National: CNDH Requests Cautionary Measures for Cristobal Santiz Jimenez

March 30, 2020

Cristobal Santiz Jimenez@ Frayba

On March 26th, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) requested that the Governor of Chiapas, the Secretary General of the Government and the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection of the state implement precautionary measures for Cristobal Santiz Jimenez, who has been deprived of his liberty since last March 14th at the State Center for Social Reintegration (CERSS) Number 14 “El Amate”. It should be noted that Cristobal Santiz Jimenez is a Tzotzil indigenous originating from the municipality of Aldama and a community defender and representative of the Permanent Commission of Communal and Displaced Peoples.

In this sense, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) reported the defender’s human rights abuses and violations and requested, after the arrest, precautionary measures before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to protect the life and safety of Cristobal Santiz Jimenez and his family. Likewise, Frayba explains that his arrest “occurs in the context of criminalization and threats to his life, liberty, security and integrity due to the constant denunciations of the omission of the Mexican State in the escalation of violence in the Chiapas Highlands region”, and he has faced threats “from the Mexican State that demanded his silence in exchange for his freedom; as well as death threats by the armed paramilitary group of Santa Martha, Chenalho,” said Frayba on its NotiFrayba news site.

According to the CNDH press release, measures are requested “with respect to acts or omissions that could constitute violations of the victim’s human rights, including protection of life, integrity, personal security and health.”

For more information in Spanish:

Solicita CNDH a autoridades de Chiapas, medidas cautelares en favor del señor Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez (CNDH, 26 marzo 2020)

CNDH solicita al gobierno de Chiapas medidas cautelares a favor del activista Cristóbal Sántiz (Proceso, 26 marzo 2020)

Urgimos la libertad de Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez
(Frayba, 15 marzo 2020)

Exhorta CNDH al gobierno de Chiapas a salvaguardar la vida, integridad personal y seguridad de las comunidades indígenas en conflicto por la disputa de tierras
(CNDH, 26 marzo 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Detienen a defensor comunitario de derechos humanos por presunto homicidio (March 17, 2020)

Chiapas: Authorities in Santa Martha and Aldama Denounce New Attacks (March 5, 2020)


National/Guerrero: Federal Judge Gives Prison Sentences to Three Accused of Torture in Ayotzinapa Case

March 30, 2020

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On March 26th, three former security officials were sent to prison for their alleged participation in the torture of detainees in the investigation of the case of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School who disappeared in Iguala in 2014.

Different sources reported that the Special Investigation and Litigation Unit for the Ayotzinapa case obtained a formal prison order against the officials “Isidro Junco Barajas, who currently served as Deputy Director of Operational Control of the Security Directorate of the Chamber of Deputies (…) Ezequiel Peña Cerda, now area director at the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) and the marine Ariel Agustin Castillo Reyes.”

“According to judicial sources, Ezequiel Peña Cerda and Ariel Agustin Castillo Reyes, in addition to the crime of torture, were charged with the crime against the administration of justice and abuse of authority,” the media reported.

On March 17th, the three former officials were detained by the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) for their involvement in the arrest of Carlos Canto, who was allegedly involved in the disappearance of the missing students, who was tortured to force his confession.

For more information in Spanish:

Juez dicta prisión a tres acusados de tortura en el caso Ayotzinapa (Política Expansión, 26 de marzo de 2020)

Dictan formal prisión por tortura a tres implicados en el caso Ayotzinapa (El Proceso, 26 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

National/Guerrero: Meeting on New Evidence in Ayotzinapa Case (March 9, 2020)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Two Police Officers Held for Attacks on Parents of the Ayotzinapa 43 Disapeared; Investigation of Students who Participated in Protest Continue (February 26, 2020)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Parents of Ayotzinapa 43 Attacked with Tear Gas in Tuxtla Gutierrez (February 17, 2020)

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


Chiapas: National Guard and Police Oppression of Migrants Protesting over COVID-19 Fears

March 30, 2020

gobierno-desvanece-la-promesa-de-migracin-ordenada-y-segura-organizaciones@Conexion Migrante

On March 23rd, between 50 and 70 migrants, mainly from Central American countries, clashed with Federal Police and National Guard agents inside the Siglo XXI Migration Center in Tapachula.

