National: Reform Of Law for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Debated in Context of Greater Vulnerability in Pandemic

May 26, 2020

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On May 20th, a controversial initiative was proposed to the Permanent Commission by the MORENA deputies that proposes to abolish 44 trusts, related to support for the Mexican film industry, agriculture, science and technology, national sports, and energy sector contractors and suppliers among others. It proposes to modify 14 legal systems, among them the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.

Given this, former members of the Governing Board and the Advisory Council of the Protection Mechanism for both sectors warned of the fact that “it intends to disappear all those measures and locks that allow the management of resources through the trust to be transparent, with supervision of a collegiate body and with the active participation of a representative of civil society or academia.” “The Protection Mechanism (…) must be strengthened not weakened,” they declared. “Legislative measures to modify the regulatory framework that regulates the Mechanism are not necessary. What is urgent is the generation of a comprehensive public policy of protection that coordinates ordinary state scaffolding, until now ignored, which should guarantee that journalists and defenders can do their daily work in safety”, they stressed. “Although the operation of the Mechanism has had great vicissitudes, the trust has guaranteed that the lives of hundreds of defenders and journalists were protected in the last seven years,” they recalled.

Shortly before, activists, organizations and networks justly denounced that “in the current context of the health emergency caused by COVID-19, the risk situation experienced by human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico has worsened, without an adequate response from the authorities.” Espacio OSC (SCO Space) noted that “since March 15th, the date on which the health emergency was decreed, according to official figures from the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (…) at least 44 attacks against human rights defenders and journalists have been identified and the murder of two journalists and four human rights defenders, with the state of Guerrero presenting the greatest increase in risk situations for journalists.”

Putting these figures in context, it indicated that “according to the annual report of the Mechanism, in 2019 a total of 295 attacks were registered, on average 24.5 attacks per month, which implies that in the context of a health crisis the attacks have doubled.”

The CSOs expressed their concern about the fact that “the Head of the Executive continues to use a discourse that discredits the role of the media and journalistic work. These statements contribute to creating a hostile environment against those who practice journalism and the media, and to that extent can undermine freedom of expression.” They noted that in several states the imposition of measures that restrict and hinder freedom of transit and association, such as curfews, “have a negative impact on the work of defense of human rights and freedom of expression.” They called to “strengthen the work of the Mechanism.”

For its part, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todas (Red TdT – Rights for All Network)) also stressed that in the case of the homicides of defenders, “two of these murders were in the homes of human rights defenders, which shows the increase in vulnerability to the health crisis due to COVID-19.” It also highlighted that of the four, “the work of three of these people was linked to the defense of land and territory, which is consistent with the trend that has been pointed out by the Red TdT and other organizations. With these four murders, there would already be 30 defenders killed during the six-year term of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.”

They also warned about the fact that “in the framework of the health contingency, it is clear that the work of defending human rights does not stop, but becomes especially relevant at a time when institutional absences become multiple windows of opportunity for the commission of crimes and human rights violations.”

For more information in Spanish:

Las ocurrencias legislativas ponen en riesgo a periodistas y personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Animal Político, 22 de mayo de 2020)

Propuesta de eliminar fideicomisos tambien toca a periodistas (La Jornada, 21 de mayo de 2020)

Espacio OSC, personas defensoras y periodistas llaman a respetar el derecho a defender derechos humanos y el ejercicio de la libertad de expresión durante la pandemia provocada por el Covid-19 (Espacio OSC, 20 de mayo de 2020)

Lista de personas defensoras y periodistas asesinados en México en 2020 (Educa, 20 de mayo de 2020)

Organizaciones denuncian que durante contingencia sanitaria se han recrudecido agresiones contra personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Red Tdt, 14 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: ONU-DH condena asesinato de un defensor ambiental (Oaxaca) y un periodista (Sonora); sexta persona defensora y el segundo periodista asesinados en 2020 (May 21, 2020)

National: CNDH Demands Clarification of Crimes against Journalists in Mexico – 90% Remain in Impunity (November 8, 2019)

National/International: UNO Presents Diagnostic of Protection Mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (September 2, 2019)

 

 


Guerrero: Mining Leader of Opposition to Media Luna Company Murdered in Cocula

May 19, 2020

Oscar-OntiverosOscar Ontiveros Martínez (@Proceso)

On May 12th, the mining leader in opposition to the Media Luna company, Oscar Ontiveros Martinez, was murdered by an armed group in the town of Real de Limon, municipality of Cocula.

Relatives of the victim denounced that “the murder of Oscar Ontiveros was for political-labor reasons and in repression for his activism in the Media Luna mining company, as he was a key worker in the work stoppage in November 2017.” They recalled that for the same reason he was one of the workers fired by the managers of the mining company after the strike movement that ended in early 2018.

