Chiapas: HR Defender Simon Pedro Perez Lopez Murdered

@Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal.

On July 5th, the human rights defender and member of the Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society Organization, Simon Pedro Perez Lopez, was shot dead by a person on a motorcycle when he was shopping in the center of Simojovel, accompanied by his youngest child.

The defender from the Parish of Santa Catarina in the municipality of Pantelho where he worked as a catechist was assassinated nine days after residents of Pantelho sent a formal complaint to the Secretary of Government. In it, they requested the intervention of the state due to the high level of violence in the indigenous Tsotsil regions in Chiapas due to the takeover by criminal groups linked to drug trafficking and other illicit crimes. Simon Pedro Perez Lopez had been the channel to denounce these criminal groups, Chiapas Paralelo reports.

“The death of Simon Pedro is a consequence of injustice, of the narco-city council, of drug trafficking, of organized crime in Pantelho (…) that the blood of Simon Pedro is the seed for peace and for the liberation of Pantelho, it is the seed to awaken the conscience of fighting for peace. But I ask you not to fall into the temptation of revenge, revenge is not the way,” said Father Marcelo Perez Perez during the ceremony of veiling the corpse after recognizing the moral leadership of the murdered indigenous.

The Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal described the crime as “a shameful act committed in a country ruled supposedly by the Fourth Transformation”, and demanded that the three levels of government investigate those responsible, that they “impose a ceasefire and do true justice and not simulated, because the communities and the people in general have the right to live in peace and we demand respect from the bad government.”

After the assassination, the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas published a statement in which it recalled that in different ways it has warned the authorities of the three levels about “the spiral of violence that we are experiencing” in the state and “the pain of the Tsotsil, Tzetal, Ch’ol, Totic, Tojolabal peoples” that “are an open wound of the Diocese.” It declared to have been “spokespersons for these complaints and sufferings, it seems that there are dark interests that generate neglect of the complaints, it is minimized, it is attended with handouts and programs that do not respond to the underlying situation.”

For more information in Spanish:

Organizaciones denuncian el asesinato del defensor Simón Pedro Pérez López en Chiapas (Animal Político, 5 de julio de 2021)

Asesinan en Chiapas a Simón Pedro, ex presidente de Las Abejas: Frayba (La Jornada, 5 de julio de 2021)

Denunciamos el cobarde asesinato de nuestro compañero y hermano Simón Pedro Pérez López (Comunicado Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 5 de julio de 2021)

Asesinan a defensor de derechos humanos integrante de la Organización Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal (Comunicado, Frayba, 5 de julio de 2021)

Acoso de grupos criminales a zonas indígenas de Chiapas, acusan tras asesinato de líder de las Abejas de Acteal (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de julio de 2021)

Comunicado Diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas  (6 de julio de 2021)

For more information from SIPAZ: 

Chiapas: Las Abejas Repeat Request for IACHR Report on Acteal Massacre (May 25, 2021)

Chiapas: “We run the risk that violence continues to gain ground in our communities, like weeds” – Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society (April 26, 2021)

National: Mexico Fourth Most Lethal Country for HR Defenders (March 19, 2021)

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