Chiapas: Luisa Margareth Castillo Mora undertakes hunger-strike amidst “governmental refusal to attend to her petition”

March 22, 2015

Acto en solidaridad con Margareth, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 12 de marzo de 2015 (@SIPAZ)

Act in solidarity with Margareth, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 12 March 2015 (@SIPAZ)

Since 8 March, in observation of International Women’s Day, Luisa Margareth Castillo Mora began a hunger-strike in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to demand that the state authorities attend to her calls for justice.  She requests that the state government observe the complaint made against it in 2013 which condemns the Secretary of Education for not providing 61 persons (including her) nomination as base-workers, retroactive from February 2010.

It should be clarified that since 2010, she and 30 other people have been struggling to have their labor rights recognized.  In October 2013, an investigation was launched against her on the charges of extortion, delincuent association, and attacks on communication media, charges which civil organizations consider to be “revenge for the protest-actions which have been carried out.”

In November 2013, as an Urgent Action details, being published by the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas, Margareth was “taken,” tortured, and subsequently left on the highway between San Cristóbal and Tenejapa.  Nearly two years on, the events continue in impunity, and the motion handed down in her favor has not been observed.  For this reason, the members of the Campaign have made a call for an investigation that be carried out soon, impartially, exhaustively, and efficiently into the attacks on her, for the observance of the dictated decision in terms of labor, for the compensation of damages and the cancellation of the arrest-orders against Margareth and other people involved in the protest-actions that have been mentioned.

For more information (in Spanish):

Una mujer denuncia ataques e inicia huelga de hambre en Chiapas (La Jornada, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Sobreviviente de feminicidio en huelga de hambre, ante la omisión del gobierno de Chiapas (Acción Urgente, Campaña Popular contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres y el Feminicidio, 15 de marzo de 2015)


Chiapas: Believing People of Simojovel announce pilgrimage to Tuxtla to demand peace and justice

March 22, 2015

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Press-conference, 17 March. Photo @SIPAZ

The Believing People of Simojovel, during a press-conference held on 17 March at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, (CDHFBC), called for a pilgrimage or way of the cross from 23 to 26 March as a means of peacefully denouncing the violence they experience in their region.  They compare this situation of violence at the state and national levels: “Simojovel is a small reflection of what is happening throughout the country: the institutionalized corruption governs at all levels, and for that reason the people must rise up and organize themselves to defend life.  What is at risk is human life, the future of our children, and of our daughters.”  The pilgrimage will be held from 23-26 March, leaving the first day from Simojovel and passing through the communities of Bochil, Ixtapa and Chiapa de Corzo, arriving on Thursday 26 March in the Chiapas capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado y fotos (Chiapas Denuncia, 17 de marzo de 2015)

Conferencia de prensa (Ustream, 17 de marzo de 2015)

Comunicado Simojovel (17 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November de 2014)

Chiapas: Believing People organize fourth pilgrimage in Simojovel (20 July 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage in Simojovel for the closure of “cantinas” and the end of violence; parish priest receives threats (13 June 2014)


Chiapas: Misopá ejido denounces unauthorized exploratory work by CONAFOR

March 22, 2015

Municipio de Tila, foto de archivo @ SIPAZ

Tila municipality, archive photo @ SIPAZ

On 3 March, a denunciation was made public by the Misopa Chinal ejido, Tila municipality, which pertains to the People United in Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE) and adheres to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, which accuses the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR) of having entered “to our ejidal lands” to carry out studies and explorations: “they seek to apply the badly named agrarian reforms in our lands and territories.”

The denunciation mentions that on 27 February, several people arrived representing “the AMAREF S.A. de C.V. firm […] to work in the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.”   The ejido declared that said firm has been contracted by CONAFOR and “has as its proposal to extract information regarding the conditions of trees, foliage, and soils” to carry out a reforestation in the area.  On 28 February, the ejidatarios of the 7 annexes of Misopa Chinal ejido expressed their disagreement with the “foreign persons in our ejido” doing this type of work, and they added that “the ejidatarios can plant trees from the region that are desired to manage their lands and territories.”  They also asked the authorities not to enter with their equipment “which have been taken by the ejidal assembly.”  The communique indicates that “we will hold the bad government of EPN responsible for any type of demand made against the ejidatarios and the ejidal authorities.  We never requested the presence of these people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Ejido Misopá denuncia exploraciones no autorizadas de CONAFOR en su territorio (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 3 de marzo de 2015)

Ejido Misopá denuncia exploraciones no autorizadas de CONAFOR en su territorio (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos, 3 de marzo de 2015)