They stated that the same paramilitary group allegedly hired by the mining company based in Cocula, was the one which murdered Quintin Salgado in January 2018, another activist opposed to the mining company who led a work stoppage to demand union independence and respect for the rights of tenant farmers . “This armed group has positioned itself in the Rio Balsas area, in favor of the Media Luna mining company because they receive monetary benefits to control the stoppages and any sign of community organization to denounce what is happening within the company,” they stated.

It should be remembered that, in January 2018, the brothers Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla Peña, both workers of the Media Luna company, who were participating in the work stoppage, were also killed.

This week, Media Luna, a subsidiary of Torex Gold Resources led by Canadian Fred Staford, announced that it was about to resume activities after stopping due to the health emergency that is caused by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) since April 2nd. It added that from May 18th operations will be resumed immediately and by June the mine will already be in “routine production.”

For more information in Spanish: 

Ejecutan a opositor a la minera Media Luna en Cocula, Guerrero (Proceso, 16 de mayo de 2020)

Inseguridad y pandemia factores de riesgo para operar en Guerrero: minera Torex Gold (El Sur, 15 de mayo de 2020)

Astudillo “actuó para remover bloqueos ilegales” del sindicato minero en 2018: Media Luna(Proceso, 14 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Desapareció líder comunitario de Cocula, Sindicato de EU pide a México su localización (October 2, 2019)

Guerrero: Conflict at Mine of Canadian Company Torex Gold Resources (February 17, 2018)

Guerrero: NGO releases Urgent Action to protect Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete (September 10, 2015)

 


National: CSOs Request Dialogue Spaces “Given the Disturbing Vulnerability of [Indigenous] Peoples and Communities” in Coronavirus Pandemic

May 18, 2020

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In a statement published on May 14th, a dozen Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including La Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center (Guerrero), EDUCA (Oaxaca) and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Chiapas), expressed their “deep concern about the conditions that the pandemic may generate in the communities during the following weeks and months, and we ask that a space for dialogue be opened to build proposals that address their conditions and needs.”

They recalled that these groups “have been historically forgotten by public health institutions, causing the systematic violation of their right to health,” a vulnerability that has been reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19)

“In addition to the lack of infrastructure, medical personnel and continuous supply of medicines, institutional discrimination and the lack of a culturally adequate and affordable preventive approach to the communities are added; as well as, in this context, the lack of adequate monitoring and follow-up of migrants who return to their communities, taking care of their dignity”, they denounced.

They also worried about “the economic vulnerability of most of the people in the communities. Lack of access to decent sources of employment in communities makes them dependent on trade and informal employment, as well as remittances from migrants in the United States. In the current context of global economic crisis, both local sources of income and remittances are at risk of declining sharply, without a program to guarantee a basic income.” They are alarmed that the food security of several of these communities is at risk.

On the other hand, CSOs expressed their concern at the fact that “communities face a reduced capacity to defend their territories and the environment, since their spaces for community decision-making are restricted and access to institutions for the provision of justice is limited”, which is why they support “the demand for a moratorium on all large-scale infrastructure projects that are affecting or may affect indigenous territories without their consent, with potential adverse impacts on human rights.”

Finally, they warned about the context of increased violence against women aggravated by the context of a health emergency.

Against this background, the authorities urged “to adopt better actions aimed at this population in matters of health, economy, food, water, sanitation, attention to conflict and security, without prejudice to their self-determination and autonomy.” They also called them “To open a space for dialogue and collaboration with civil society that allows us to face this crisis from multiple places; recognizing the efforts that communities are already making to face the crisis due to the pandemic from their own ways of life and organization.”

For more information in Spanish:

Ante la preocupante vulnerabilidad de pueblos y comunidades frente al COVID-19, organizaciones de la sociedad civil piden espacio de diálogo (OSC, 14 de mayo de 2020)

Comunidades indígenas, en especial vulnerabilidad por Coronavirus advierte ONG (Milenio, 14 de mayo de 2020)

Preocupa a ONG’s vulnerabilidad de pueblos y comunidades frente al Covid 19(El Sie7e de Chiapas, 15 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Cuts for Indigenous Women in Violent Situations(May 15, 2020)

Oaxaca: People of Oaxaca Granted Injunction against Sanctions for Use of Face Masks (May 11, 2020)

National: CNDH Calls for Protection of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Populations against COVID-19 (April 14, 2020)

National: Organizations Denounce Health Neglect in Open Letter to AMLO (April 16, 2020)


National/International: Mexico and IACHR Formalize Reinstallation of IGIE for Ayotzinapa Case

May 11, 2020

QueEsElGIEIIGIE in previous phase (@Centro PRO DH)

In a statement published on May 7th, the Interior and Foreign Relations Secretariats reported that the Mexican government signed an agreement with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the reinstatement of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE).

