Chiapas/International: Urgent Action – Canadian Embassy before Courts for Undue Intervention in Chicomuselo Mining Conflict

March 27, 2019

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On March 25th, a hearing will be held in Ottawa, Canada as representatives of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico were sued in an administrative complaint before the Federal Court of Canada “for their dangerous negotiations in a mining conflict,” related to the criminalization and the murder of Mariano Abarca in Chicomuselo, Chiapas in 2009.

It should be remembered that the local leader of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) was murdered “after an active and peaceful resistance that the villagers carried out against this company that extracted barite ore. All the suspects in the case had links to the mining company Blackfire Exploration, but no one was convicted of the murder. The investigation is still open.” In addition, “until the day of his murder, Mariano suffered threats, intimidation, beatings, arbitrary detention under false accusations made by the mining company, among other abuses.”

In the framework of the hearing, the website #Justicia for Mariano Abarca published an Urgent Action in which it stressed that “documentation obtained through the transparency law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, shows that, despite the significant knowledge that the Canadian embassy had on the facts between the company Blackfire and Mr. Abarca -including the death threats that he faced- it went to the state government of Chiapas to ask it to control the protests against the Canadian company in the community.”

It also denounced that, “there is no will or legal frameworks, regulations or binding protocols for the personnel of the Canadian embassies in order to ensure human rights.” Therefore the Urgent Action raises the demand for “a full and impartial investigation into the case of Mariano Abarca Roblero, and ensure legal measures to prevent embassies from continuing to intervene to overlap the abuse and violation of human rights that Canadian mining companies commit in other countries.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente en línea: Embajada Canadiense a los tribunales por su intervención indebida en conflicto minero en México (#Justicia para Mariano, 19 de marzo de 2019)

“En México, los intereses de Canadá son los de las empresas mineras” (Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina, 15 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Internacional/Chiapas : Interponen solicitud formal ante gobierno de Canadá para investigar a los diplomáticos en este país ante caso de ambientalista asesinado (7 de febrero de 2018)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: 5,000 Men and Women on Pilgrimage against Mining in Chicomuselo (October 17, 2017)

Chiapas: Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Killed (December 1, 2009)

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Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate

March 15, 2019

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On July 18th, after six years and eight months in prison, Diego Lopez Mendez, an indigenous Tseltal native from San Juan Cancuc, was released after an intense national and international campaign by his relatives, friends, activists and human rights defenders, who alleged that he was tortured to incriminate himself for a crime he did not commit. Lopez Mendez was part of the organization “Solidarios de la Voz del Amate”, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and in the last stage, he was imprisoned in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

In 2018, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights documented thirteen complaints of torture of six Tseltals, six Tsotsiles and one Chol, who are in prison. It affirmed that Diego’s case makes visible a recurrent practice of the ministerial authorities of trying to legitimize arbitrary arrest carried out in a context of torture as well as the “disinterest of the judicial authorities of being a counterweight in charge of reviewing the ministerial actions.”

For more information in Spanish:

Liberan a Diego López, indígena tseltal que fue torturado para autoinculparse en 2012 (Proceso, 12 de marzo de 2019)

COMUNICADO A PROPÓSITO DE LA LIBERACIÓN DE DIEGO LÓPEZ MÉNDEZ (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todos, 12 de marzo de 2019)

Celebran libertad de Diego López Méndez (Cuarto Poder, 13 de marzo de 2019)

Dan libertad a indígena tseltal que fue torturado para autoinculparse (Regeneración, 13 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)

Chiapas: Prisoners in San Cristóbal carry out fast to demand respect for their rights (January 4th, 2019)

Chiapas: Voice of Amate Supporter Moved to High Security Prison (November 27th, 2018)


Guerrero: Urgent Action “No Dam, No Prisoners”, Demands Release of 16 Indigenous CECOP Members

March 14, 2019

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On March 8th, more than 2,000 people had already demanded “the immediate release of the 16 indigenous members of the Council of Ejidos and Opposition Communities to the Presa la Parota (CECOP), whose crime was to defend their lands and natural assets against the La Parota Dam”, through the Avaaz petition website. This is due to the multiple violations of due process, torture and the arbitrary and illegal circumstances of the arrests, which “demonstrate that there are political and economic interests against the communities that oppose the dam.” They also requested that harassment and arbitrary arrests of the inhabitants of the community of Cacahuatepec, municipality of Acapulco, stop.

