On December 27th, during a press conference that took place at the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, the board of Colonia Maya in the municipality San Cristóbal de Las Casas denounced the existence of arrest warrants against its members and demanded their immediate cancellation.
In June 2016, the construction of a housing estate caused a flooding that affected 20 families in Colonia Maya. As a reaction, various habitants started to organize themselves to defend their rights and the environmental rights.
Since then, the members of Colonia Maya’s board faced various threats and the criminalization of their movement to defend their district.
Three moths ago, the board met with representatives of Manuel Velasco’s government who proposed the construction of a rain drain in the settlement. The board responded that they could not take any decisions without the participation of the the Colonia’s assembly. The arrest warrants were released after that meeting.
In the words of the board about the criminalization: “We are in fear. Fear that justice one more will be bought. During the last days we have affirmed once more that the legal authorities in our country can be bought. We know that some of our members have received arrest warrants without committing any crime. We are being accused of kidnapping, when we only ever acted peacefully, consulting and respecting the settlement’s assembly.”
They solicited “that the hostility and the criminalization against human environmental rights defenders for the land and the territory are eradicated or cease as they are pillars of democracy and with their work they can promote and strengthen the civil participation”.
For more information in Spanish:
Cese la criminalización a defensores de la Madre Tierra (27 de diciembre de 2018, Chiapas Denuncia Publica).
Colonos de la Maya denuncian que les fueron inventados delitos (27 de diciembre de 2018, Noticias Voz e Imagen de Chiapas).
Se defienden activistas demandados (27 de diciembre de 2018, El Heraldo de Chiapas).
Criminalización por la defensa de la Madre Tierra (21 de junio de 2017, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas).
For more information from SIPAZ :
National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14th, 2018)