The objective in this new stage will be to provide international technical assistance for the advancement of investigations and to assist in the preparation of search plans, care for victims and other relevant aspects in the case of the forced disappearance of 43 students from Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero, in September 2014.

The statement explained that the process “was carried out taking into account the representation of the parents of the students, the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the experts themselves who will form part of the International Group of Independent Experts.”

It specified that this action is part of the commitment established in the “Decree that instructs to establish effective material, legal and human conditions to strengthen the human rights of the relatives of the victims of the Ayotzinapa case to truth and access to justice”, issued by President Lopez Obrador on December 4th, 2018 and which raised, among other points, the possibility of passing agreements that allow the IACHR to cooperate.

For more information in Spanish: 

Gobierno de México y CIDH firman acuerdo para reinstalación del GIEI, a fin de seguir brindando asistencia técnica en el caso Ayotzinapa (comunicado completo, 7 de mayo de 2020)

Firman Segob y SRE acuerdo con CIDH para reinstalación del GIEI (La Jornada, 7 de mayo de 2020)

Firman acuerdo de reinstalación de GIEI en caso Ayotzinapa (Aristegui Noticias, 7 de mayo de 2020)

Formalizan reinstalación del GIEI en el caso Ayotzinapa (Regeneración, 8 de mayo de 2020)

Acuerdan México y CIDH reinstalar el GIEI para el caso Ayotzinapa (El Universal, 7 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/Guerrero: Agreement to Reintroduce Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts in Ayotzinapa Case. Number of Disappeared Increases in the Country (January 14, 2020)

 

Guerrero: Attorney General Will Investigate Ayotzinapa Case “Almost from Scratch”(September 25, 2019)

 

Guerrero: New Stage in Investigation of Ayotzinapa Case – Creation of Special Investigation Unit with Omar Gomez Trejo as Head (July 8, 2019)

 


Guerrero: Committee of Mothers and Fathers of 43 Demand the “Search and Investigation Continue” Despite Health Emergency

April 28, 2020

peregrinacion padres estudiantes ayotzinapa diciembre 2019 (2)@Twitter

In a statement published on April 26th, 67 months after the forced disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal Rural School in Iguala, the Committee of Mothers and Fathers of the 43 demanded that the authorities not stop searching for the people disappeared in the country despite the health emergency due to Coronavirus (Covid-19). “It is necessary for the Government to find the appropriate mechanisms so that, without breaking with the rules established by the health emergency, the search and investigation do not stop,” it declared.

It noted that so far “investigations and searches have shown minimal progress, since important findings have been found that are being identified in the laboratories of the University of Innsbruck, three arrests have been made and an arrest warrant was issued against Tomas Zeron de Lucio ex-chief of the Criminal Investigation Agency and one of those who built the historical lie. However, these steps are not enough to find the whereabouts of our children and to know the truth and access justice.”

It also expressed fear “that the media agenda focused on the health issue will make the disappeared and the pain that mothers and fathers experience every day invisible.” For their part, they confirmed that “nothing will stop us, we will continue looking for our children no matter what happens.”

For more information in Spanish:

Aunque los mares se sequen y la tormenta arrecie te seguiré buscando (Comité de Madres y Padres de los 43, 26 de abril de 2020)

Padres de Ayotzinapa exigen continuar con búsqueda pese a contingencia (El Sol de México, 26 de abril de 2020)

Padres de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa piden que continúe la investigación pese a la contingencia por Covid-19 (El Economista, 26 de abril de 2020)

Padres de Ayotzinapa exigen a México no frenar la búsqueda de los desaparecidos (EFE, 27 de abril de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: CNDH to Investigate Attacks on Parents of Ayotzinapa 43 (April 5, 2020)

National/Guerrero: Federal Judge Gives Prison Sentences to Three Accused of Torture in Ayotzinapa Case (March 30, 2020)

National/Guerrero: First Legal Actions against Officials in Ayotzinapa Case Investigation (March 24, 2020)

National/Guerrero: First Legal Actions against Officials in Ayotzinapa Case Investigation (March 24, 2020)


Guerrero: Supreme Court Invalidates Changes to Law 701 on Recognitions, Rights and Culture of Indigenous Peoples and Communities of the State Due to Lack of Consultation

April 23, 2020

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On October 20th, via Internet, the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared unconstitutional the controversial modifications of Law 701 of Recognitions, Rights and Culture of the Indigenous Peoples and Communities of the State of Guerrero carried out in 2018.