Chiapas: Denunciation of military harassment of the Zapatista Good-Government Council in La Realidad

March 21, 2015

Homanaje a Galeano, La Realidad, agosto de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Homage to Galeano, La Realidad.  May 2014 (@SIPAZ)

In a communiqué released on 12 March, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced harassment by the Mexican Army against the Zapatista Good-Government Council of La Realidad, where a new school and clinic were recently inaugurated.  It should be recalled that on 2 May 2014, members of the Independent Historical Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC-H) attacked support-bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), leading to the death of José Luis Solís López, “Galeano.”  The attack also caused the destruction of the installations that have just been rebuilt.

The CDHFBC reported that members of the Civil Observation Brigades (BriCO), made up of activists in solidarity who find themselves in the community, have reported “incursions using convoys of trucks, Hummers, Jeeps, and other motorized equipment containing between 4 and 30 Mexican soldiers each.  There have also been continuous overflights by planes and helicopters that capture images and film the BriCO members, the EZLN support bases, and the JBG offices.  Since July 2014, these actions have been on the rise, both in terms of total number of soldiers involved, as well as in the frequency of events.”

For this reason, the CDHFBC expressed its concern, “given that these constitute acts of provocation and assault that violate the rights to autonomy and self-determination as stipulated in the Mexican Constitution, the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights, Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the San Andrés Sacamchem de los Pobres Accords.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín: Ejército mexicano hostiga a la Junta de Buen Gobierno Zapatista de La Realidad (CDHFBC, 12 de marzo de 2015)

Denuncian zapatistas incursión militar en una junta de buen gobierno(Proceso, 12 de marzo de 2015)

Denuncian bases de apoyo zapatistas hostigamiento del Ejército Mexicano (Chiapas Paralelo, 13 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: new communiques from the EZLN (21 March 2015)

Chiapas: EZLN requests support for the reconstruction of the autonomous school and clinic in La Realidad (13 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN pays tribute to murdered Support-base and announces organizational changes (10 June 2014)


Chiapas: Families of the Primero de Agosto community “in precarious conditions”

March 21, 2015

Familias desplazadas del Poblado Primero de Agosto (@CDHFBC)

Displaced families from the Primero de Agosto community (@CDHFBC)

In an Urgent Action published on 6 March, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced that the families displaced from the Primero de Agosto community, Las Margaritas municipality, find themselves “in precarious conditions” while the “state government fails to observe its obligations.”

After documenting the forcible displacement of 57 individuals, “a situation caused by the events which took place on 23 February 2015, due to the actions of members of the Independent Historical Campesino-Agricultural Worker Center (CIOAC-H), who are protected in the region by the municipal government of Las Margaritas and authorities from the Chiapas state government,”  the CDHFBC indicated that the Tojolabal indigenous individuals find themselves in “precarious conditions in terms of food, water, and health.  They are protecting themselves from the elements only using plastic, and there are several families living together in one space.”

The CDHFBC also noted that “despite the denunciation of the acts that occurred, to date the authorities have not carried out judicial inspections and have not verified the conditions of the forcible displacement.  Beyond this, the government of Manuel Velasco Coello has made no response, despite the fact that there exists a formal commitment to do so, in accordance with the agreement made in terms of the property of the lands from which the Tojolabal indigenous were expelled by the CIOAC-H.”

For this reason, the CDHFBC requested the following: the adoption of measures that guarantee the human rights of the displaced, the investigation and punishment of those responsible for their displacement and the damages committed against the goods of the residents of the Primero de Agosto community, as well as a comprehensive treatment of the victims, in accordance with the laws governing internal displacement, humanitarian aid, and compensation for damages, violated rights, and the return of the displaced families under secure conditions.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente del CDHFBC: Familias del Poblado Primero de Agosto en condiciones precarias (CDHFBC, 7 de marzo de 2015)

Familias indígenas desplazadas en Chiapas, presentan problemas de salud (Animal Político, 7 de marzo de 2015)

Poblado Primero de Agosto denuncia desplazamiento forzado sincondiciones de seguridad (7 de marzo de 2015)

Mujeres del Poblado Primero de Agosto exigen retorno a su comunidad (8 de marzo de 2015)

La expulsión violenta y el desplazamiento forzado, una constante en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 11 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 57 Tojolabal indigenous people forcibly displaced from their community, Primero de Agosto (8 March 2015)

Chiapas: EZLN announces dates for the exchanges between Zapatistas and indigenous peoples of the CNI (12 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN announces upcoming activities (10 June 2014)

