Chiapas: Celebration in Defense of Mother Earth in San Cristobal de Las Casas

May 24, 2017

San Cris.png

Photo@ Cuarto Poder

On May 20th, Ecclesial Base Communities (CEB in its Spanish acronym), in coordination with the pastoral ministry of the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas and various organizations of the city, made a pilgrimage, for the care of Life and Mother Earth in the Jovel Valley.

They walked from the La Kisst wetland to Cuxtitali square, stood in front of Na Bolom and Pronatura, to exhort them to work for the good of Mother Earth and “called on them not to deviate from their goals and their ideals.”

They also expressed concern about the health situation in Chiapas and expressed their solidarity with the nurses on hunger strike.

 For more information in Spanish:

Realizan celebración por la Madre Tierra, Cuarto Poder, 22 de mayo de 2017

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos humanos al agua y el saneamiento concluyó visita a México, (16/04/2017)

Chiapas : llevan a cabo II Foro en defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio, (17/04/2017)

Chiapas : Peregrinación de unos 400 católicos en defensa de los pueblos, la Madre Tierra y por la liberación de presos, (06/09/20


National/Guerrero: Attacks and Murders of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders Continue

May 21, 2017

Journalists.pngPhoto @ InfoLibre

In the month of May, just as in April, several journalists and human rights defenders were victims of attacks and murders for their activities.

On May 10th, Mothers’ Day, Miriam Elizabeth Rodriguez Martinez, was gunned down by gunmen at her home. After the kidnapping of her daughter, she had founded a group to search for missing persons in Tamaulipas.

On May 13th, seven journalists were ambushed by a group of about 100 armed men. They covered the operation that federal and state authorities initiated in San Miguel Totolapan, in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero. They were stripped of their work equipment, cell phones and one of their units by the gunmen, who according to La Jornada, beat them and warned that if they did not hand over their belongings they would burn them with along with everything and their vehicles.

On May 15th, journalist Javier Valdez, a correspondent for La Jornada, was murdered in the capital of Sinaloa. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza, demanded concrete results from the Special Prosecutor’s Office Of Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE in its Spanish acronym) on the investigations into the murder of Javier Valdez.

In his preliminary report, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Defenders and Journalists said that Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism.

For more information in Spanish:

ONU y CIDH urgen a México frenar ataques a periodistas (Milenio, 18 de mayo de 2017)

La violencia que no cesa, la protección que no alcanza(La Jornada, 16 de mayo 2017)

Grupo armado ataca a siete periodistas en Guerrero (La Jornada, 13 de mayo 2017)

Autoridades dejaron a su suerte a activista ejecutada en Tamaulipas (La Jornada, 12 de mayo 2017)

Hombres armados atacan a periodistas y les quitan su equipo de trabajo en Guerrero (Animal politico, 14 de mayo 2017)

Carta urgente para la protección de los periodistas en Guerrero (Centro de derechos humanos de la montaña Tlachinollan,18 de mayo 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero : asesinan al periodista Cecilio Pineda (6 de marzo de 2017)

Guerrero: Asesinaron a periodista en Taxco (26 de abril de 2016)

 


National: UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Concludes Visit to Mexico

May 21, 2017

Water.pngChildren transporting water in an indigenous community in Oaxaca. Photo: @Jose Luis de la Cruz

From May 2nd to 12th, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, Leo Heller, visited Mexico.

Various social organizations exposed inequality in access to water, as they said in a statement: “Notably, these policies have promoted their monopoly, privatization and unsustainable management, including the overexploitation and contamination of water resources on which rural and urban communities depend to live with dignity, leading to multiple and repeated violations of human rights to drinking water and sanitation and other related human rights such as health, by the actions and omissions of both public and private players.”

One of the places visited by the Rapporteur is Chiapas, where he held meetings with state officials, as well as with activists and non-governmental organizations who denounced that FEMSA’s Coca-Cola bottling plant “is obliterating large amounts of water from the inhabitants of San Cristobal de Las Casas, in Chiapas, and the amount left available for the inhabitants has no quality, Dr. Marcos Arana Cedeño, director of the Ombudsman’s Office for the Right to Health in the state claimed. (…) The last problem noted, he stressed, is of particular concern and claimed that the Coca-Cola plant extracts 6,112 cubic meters of water every day; that is to say, 16 million liters of the vital liquid in the municipality, a sufficient quantity to supply 200,000 inhabitants with 80 liters per person daily during a year.”

The Rapporteur publicly presented his preliminary impressions and conclusions on May 12th. He said that in Chiapas he observed indigenous women collecting water “from sources clearly hazardous to their health.” He said: “Indigenous people I spoke to denounced the lack of services and pollution of the water sources on which they depend due to the largely unregulated activities of mining, industry and hydrocarbon extraction companies. Therefore, I call on the Mexican government to urgently expand and improve access to water and sanitation, because despite advances in this area, there is no real provision of such services in homes and in the most marginalized communities, such that it is necessary to give the highest priority to this strategic sector and to guarantee the necessary resources to expand and improve the service for all, including numerous communities in a situation of abandonment. “

The rapporteur was struck by the situation in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where untreated sewage flows into the irrigation canals that supply water to vegetable and fruit crops, which are sold in the city’s markets. “It is really shocking. I went to visit the final discharges of the sewage and is very worrisome, (…) the population consumes the pollutants that the city has generated,” he protested.

Even so, the Mexican government boasts that infrastructure provides access to water and sanitation to more than 90% of the population.

In September, the Rapporteur will submit the complete Mission report with recommendations for the Mexican State to the United Nations Human Rights Council .

