Chiapas/Guerrero: Forced Displacement from Organized Crime and Megaprojects

@ Sipaz

On February 26th, the virtual Forum Latin American Experiences of Forced Displacement and Prevention Measures was held, convened by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba).

The director of La Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, Abel Barrera, spoke of the context in which this phenomenon has developed in Guerrero for 15 years. Municipalities considered as “regions of silence” are made invisible and subjected to violence and the control of organized crime that, together with the authorities, private companies and the public force, systematically violate human rights without any consequence.

In addition, the new “business lines” in which the groups are entering are another cause of displacement. Negotiating with private companies in territories rich in minerals and other natural resources, makes organized crime and mining companies ally to have control of these territories: “This has to do with the entire extractivist model that plays an important role in the displacement. It is not only drug trafficking but also mega businesses, this is one of the reasons for the dispute, all the concessions in the Sierra Madre del Sur”, said the director of Tlachinollan.

For its part, the Frayba reported that in Chiapas there are around 10,000 displaced people in municipalities such as Chilon, Chalchihuitan and Aldama, with hydrocarbon extraction projects, road and tourist projects, which cause destruction of the territories and life projects of the people, forcing them to move.

For the director of the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Regional Center for Human Rights, the main difficulty in accompanying displaced families is the non-recognition of the victims and forced displacement as a crime, which puts women, boys and girls, young people and older adults from indigenous and peasant communities who do not have access to health, food, education, protection in a situation of greater vulnerability and much less a safe return to their communities.

He stressed that the government, which, at none of its levels, has taken action against this problem, has been in charge of making the victims invisible, criminalizing them and justifying the displacement with a generalized discourse on their link with organized crime, leaving out a differentiated analysis of the situation of people. In addition, the lack of documentation of cases in the state increases the difficulty of recognizing victims even when thousands of people are known to be displaced.

Faced with this situation, the organizations expressed the need to articulate and develop a front to demand the recognition of internal forced displacement as a criminal offense, as well as the creation of a thematic hearing in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) so that “the responsibility of the State can be proved and the corresponding penalty applied.”

For more information in Spanish:

Foro virtual Experiencias latinoamericanas de desplazamiento Forzado y medidas de prevención (Frayba, 26 de febrero de 2021)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : A tres años del desplazamiento forzado masivo de Chalchihuitán (October 30, 2020)
National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Ruling on Forced Internal Displacement (October 2, 2020)
Chiapas: Over 10,000 Victims of Forced Displacement – Frayba (July 10, 2020)
Guerrero: Forced Displacements Continue to Increase in Sierra (March 30, 2020)

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