Given the worldwide spread of COVID-19, Guatemala closed its borders on March 17th and asked Mexico to end the deportations of Central American migrants. For this reason, many find themselves unable to return to their countries of origin or continue their journey through Mexico to the United States. They are trapped in Tapachula.

In addition to that, at least two shelters on the border between Guatemala and Mexico stopped their service due to the pandemic meaning that migrants who have not been detained by elements of the National Guard are in a high risk situation as they have no place of refuge.

Information on the events of last Monday at the immigration station was obtained through interviews with witnesses and victims.

They reported that there was a protest by a group of migrants in the courtyard of the men’s module at around 5 pm to express their fear in the context of COVID-19 and demand their release or return to their countries of origin. Previously, they had repeatedly denounced the conditions in the migration station, which has severe overcrowding, food and water shortages, and limited medical care.

In response to the protest, a brigade of Federal Police and some 20 National Guard agents entered, who dispersed the group using pepper spray and water jets. According to what was documented by the Human Rights Observation and Monitoring Collective, they dragged the protesters to the bathrooms, a place without surveillance cameras, to punish them with kicks and punches, as well as Taser devices for electric shocks.

They then led people by bus to an unknown location. “It is urgent to find out how many people were removed from the Migration Center, where they are and what the current physical and mental health situation is,” said Conexion Migrante.

In a statement, the Collective for Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in Southeast Mexico and the Driving Group against Immigration Detention and Torture expressed that they condemn “energetically all acts of violence and the use of disproportionate force against people, men, women and adolescents in immigration detention.” They demand “that the facts be clarified, those responsible be punished and that the physical and mental integrity of all persons who are in immigration detention or other forms of deprivation of liberty be guaranteed.”

They also pointed out that according to Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment “the term ‘torture’ shall be understood as any act by which serious pain or suffering is intentionally inflicted on a person; whether physical or mental, in order to obtain information or a confession from her or from a third party.”

For its part, the National Institute of Migration (INM) published a statement stating that “it seeks to implement actions so that migrants of Central American origin, housed in migratory centers and provisional stays of the institute, can return safely to their places of origin.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado de las organizaciones de derechos de migrantes (25 de marzo de 2020)

Guardia Nacional reprime violentamente protesta de migrantes en Tapachula, Chiapas (Conexión Migrante el 25 de marzo de 2020)

Activistas mexicanos denuncian violencia contra inmigrantes que protestan por temor a coronavirus (Infobae el 26 de marzo de 2020)

Migrantes quedan atrapados en México por COVID-19 (Chiapasparalelo el 25 de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/International: Caravan of 4,000 Reaches Southern Border – Stopped by National Guard (January 21, 2020)

Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula (October 17, 2019)

Chiapas: African Migrants Clash with National Guard in Tapachula

(October 8, 2019)

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)


National: Calls on Federal and State Authorities to Take Special Measures to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons

March 25, 2020

Comunicado

In a statement released on March 19th, several civil organizations called on the authorities to take special measures in prisons to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). They recalled that “due to the close proximity conditions in prisons, incarceration generates the ideal conditions for contagion and these are aggravated when there is overcrowding, lack of water and hygienic conditions.”

They detailed that according to INEGI, “in Mexico there are currently 202,337 people in prisons and 37% of prisons are overcrowded. Nationally, 46% of people deprived of liberty share a cell with more than five people, and in some states the number of people per cell is much higher.” According to this same source, 11.2% of the incarcerated population “is over 50 years of age and among them there is a high incidence of diseases that can cause more serious forms of COVID-19.” The organizations also pointed out that “the lack of water and personal hygiene items make it impossible to achieve the hygiene conditions that would prevent mass contagion in the penitentiary centers.”

Among other things, they recommended adopting a policy of non-detention of people for non-violent crimes; release women today deprived of liberty for crimes that are not serious or that did not involve violence (a proposal that is part of the Amnesty Law presented in September last year, “which has already been presented in Congress and whose approval must be accelerated to safeguard them and their daughters and sons”); release older adults, or those at high risk of developing complications from COVID-19, including pregnant women, people with diabetes, hypertension and HIV; and adopt urgent measures within detention centers to guarantee the right to health of persons deprived of liberty.

They warned about the fact that “the suspension of visits is not a sufficient measure and before opting for it, governments must take into account that in several penitentiary centers it is families and not institutions that provide food, medicine, water and other items to the population. In this sense, denying entry to visitors will put people deprived of liberty at greater risks.”

It is worth noting that since March 14th, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) asked all the authorities of the penitentiary system to take at least preventive measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in the country’s prisons and to protect the life and health of persons deprived of liberty; of visits; prison staff, and service providers. However, its recommendations were mainly focused on information and awareness about the disease and ways to avoid contagion inside and outside the prison.

For more information in Spanish:

Reclusas en México elaboran mascarillas para afrontar crisis del coronavirus (El Imparcial, 22 de marzo de 2020)

México debe cambiar prácticas de detención y despresurizar sus cárceles ante pandemia de COVID-19 (OSC, 19 de marzo de 2020)

Crisis de COVID-19: mayor vulnerabilidad para las personas privadas de libertad (Asilegal, 19 de marzo de 2020)

Personas presas, en riesgo por coronavirus: ¿Qué están haciendo las cárceles para prevenir contagios? (Animal Político, 17 de marzo de 2020)

Pide CNDH prevenir contagio de coronavirus en cárceles del país (El Universal, 14 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: AMLO Sends Proposal for Amnesty Law to Congress (September 23, 2019)


National/Guerrero: First Legal Actions against Officials in Ayotzinapa Case Investigation

March 24, 2020

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On March 17th, three suspects involved in acts of torture against those accused of the case of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School who disappeared in Iguala in 2014 were arrested by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR).

According to different sources, “Isidro Junco Barajas, who currently served as Deputy Director of Operational Control of the Security Directorate of the Chamber of Deputies (…) Ezequiel Peña Cerda, now area director at the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) and the marine Ariel Agustín Castillo Reyes.”

In addition, “the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), Tomas Zeron de Lucio, and the ex-head of the Federal Ministerial Police, Carlos Gomez Arrieta, against whom the FGR would have requested the intervention of Interpol, are about to be arrested,” the newspaper Proceso reported.

Organizations accompanying the relatives of the disappeared students reported that they welcome and recognize “the first legal actions of the FGR against officials who committed torture and/or irregularities in the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case, since they confirm what the families have always denounced: the manipulation of the investigation.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) also ruled in this regard, stating that “it observes the development of the investigation in light of Mexico’s human rights obligations”, and hopes that the arrest warrants “against those who participated in acts of obstruction of justice in the enforced disappearance of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa are taken independently.”

For more information in Spanish:

La CIDH aplaude actuación de FGR en caso Ayotzinapa (El Proceso, 18 de marzo de 2020)

Detienen a marino por tortura en caso Ayotzinapa (El Debate, 18 de marzo de 2020)

Detienen a ex policías que torturaron a imputados por caso Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/Guerrero: Meeting on New Evidence in Ayotzinapa Case (March 9, 2020)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Two Police Officers Held for Attacks on Parents of the Ayotzinapa 43 Disapeared; Investigation of Students who Participated in Protest Continue (February 26, 2020)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Parents of Ayotzinapa 43 Attacked with Tear Gas in Tuxtla Gutierrez (February 17, 2020)

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


National: CEMDA Highlights Continued Danger for Environmental Defenders

March 24, 2020

agresiones-ambientalistas.jpg_1348255499@El Economista

On March 17th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) presented a report in which it reiterated the danger that environmental defenders face in Mexico.

Entitled “Report on the Situation of Environmental Human Rights Defenders,” the document highlights that between January 2012 and December 2019, there were 499 attacks against environmental defenders and 83 murders.

According to the report, of the violent actions against defenders, the authorities were responsible for 179 of the attacks – 114 by state governments, 42 by municipal authorities, and 22 by the federal government.

Regarding the role of the State and the conditions of danger, the report stresses that: “Despite the measures that the Mexican State has adopted, it is observed that no progress has been made in the country in a structural change that generates the appropriate and safe conditions for the exercise of the right to defend human rights. Currently, we still find discourses and narratives from the government that disqualify and stigmatize the defense of human rights, which polarizes the perception of society, managing to delegitimize and create a hostile environment so that other attacks can be committed against these people.”

29% of all attacks were related to energy projects. Therefore, it is not surprising that Oaxaca was the state with the highest number of attacks, with 79 cases. Sonora was the second with 49 attacks, and the State of Mexico the third, with 48.

During the year of 2019, the first full year of the Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) government, there were 39 attacks against environmental defenders, 15 of them being murders.

The report includes ten recommendations to guarantee the work of environmental defenders. One of them is to ratify the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Affairs in Latin America (Escazu Agreement), an international treaty that seeks to establish rules for the protection of the environment. 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the agreement, including Mexico, but only 6 have ratified it.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe sobre la situación de las personas defensoras de derechos humanos ambientales CEMDA, marzo de 2020.

En México persiste el riesgo para defensores del medio ambiente: Cemda El Proceso, 17 de marzo de 2020.

Hubo 83 asesinatos a defensores ambientales entre 2012 y 2019: Cemda La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Death Threats against Defenders of Life and Territory in Chicomuselo Denounced (February 9, 2020)

Chiapas/International: Urgent Action – Canadian Embassy before Courts for Undue Intervention in Chicomuselo Mining Conflict (March 27, 2019)

National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA) (April 1, 2019)


Guerrero: Afro-descendant and Indigenous Inhabitants of Costa Chica Seek Real Recognition of their Rights and Creation of New Municipalities

March 23, 2020

agresiones-ambientalistas.jpg_1348255499Photo @ Sur de Acapulco

On March 14th, in the framework of the Dialogue with the Afro-Mexican People, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador held a public event in Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero.

During the event, indigenous and Afro-Mexican residents of the Costa Chica region expressed, among other things, that they need “real recognition with specific rights according to our needs, as we have stated in the regional and national forums for consultation on the reform of Article 2 of the Constitution.”

It should be remembered that at national and state levels, a process is taking place where indigenous populations converge with the Afro population to promote a law of recognition of their rights where they are considered as political players capable of carrying out social transformations, holding public office and fully exercising their rights.

At the same time, in relation to a parallel process in which the state Congress is being asked to create new municipalities that include a perspective of indigenous and Afro people, participants requested “support for the recognition of San Nicolas Tolentino, Las Vigas, Temalacatzingo and Santa Cruz del Rincon as new autonomous municipalities.”

In this regard, the Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center considers that “the peoples have understood that the fight for new municipalities is strategic to break with political isolation and institutionalized discrimination against peoples settled in rural areas. The dispute over public financing that is denied to indigenous communities only makes sense when a new political configuration is sought through the creation of new municipalities.”

For more information in Spanish:

OPINIÓN | La brisa rebelde de la Costa Chica (Tlachinollan, 16 de marzo de 2020)

Creación de Nuevos Municipios (Congreso del Estado de Guerrero)

Versión estenográfica | Diálogo con el Pueblo Afromexicano (Presidencia de la República, 14 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

National: Debate on Proposals for New Constitutional Reform on Rights Of Indigenous Peoples Continues (November 9, 2019)

National/Chiapas: Forums on Process of Free, Prior and Informed Consultation for Constitutional and Legal Reform of Rights of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples Go Ahead (July 29, 2019)

National: Process of “Free, Prior and Informed Consultation” on Constitutional and Legal Reform of Rights of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples Begins (June 27, 2019)

Oaxaca: Law on indigenous and Afromexican peoples “tied up” in the state congress (October 1, 2014)