The diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, the parish of San Juan Evangelista de San Juan Cancuc, United Families against Torture and in Defense of Human Rights, the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT) and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), expressed their concern in a statement about the constant attacks, persecution and surveillance of human rights and land and territory defenders, in Chiapas and the rest of the country.
According to Frayba, in Mexico the defense of human rights faces a permanent legalized injustice. In the statement they pointed out the importance of investigating crimes against human rights defenders to guarantee the full and free exercise of the right to defend human rights. The organizations, the diocese and the parish stated that “in Chiapas there is a pattern of criminalization of community human rights defenders” and that the increase in violence is unstoppable.
According to Frayba documentation, the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office under the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) is the body that criminalizes the defense and promotion of human rights of people from indigenous backgrounds.
“Within the history of injustices of the Indigenous Prosecutor’s Office is the arrest on March 14th, 2020 of Cristobal Santiz Jiménez of the Tsotsil Mayan people, community defender and representative of the Permanent Commission of the 115 Communards and Displaced Persons of Aldama, accused of aggravated homicide”, the statement said.
Added to this are the illegal detentions and torture of the Tseltal Mayan indigenous defenders of the territory, Cesar Hernandez Feliciano and Jose Luis Gutierrez Hernandez on October 15th, 2020, “while exercising their right to free demonstration and protest against the installation of a National Guard base on their territory, and who are currently accused of mutiny”, Frayba reported.
The most recent case is that of Manuel Santiz Cruz, a Tseltal indigenous person, president of the Human Rights Committee of the San Juan Evangelista Parish, together with: Agustin Perez Dominguez, Juan Velasco Aguilar, Agustin Perez Velasco, Martin Perez Dominguez, all arbitrarily deprived of their freedom, according to the organizations, the diocese and the parish, who demanded their immediate release.
In the statement, they urged the Mexican State “to protect the life, security and personal integrity of human rights defenders, guaranteeing a favorable and safe environment for this work.” They demanded recognition of the importance that the defense of human rights represents given the serious human rights crisis in Mexico. In addition, they demanded that the necessary measures be adopted to remedy the situation of human rights defenders arbitrarily deprived of liberty, granting it immediately, preventing further violations of their human rights.
For more information in Spanish:
Pronunciamiento conjunto: Imparable el aumento de violencia en Chiapas(Frayba, 15 de junio de 2022)
Pronunciamiento conjunto: Imparable el aumento de violencia en Chiapas (Red TDT, 15 de junio de 2022)
Imparable el aumento de violencia y criminalización en Chiapas, alertan organizaciones (EDUCA, 16 de junio de 2022)
For more information from SIPAZ: