Guerrero/National/International: UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) to evaluate the case of Mexico

February 10, 2015

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Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 2 and 3 February, the UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) evaluated the question of Mexico’s observance of its obligations, as stipulated in the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Forcible Disappearance, for the first time.  Relatives of two of the 43 disappeared students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, accompanied by a dozen Mexican human-rights organizations, arrived to Geneva to represent their peers.  They gave presentations at the United Nations and shared with the international community their profound indignation over the events of late September that took place in Guerrero state.  Bernabé Abraham Gaspar, father of Adán Abraham de la Cruz, one of the victims, emphasized that “for us, our sons are not dead.  They have been disappeared.  It is for that reason that we have come to the United Nations, so that you can help us find them.”

The CED has deeply questioned the Mexican State in relation to the actions and policies supposedly designed to prevent, investigate, and sanction forcible disappearances, as well as to search out the missing and protect their families.  In this sense, the Committee interrogated the State regarding the reasons for the closure of the FEMOSPP, an institution that had been charged with investigating the grave human-rights violations that took place during the “Dirty War” of the 1970’s, as well as the lengthy delay of the federal government in attending to the case of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.  The CED indicated that the Ayotzinapa case represents a serious challenge for the Mexican State, but that it also demonstrates a broader structural problem that has developed due to impunity. Stephanie Erin Brewer, coordinator of International Affairs at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, has indicated that the question of impunity has been present at all moments, given that the members of the Committee have indicated that there are exceedingly few cases in which sentences have been handed down.  She inquired into the reasons behind the closure of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Past Crimes and other events, such as the faulty classification of this type of crime.  The conclusions and recommendations for Mexico will be made public on 13 February.

For more information (in Spanish):

México ante el Comité contra la Desaparición Forzada: la obligación de hacer de la crisis actual un punto de inflexión en la política del Estado(Centro ProDH, 3 de febrero de 2015)

“Que no nos mientan más…que se haga justicia” (Alba TV, 2 de febrero de 2015)

INFORME | La Desaparición Forzada de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa frente al CED (Tlachinollan, 2 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders in México

February 10, 2015

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On 3 February, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a report that evaluates the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders, which has existed formally in Mexico for a little over two years.  While the report recognizes the “importance of the Mechanism and the courageous work done by the team that comprises it,” it also identifies a number of areas in which “improvements are needed, using several cases that will serve as examples to illustrate these weaknesses.”

The report details how Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and human-rights defenders: “During the first nine months of 2014, the Mexican section of the international organization Article 19 documented 222 aggressions against journalists; […] and between January 2011 and December 2013, the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Groups documented 27 cases of human-rights defenders being murdered as a result of their labor.”

The report on the Mechanism notes that, “since the beginning, the lack of personnel and funds has limited the capacity of the Mechanism to respond efficiently to urgent petitions it receives from journalists and human-rights defenders.  A large part of the constrained number of personnel who were initially assigned to the Mechanism have not been adequately trained, were insufficiently qualified, and had merely temporary contracts.”  It indicates that “there has been an accumulation of cases for the Mechanism, and the majority of the human-rights defenders and journalists who have submitted petitions to the Mechanism have had to wait many months, and on some occasions longer than a year, with no response.”

According to WOLA and PBI, there was seen “bad communication between the beneficiaries and the personnel of the Mechanism,” as well as a “lack of coordination among the different organizations involved in the process,” leading to “grave failures in the provision of protection.”

Both organizations lamented that the investigations linked to aggressions against journalists and rights-defenders “have not advanced,” thus maintaining a situation of near-total impunity in these cases.  They stressed that, worst of all, the government has deployed forces “to discredit and criminalize the rights-defenders and human-rights organizations,” hence sending the “worrying message that the government neither respects nor recognizes the courageous work of human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en México: desafíos y oportunidades (WOLA y PBI, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Periodistas y activistas están desprotegidos por el gobierno: WOLA y BPI(Proceso, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Gobernación no protege ni a periodistas ni a activistas: ONGs desde Washington (Sin Embargo, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)


National: Promotion of Citizens’ Popular Congress

February 10, 2015

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On 5 February, in observance of the anniversary of the entrance into law of the current Mexican Constitution, parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, together with Raúl Vera, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the priest Alejandro Solalinde, the poet Javier Sicilia, and the artist Francisco Toledo, together with members of human-rights organizations, churches, campesino organizations, and unions participated in the public presentation of the initiative for a Popular Citizens’ Constitution.  The organizational call notes in this sense that “we call on civil society, women and men, without importance to creed, gender diversity, or social class to advance with the refoundation of the nation; to progress toward the creation of a new constitution that bases elections on democracy, ensures that the representatives of a new congress be subject to the will of the people, and forever buries all types of juridical and economic forms of organization that merely make the people into commodities to be plundered.  This constitution must put an end to impunity, racism, and patriarchy.  To serve and to lead by obeying must be the new conditions of those who become representative of civil society.”

