mayorship of San Cristóbal for the third time.

For more information (in Spanish):

HOSTIGAMIENTO, AGRESIONES Y AMENAZAS A VECINOS DEL FRACCIONAMIENTO FSTSE 2001 EN SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS POR DEFENDER EL HUMEDAL DE MONTAÑA MA. EUGENIA (Acción Urgente del Colectivo de Educación para la Paz y los Derechos Humanos, CEPAZ, 13 de mayo de 2015)

Agreden a defensores de humedales en Chiapas(Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín PRO, 18 de Mayo de 2015)

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