In the same case, on March 5th, members of CECOP, the Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of the State of Guerrero (MOLPPEG in its Spanish acronym) and the Montaña Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights held a meeting with the Governor of Guerrero, Hector Astudillo Flores, to follow up on the tables established to review the cases of these same prisoners, as well as to demand the cessation of harassment against the members of CECOP. The MOLPPEG reported that, “it filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission (CODDEHUM in its Spanish acronym), to intervene and no longer continue to pressurize the comrades of the communal property of Cacahuatepec, in the municipality of Acapulco, as well as the Zapata Vive collective.” He explained that the State and Ministerial police have been raiding computers to identify comrades who have an arrest warrant.

For his part, the Tlachinollan lawyer, Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, reported that through this meeting he was following up a dialogue path begun in December, with a view to solving the problem of political prisoners in the state, mainly those of CECOP. He stated that the government authorities have said that it will be resolved according to law and that the legal route will be that which is privileged.

A day earlier, Tlachinollan listed 8 reasons why it considers that the 16 CECOP prisoners should be granted freedom:

“• They were arbitrarily detained on January 7th, 2018 in a violent operation where the police murdered three CECOP campesinos.

  • On the way to the Prosecutor’s Office they were tortured and given cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to force them to plead guilty. • During their detention, they were held incommunicado for more than 48 hours, preventing their relatives and lawyers from being interviewed.
  • During their solitary confinement, the Public Ministry obtained evidence in an unlawful manner to indict them for homicide.
  • The weapons allegedly obtained by the police were obtained from illegal searches carried out at the houses of the CECOP community members.
  • The CECOP detainees were not at the scene when the confrontation took place between those who were killed on both sides. They were arrested in the place when they went to the Sunday Assembly of the CECOP.
  • There is an onslaught to dismantle the CECOP and the resistance against the La Parota hydroelectric project.
  • Gravel workers who irrationally exploit the gravel and sand of the Papagayo River have organized the villagers to confront CECOP.

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente en línea “Ni presa ni presos” (marzo de 2019)

Se reúne ONG con Héctor Astudillo para pedir la libertad de 16 miembros del Cecop (La Jornada de Guerrero, 6 de marzo de 2019)

Denuncian en Guerrero acoso de policías contra opositores a La Parota (LA Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2019)

Se reúne Astudillo con Tlachinollan, Cecop y Molppeg (Quadratin, 5 de marzo de 2019)
8 Razones para la libertad de los presos políticos del CECOP (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 4 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Liberan bajo fianza a dos integrantes de la CECOP (28 de febrero de 2019)

Guerrero/Internacional : Europarlamentarios y organizaciones internacionales expresan su preocupación por criminalización de integrantes de CECOP; marchan en Acapulco a favor de la liberación de sus presos (7 de febrero de 2019)

Guerrero : Siguen exigiendo la libertad de 19 presos detenidos por oponerse a la construcción de la Presa La Parota (1ero de febrero de 2019)

Guerrero: Piden la liberación de 19 presos políticos (10 de enero de 2019)

Guerrero: organizaciones nacionales e internacionales visitan a presos del CECOP y la CRAC-PC (6 de octubre de 2018)

Guerrero: 50 órdenes de aprehensión contra comuneros del CECOP (17 de septiembre de 2018)


Guerrero: Gonzalo Molina, Tixtla CRAC PC, Released

March 7, 2019

CRAC.png@Desinformemonos

On February 28th, after five years, three months and 22 days in prison, the promoter of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities-Community Police (CRAC-PC in its Spanish acronym) of Tixtla, Gonzalo Molina Gonzalez, was released.