Following a series of sessions throughout the country during the past 11 months, the partisans of the Citizens’ Constitution explained the necessity of “refounding the country.”  Toward this end 20 points have been presented, including guarantees for human rights and union organizing, beyond the implementation of a convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

There was also announced a planned meeting on 21 March “to discuss the political reality of the countryin terms of the elections for this year.”  Beyond this, there was made a call for the First National Assembly of the Committee for National Refoundation that will be held on 2 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria Hacia la Constituyente Ciudadana-Popular (Regeneración, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Presentan activistas el “Primer Constituyente Ciudadano Popular”(Proceso, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Activistas y ONG presentan el “primer constituyente ciudadano” (La Jornada, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Solalinde, Raúl Vera y Sicilia presentan primer Constituyente Ciudadana(Vanguardia, 5 de febrero de 2015)


National/International: German activists reject security agreement with Mexico

February 10, 2015

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German activists in front of the Ministry of the Interior. Photo@México Vía Berlín

On 3 February, dozens of persons protested in front of the German Ministry of the Interior against a security agreement that is planned with Mexico.  The activists submitted a list of 7,830 persons who reject the support Berlin provides for police and juridical authorities in Mexico.  These signatures are the results of a campaign promoted by the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico which has repeatedly pronounced itself against this type of agreement given that, as it argues, conditions do not exist in Mexico for a collaboration of this type.  The petition’s website explains that “this agreement would not serve to regulate the police who are systematically torturing their people, killing innocents, and raping women, besides being involved in the forcible disappearances of tens of thousands of people for decades.”  In response to the German government’s argument that corruption is limited to the local and municipal levels, the activists note that “this is a disingenuous argument, to claim that the problems have to do with the local police […].  The impunity of the security forces is the functional reality of all levels of the Mexican government, and only in a very limited set of situations can it be broken using particular tactics.  For the German police to collaborate with these structures would be to legitimate the principle of impunity.”

Present at the protest was a Mexican delegation, which included the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, and members of the Network in Solidarity Decade against Impunity.  After the protest, close to 40 activists met with officials from the Ministry, including Peter Steck and Siegfried Helmut Mueller. Bishop Vera handed over the list of signatures against the controversial security proposal and expressed the same sort of worry evinced by the other activists: “At this time, as Ayotzinapa has shown, the police, the Army, and organized crime act jointly together against the people of the country.  And the federal government knows that part of civil society disagrees with this, such that they feel insecure.  And this force that you are giving to the police will not be used to fight organized crime but instead people like us.”  For his part, Peter Steck promised the activists that he would transmit the information to be considered in the negotiations regarding the security accord.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campaña “No al acuerdo” de la Coordinación Alemana por los Derechos Humanos en México

Activistas rechazan en Berlín convenio de seguridad con México(LaJornada, 4 de febrero, 2015)

Obispo Vera pide al gobierno alemán evitar firma de acuerdo con México(Proceso, 3 de febrero, 2015)

Acuerdo de seguridad Alemania-México: inminente y poco transparente(Deutsche Welle, 8 de diciembre, 2014)

Los peligros del Acuerdo de Seguridad entre México y Alemania (eltoque, 4 de febrero, 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: update in the Ayotzinapa case (17 December 2014)


Chiapas: Call for the 2015 jTatik Samuel Jcanan Lum Award

February 8, 2015

© SIPAZ convocatoria Jcanan Lum 2015

Jcanan Lum Award call 2015 © SIPAZ

On 23 January, the 2015 public call to propose candidates for the “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award” was launched.  The announcement was made by Monseigneur José Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo and the honorary president of the organizing committee.

The call recalls that the award has the goal of “making known and inspiring the work of women and men, organizations, and collectives that have distinguished themselves by their contribution to the people in the creation of communal and/or regional alternatives, as well as by their work directed at unity and peaceful social transformation […].  We want to recognize their love for the people, their resistance, their service, their search for alternatives amidst the suffering and marginalization of their communities, amidst the destruction of the Earth, the defense of human rights, the defense of the dignity of all, and their struggle for peace, justice, and liberation.”

“jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” is a charge that the Mons. Samuel Ruíz García received in the community of Amatenango del Valle by Ch’ol, Tojolabal, Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Zoque peoples on 14 October 2009.  There, he was recognized as the protector of their people, who love and defend him for being someone who cares for life, nature, and the Earth.  With reference to the same, the jTatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award seeks to support individuals or groups and stimulate them by giving voice to their social work.