According to a statement published by the La Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, the SCJN “established that said legislative modifications directly affect the rights of the indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples and communities of the state since there was no prior, free, informed consultation, in good faith and culturally appropriate, which in turn violates constitutional parameters and international treaties.”

The SCJN also established that this sentence will take effect once it is published in the Official Gazette of the Federation and that the legislature will have 12 months to make the necessary adjustments, “consulting at all times the indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples and communities of the State of Guerrero.”

La Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center welcomed “the sentence issued by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that recognized the right of indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples to prior, free, informed and culturally appropriate consultation. The ruling recognizes indigenous peoples’ right to comment on the laws, programs or projects that may affect them. It clearly establishes that it is not the state authorities that can unilaterally decide the course of life for indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples.”

For more information in Spanish:

La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación declara la inconstitucionalidad de las reformas a la Ley 701 y la Ley 777 del Sistema de Seguridad Pública del Estado de Guerrero (Tlachinollan, 20 de abril de 2020)

SCJN invalida Ley de Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas de Guerrero (El Economista, 20 de abril de 2021)

Corte anula decretos de SLP y de Guerrero por no consultar indígenas y descapacitados (Milenio, 21 de abril de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: CRAC-PC Asks Local Deputies to Pass New Indigenous Law Immediately (February 18, 2020)

 

Guerrero: CRAC-PC marches in Chilpancingo demanding the reform of the Law 701 (November 11, 2019)

Guerrero: CRAC PC denuncia criminalización y persecución de sus integrantes por parte del poder judicial (6 de noviembre de 2019)

Guerrero: Libertad absolutoria de los 16 presos de la CRAC PC y el CECOP (8 de junio de 2019)

Guerrero: CRAC-PC Coordinator of San Luis Acatlan Murdered (May 9, 2019)


Guerrero/International: Difficult Situation for Migrants and farm Workers Who Are Stuck or Want to Return

April 22, 2020

Community checkpoint (@Tlachinollan)

In a letter dated April 19th and addressed to the President of the Republic and other federal officials, municipal and community authorities, both concerns and proposals were expressed to address the “tragedy” resulting from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) nationally and internationally.

Although they recognized “the laudable effort that is made in all the municipalities of Guerrero” by the health sector, they called attention to the specific needs of the “indigenous and Afro brothers” not only in this situation of health crisis but for the economic and social consequences that this will have for this vulnerable and marginalized sector in itself.

They asked the federal, state and municipal government to “not only respect community decisions to establish control systems for the entry and exit of many indigenous communities in Guerrero” but also “to explore support mechanisms, because the effort of the peoples is to avoid the spread of the “Coronavirus.”” They stated that “they are drastic measures of protection, but necessary.”

They asked for particular attention for the agricultural day laborers who, “surrounded by hunger and to survive, year after year travel to the northern states of the Republic in search of work on agricultural plantations” but who, in this context, were forced to return without taking “health measures to prevent the spread of the virus that plagues our country.”

They also warned about the migrants who are in the United States, thousands of people from Guerrero who are in particular difficulty in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, at a time when many “have lost their job or stopped working.” They urged that “the consulates and diplomatic missions of our country provide humanitarian aid to our compatriots.”

They proposed a series of measures to address the situation in both the US and Mexico.

In previous days, both the media and the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center reported on the situation of the numerous migrants from La Montaña Guerrero who are in the United States (at least 14 of them have died in New York in recent weeks) and those who tried to return to “face a new obstacle: their communities are closed, even to them, (…) which is why they have stayed in Tlapa, the largest city in La Montaña.”

For more information in Spanish:

Preocupados por los Pueblos Indígenas y Afros de Guerrero y México por el Covid-19 (autoridades y municipales y representantes indígenas y afros, 19 de abril de 2020)

En La Montaña de Guerrero, las comunidades se cierran incluso para recibir a los suyos (La Jornada, 17 de abril de 2020)

Mueren 14 indígenas migrantes en NY por Covid-19 (La Jornada, 17 de abril)

Indígenas en el corazón del Bronx (Tlachinollan, 17 de abril de 2020)

Morir de COVID – 19 en Nueva York (Tlachinollan, 13 de abril de 2020)

 

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Danger of Food Shortage in La Montaña Due to Coronavirus (April 19, 2020)

National: Organiaztions Denounce Health Neglect in Open Letter to AMLO (April 16, 2020)

National: CNDH Calls for Protection of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Populations against COVID-19 (April 14, 2020)