He had been detained on November 6th, 2013, when he was protesting against the arrest of Nestora Salgado, today senator for MORENA and at that time commander of the CRAC-PC in the municipality of Olinala. He was accused of deprivation of liberty, robbery and terrorism with a total of ten criminal charges against him. Since his arrest, he was in Miahuitlan jail, Oaxaca; in the maximum security prison of the Altiplano, in the state of Mexico, and finally in the Social Readaptation Center of Chilpancingo, Guerrero.

“I showed that I am innocent, that there is no crime to investigate, that CRAC is within the legal framework and we will continue to work because that is what 701 law permits”, he said.

“The indigenous peoples, who for more than 500 years have resisted looting and discrimination, have to organize ourselves. Megaprojects of death are promoted, and we will not allow that, because our peoples have a different worldview than the capitalist system”, he added.

For more information in Spanish:

Liberan a Gonzalo Molina, líder de la Policía Comunitaria en Tixtla (La Jornada, 1ero de marzo de 2019)

Guerrero: Dictan auto de libertad a Gonzalo Molina, preso político de la CRAC-PC (Desinformémonos, 28 de febrero de 2019)

Liberan al promotor de la CRAC-PC Gonzalo Molina tras casi 6 años (Quadratin Guerrero, 28 de febrero de 2019)
Gonzalo Molina, preso hace 5 años por supuesto terrorismo, queda libre en Guerrero (Sin Embargo, 28 de febrero de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: 19 aniversario de la CRAC-Policía Comunitaria (11 de noviembre de 2014)

Guerrero: demand for release of political prisoners in observance of the eleventh anniversary of CECOP (September 2nd, 2014)

Guerrero: Police operation provokes confrontations and new arrest of member of CRAC-PC in Tixtla (March 30th, 2014)

Guerrero: Ministerial Police detain Gonzalo Molina, CRAC promoter, in Tixtla (November 14th, 2013)

 


Chiapas: denunciation of criminalization against environmental activists in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

January 4, 2019

 

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)

Nacional : Se pospone entrega de concesiones de agua vía Internet por seis meses en medio de protestas. (17 de octubre de 2018).


Oaxaca: 22 Members of Sol Rojo (Red Sun) Released

November 14, 2018

Sol Rojo.pngPress conference of the Coordination for the Release of Criminalized Defenders in Oaxaca (@Consorcio)

In a statement published on November 6th, the Coordination for the Release of Criminalized Defenders of Oaxaca reported that “after more than three years of facing a judicial process with serious violations of due process, torture and incommunicado detention, 22 members of the organization Corriente del Pueblo Sol Rojo [Current of the Red Sun People] were freed from criminal case 30/2015 in which they were accused of terrorism and carrying a weapon (molotov cocktail). This freedom was given in resolution of the incident promoted in August by the lawyer and defender Ernesto Sernas, rejecting a series of tests used by the Attorney General of the Republic’s office. It should be recalled that these people were arbitrarily arrested on June 7th, 2015 in retaliation for their participation in a peaceful demonstration called by Section 22 of the Oaxacan teachers in the context of the elections on the same day. Their trial was at all times plagued by serious irregularities; also the members of Sol Rojo suffered torture during their detention, as well as during transfers and arrivals in prisons. This torture has left serious consequences on physical and emotional levels.”

The Coordination stressed that with this decision – in which it was observed “action on political direction on the part of the Attorney General of the Republic, when imputing crimes that they never committed in coordination with federal and state police bodies” is evidenced once again the “policy of criminalization” of Enrique Peña Nieto against human rights defenders, the “serious pattern of criminalization in Oaxaca” and the urgency that all these serious violations be punished promptly and in accordance with the law.

It also demanded the presentation of the defender Ernesto Sernas who is missing, since last May 10th for reasons that they believe have to do with his defense work in favor of the organization Sol Rojo, in the context that so far “there has been no progress in the investigations to find his whereabouts.”