The proposals must be made in writing, physically, or electronically before 31 October 2015 to the following address: Calle Brasil No. 14, Barrio de Mexicanos, CP 29240, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México. Tel. and fax: 967 6787395, 967 6787396 E-mail: jcananlum@gmail.com

The awarding of the next wave of Recognitions will take place in January 2016 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in observance of the Episcopal Anniversary of jTatic Samuel Ruiz García.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria jCanan Lum 2015

“Reconocimiento jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum”, lanzamiento de convocatoria, Koman ilel, 23 de enero de 2015

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award during the assembly of the Believing People (7 March 2011)

Chiapas: Presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award to the Coordination of Indigenous Social Organizations XI’NICH (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: celebration and presentation of 2011 jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Chiapas: Burial of Don Samuel Ruiz and presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Chiapas: visit to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor denied (30 July 2010)


Guerrero: IACHR calls on Mexican government to guarantee medical attention to Nestora Salgado, political prisoner from the Communal Police of Olinalá, Guerrero, held in federal prison in Tepic, Nayarit

February 8, 2015

Nestora Salgado (@Desinformémonos)

Nestora Salgado (@Desinformémonos)

On 28 January, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on the Mexican government to guarantee medical attention to the activist Nestora Salgado, a member of the Communal Police from Olinalá, Guerrero, who is at present being held in the federal prison of Tepic, Nayarit.

Nestora Salgado, 41 years of age, was arrested in August 2013 after individuals who had been arrested by the Communal Police that she led claimed to have been kidnapped.  A federal judge dismissed these charges in 2014, but several state-level charges remain against her to date.  In January, Rogelio Ortega Martínez, governor of Guerrero, requested that the state attorney general, Miguel Ángel Godínez Muñoz, suspend the charges against her.  However, the petition was ignored following pressure applied by the anti-kidnapping activists Alejandro Martí and Isabel Miranda de Wallace.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pide la CIDH atención médica para Nestora Salgado (Proceso, 2 de febrero de 2015)

CIDH pide a México garantizar atención médica a Nestora Salgado (La Jornada, 2 de febrero de 2015)

CIDH exige iniciar medidas cautelares para Nestora Salgado (El Universal, 3 de febrero de 2015)

La CIDH ordenó que se proteja a Nestora Salgado (Aristegui Noticias, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Delay in release for Nestora Salgado; her daughter claims to have been threatened by phone (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: Death-threat directed against Nestora Salgado’s daughter and Communal Police commander from Olinalá (25 October 2014)

Guerrero: A year after Nestora Salgado’s arrest, organizations demand her immediate release (2 September 2014)

Guerrero/National: Emergence of Committee of Women for the Liberty of Nestora Salgado (2 September 2014)

Guerrero: Navy kidnaps coordinator of CRAC en Olinalá (13 September 2013)


Chiapas/National: Bishops of southern Mexico pronounce themselves on the “drama of migration”

February 8, 2015

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At the end of January, the Episcopalian Pastoral Commission for Human Mobility, part of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopals (CEM), held a three-day meeting in Tapachula with the participation of nine bishops working in the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Campeche, and Veracruz. At the end of the meeting, in the document entitled “No to Indifference before the Drama of Migration,” the bishops pronounced themselves, declaring that “the Church is not indifferent to this drama.  The constant calls from the Pope and the bishops in light of this reality are a voice for the conscience of Christians and those who should offer efficient responses to society before this situation.  This is a voice that is lamentably not heard, above all by those who with their criminal practices make each day that passes more painful and more insecure for so many of our Central America brothers.”

Furthermore, they emphasized that “to the authorities we want to remind them to address the question of migration with more gravity in all aspects: above all, working decisively to promote dignified sources of work, the only way forward to eradicate poverty, which is a fundamental factor in this human drama.  It is urgent moreover to find and guarantee physical and legal security for those who transit through our territory.  Hospitality and the human values of Mexicans cannot be allowed to continue deteriorating due to external political interests or pressures.  The policy in this country should be defined by the values and principles of solidarity and respect for human life and dignity, as enshrined in our Constitution.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del CEM No a la indiferencia ante el drama de la migración (30 de enero de 2015)

Piden obispos a México y EU abrir las fronteras (Milenio, 30 de enero de 2015)

Obispos repudian plan Frontera Sur (Proceso, 30 de enero de 2015)

Piden obispos mayor atención y seriedad al tema de migración (Chiapas Paralelo, 31 de enero de 2015)

Infructuoso, el Plan Frontera Sur: obispos (La Jornada, 31 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)


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