Chiapas: EZLN communique “Pain and Rage” (18 May 2014)

Chiapas: Attacks on EZLN support bases leave one dead and 15 injured among Zapatistas (16 May 2014)


National/International: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presents report about Mexico in Geneva

March 21, 2015

Juan E. Méndez, Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la Tortura (@Naciones Unidas)

Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (@UN)

On 9 March, Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading Treatment, presented the report based on his visit to Mexico between April and May 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.  In his conclusions, he mentions that “torture and ill-treatment of the incarcerated after their arrest and prior to their presentation to the justice system are generalized phenomena in Mexico which take place within the context of impunity.”  He added that there is evidence of the active participation of police and military forces, “but also tolerance, indifference, or complicity on the part of some doctors, public defenders, prosecutors, and judges.”  He indicated furthermore that torture is used “to punish the arrested and to extract confessions or incriminating information.”  He highlighted moreover that “the impunity of torture and other abuses is sufficient to lead to its repetition and exacerbation.”

For this reason, the Special Rapporteur recommended legislative reforms that would integrate international standards into domestic law, thus effectively preventing and punishing torture and other abuses, as well as to undertake the investigation of all denunciations that are presented, including “the tasks that remain in terms of the Dirty War.”  He recommended also that the dimension of the phenomenon be publicly recognized, and that all the authorities receive strong public pressure insisting that all abuses will be seriously investigated and punished.

Following the presentation of this report, Jorge Lomónaco, Mexican representative before international organizations, affirmed that “we cannot agree with the view that torture is generalized in the country, because that is not the case in reality.”  He added that what the Special Rapporteur claimed “does not reflect the enormous efforts that my country’s government has made to strengthen a culture of respect for human rights in the law and in practice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Ver Informe completo (Juan E. Méndez, diciembre de 2014)

Generalizada, la tortura en México (Proceso, 7 de marzo de 2015)

“Todos los cuerpos policiales torturan en el país” (El País, 9 de marzo de 2015)

México: entre la tortura y la impunidad (Centro PRODH, Animal Político, 9 de marzo de 2015)

La tortura es generalizada en México: relator de ONU; eso es mentira, responde embajador (Animal Político, 9 de marzo de 2015)

México y ONU ahora chocan por informe sobre la tortura (Milenio, 10 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico” (15 September 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror” (3 July 2014)

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (1 January, 2014)


National/Oaxaca/Chiapas: National tour on forcible disappearance in Mexico

March 10, 2015

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Press-conference, 2 March.  Photo@Sipaz

On 2 and 3 March, in observance of the “National tour on forcible disappearance in Mexico: the case of Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sánchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya, a crime against humanity,” as organized by the National Front for the Struggle toward Socialism (FNLS) and the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared “Until We Find Them,” a press-conference was organized together with a teacher’ meeting in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The relatives in question, Nadin Reyes Maldonado and Margarita Cruz Sánchez, as well as the lawyer César Augusto Sandino Rivero Espinosa, presented the case of the two social activists, who were detained and disappeared in 2007.  They denounced that “the Mexican State continues insists on maintaining the military on the margins of consideration.  Of the four lines of investigation in the case, at least three mention the participation of federal forces.  However, those reaches of federal power must remain in impunity, and so they blame local officials.”

Furthermore, Nadin Reyes Maldonado and Margarita Cruz Sánchez denounced the criminalization of the search for the relatives and their struggle for a broad investigation.  Their lawyer indicated the gravity of the impact of a case like this, being a “direct repression against a social struggle.”  The organizations calling for the tour indicate as well in their communique the national dimensions of this crime: “The forcible disappearances of people are a reality that hurt increasingly more people, including millions of Mexicans like Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sánchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya, […] as well as the Triqui indigenous women Daniela and Virginia Ortiz Ramírez, the Chatino indigenous man Lauro Juárez, and the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.”  They call for the Mexican State to “be judged before international courts for State terror and crimes against humanity.  In this same way, State authorities must be held accountable for their participation or omission in the commission of multiple human-rights violations.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa (FNLS, 2 de marzo de 2015)

Los desaparecidos, “en manos de militares” y policías federales (La Jornada, 9 de julio de 2007)

Invitación de Hasta Encontrarlos (10 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Internacional: Actions taken on the International Day of the Detained and Disappeared (6 September 2014)

National: International Week of the Detained and Disappeared concludes in Mexico (10 June 10 2014)

National: 30 August, International Day for Victims of Forced Disappearance (16 September 2013)


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