It reaffirmed its position in favor of the liberation of all the defenders of Oaxaca who remain unjustly in prison as “reprisal” for their legitimate defense work. It also urged the authorities to act against the high risk in which members of Sol Rojo remain who have suffered serious and permanent attacks.

For more information in Spanish:

Defensores de DH integrantes de la organización Sol Rojo en libertad mediante sentencia absolutoria, luego de tres años de proceso judicial (Coordinación para la Libertad de Personas Defensoras Criminalizadas en Oaxaca, 6 de noviembre de 2018)

22 presos políticos de Sol Rojo fueron puestos en libertad (Libertad Oaxaca, 6 de noviembre de 2018)

Dejan en libertad a 22 presos políticos en Oaxaca (Siete Días Oaxaca, 6 de noviembre de 2018)

Anuncian la liberación de 22 activistas de Oaxaca presos por delitos federales (Despertar de Oaxaca, 7 de noviembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero / National: Nestora Salgado announces campaign for the freedom of political prisoners  (September 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca : Exigen atención para 33 personas defensoras de derechos humanos bajo procesos judiciales (3 de agosto de 2018)


Chiapas: Julión Alvarez Threatens to Sue Media and Frayba; Chiapas Paralelo Denounces “Erosion of Freedom of Expression”

October 1, 2018

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On September 20th, it was announced that the singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo, better known as Julion Alvarez, threatened to sue the news website ‘Chiapas Paralelo’ and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), for denouncing alleged bribery the artist to arrest and sentence Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Castro to six years in prison. The legal representative of the artist reported that, “We have been instructed by Mr. Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo to exercise any legal action against those who have made the accusations that are attributed to him (…) We consider that what is disclosed in the aforementioned news items constitutes damage to the honor, reputation and private life of our client. ‘We will not tolerate injury or insult’; whoever causes damage will have to make reparations and whoever is responsible will have to assume the consequences of their actions.”

Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Castro was accused of stealing cattle at the artist’s ranch in the municipality of La Concordia. According to the relatives of Gonzalez Castro, “there was never any cattle theft, the influence of Julion Alvares (sic) with Governor Manuel Velasco meant that for cattle they detained several people, in total they are like 18 people accused of cattle theft.” The report issued by Chiapas Paralelo website states that Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Castro was arrested in 2015 and, according to Frayba, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture for three days by public officials, to plead guilty to the crimes of those who accused him.

In light of what happened, on September 21st, the editorial team of Chiapas Paralelo considered the letter issued by the legal department of Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo “slanderous”, “to make use of qualifiers such as “irresponsible remarks”,”injury” and “insult.” It stated that “it is implicit in an attempt to intimidate journalists and human rights organizations”, which “entails an erosion of the right to freedom of expression.”

Due to this, Chiapas Paralelo called on national and international organizations that defend freedom of expression and the rights of journalists and human rights defenders “so that, within the scope of their competencies, they may initiate an investigation into these events. We believe that in a scenario such as Mexico, where in recent years 118 journalists have been killed in possible connection to their journalistic work, the statements made by the legal representative of the singer Julion Alvarez place us in a situation of even greater risk coming from a person who has been singled out by governments of other nations, to have links with groups that are outside the law. We ask the governor of the state of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, to be guarantor of respect for freedom of expression in the state, and that no personal connection that he has should be a cause to take on actions outside the law.”

For more information in Spanish:

Julión Álvarez amenaza al Frayba y al portal de noticias Chiapas Paralelo (Proceso, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Denunciamos intento del cantante Julión Álvarez, por amedrentar a periodistas y organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, causando un menoscabo a la libertad de expresión (Comunicado de prensa, Chiapas Paralelo, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Periodistas de Chiapas Paralelo acusan a Julión Álvarez de amenazarlos (Sin embargo, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Amenaza Julión Álvarez con demandar a medios y un centro de Derechos Humanos (SDP Noticias, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Libertad para Sergio Alberto González Castro #ContraLaTortura (Frayba, 13 de septiembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Heraldo de Chiapas Journalist Murdered in Yajalon (Sept. 27th, 2018)