For more information in Spanish:

En Chiapas, se violenta el Derecho Humano al Agua Potable y al Saneamiento (OSC, 15 de mayo de 2017)

El agua en México, un “problema crónico”: relator de la ONU (Proceso, a 12 de mayo de 2017)

Comunidades indígenas, víctimas del insuficiente sistema nacional de agua: ONU (Desinformemonos, a 12 de mayo de 2017)

Relator de la ONU para el Derecho al Agua inicia visita en Chiapas (Proceso, a 10 de mayo de 2017)

Evaluarán acceso al agua y saneamiento en México (Centro de Información de las Naciones Unidas, a 26 de abril de 2017)

El acceso a servicios de agua y saneamiento asequibles (Leo Heller, marzo de 2017)

Coca-Cola se bebe el agua de 200 mil habitantes de San Cristóbal de las Casas, acusa especialista (SinEmbargo, a 6 de mayo de 2017)

Las etnias de Chiapas casi sin agua pero ahogadas en Coca-Cola (Proceso, a 5 de febrero de 2016)

“El ataque que ahora nos hace el mal gobierno es el corte de agua y luz eléctrica que hicieron a nuestros compañeros”: Las Abejas de Acteal (Centroprodh, a 10 de mayo de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Foro “Servicios de Agua en Tuxtla Gutiérrez” denuncia el “deficiente servicio que se brinda por parte del SMAPA”

Chiapas: Ciudadanxs de Tuxtla Gutiérrez están preocupados por el tema del agua potable

Chiapas: Zinacantán contra la privatización de su agua y el despojo de su manantial

Nacional: Relator Especial de la ONU visita a México para evaluar la situación de Derechos Humanos

Nacional: Visita no oficial del relator especial de la ONU sobre la Situación de las y los defensores de Derechos Humanos


Oaxaca: COPUVO Denounces Harassment by Municipal Authorities and Mining Company

May 15, 2017

COPUVO.pngValle Ocotlan (Photo @COPUVO)

In a statement issued on May 9th, the Coordinator of the United Nations Ocotlan Valley United Peoples Coordinator (COPUVO in its Spanish acronym) reported harassment and threats when it sought to hold a regional meeting against mining in San Jose del Progreso, “where for eight years [the inhabitants] have defended their territory against the “San Jose” mining project, promoted by the Cuzcatlan company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Fortuna Silver Mines.

It said that prior to this meeting, the current mayor of San Jose del Progreso, Servando Daaz Vasquez, “publicly threatened our organization, communities in the region and civil organizations” proposing “not to allow the population to enter to hold a forum.” He added that Diaz Vasquez asked the state and federal police “to place a ring of officers and a filter at the check point at the town so as to prevent the entrance of the organizations the following Mat 7th…”

Accordingly, the Ombudsman’s Office for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca (DPHPO in its Spanish acronym) requested precautionary measures in favor of human rights defenders from the various civil and community organizations that would attend said meeting “for which there was State Police Agents presence during May 6th and 7th in the community; it is important to note that the State Police was also protecting the mining project with security forces during these dates.”

COPUVO denounced that “behind the campaign of threats and harassment of our movement, the mining company Fortuna Silver Mines is involved, who in its intent to expand to other ejidos and communities in the region has criminalized and violated our rights to autonomy, to the territory, to the freedom of protest, among the most important. This company has irrationally extracted our common goods and caused violence, destroying the peace and harmony that existed among our peoples.”

 For more information in Spanish:

COPUVO denuncia amenazas por parte de empresa minera y autoridades de San José del Progreso (COPUVO, 9 de mayo de 2017)

Mineras generan conflictividad en Oaxaca y Chiapas (Contralínea, 11 de mayo de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Se exige justicia para el defensor comunitario Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, asesinado hace 5 años (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: Comunidades afectadas por el proyecto minero “San José” toman oficinas de SEMARNAT (1 de marzo de 2017)

 


Chiapas: Meeting of Peoples to Exchange Experiences of Threats of Territorial Dispossession from Megaprojects

May 15, 2017

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From 4 to 6 May, the Peoples’ Meeting was held to exchange experiences facing threats of plunder of our territories by megaprojects in the municipal seat of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, which was co-convened by the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights, the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center, the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) and the Samuel Ruiz Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life, under a joint project of Pax Christi International.

In a final statement, participants from Chiapas and Oaxaca denounced that the processes of defense of the Earth and Territory of which they are a part have brought them the “consequence of repression, intimidation, threat, persecution, Imprisonment and the murder of community human rights defenders. Those who have decided to defend life and Mother Earth are at constant risk under the threats of businessmen, organized crime and the State in its three levels of government that only favor the paths of impunity, injustice, inequality, plunder, exploitation, contempt for our native peoples, communities and ejidos.”

As a result they demanded:

  • “Respect for the autonomy and self-determination of peoples in Chiapas and Oaxaca based on Article 2 of the Constitution and international conventions, as well as guaranteeing the physical integrity of those who defend life, Mother Earth and nature.
  • The cancellation of death projects in our territories that only bring destruction, plunder, poverty, disease, community conflicts and divisions.
  • The cancellation of arrest warrants, criminal charges, legal proceedings against defenders of the Earth and the Territory, as is the case of compañeros from Acacoyagua, Chicoasen and Tecpatan.”

Finally, they invited “the peoples, communities, ejidos, grassroots organizations, the men and women of this country, to maintain their struggle, their resistance and to organize, not to surrender, not to sell out, and not to let themselves be cheated. It is important to join together our struggles in any geography against this capitalist system and the system of death. Land is an inheritance of our ancestors, and we must guard it and defend it. Our peoples and organizations have firmly decided to defend life, territory and the environment, because the future of our country is at risk. “

 For more information in Spanish:

Pronunciamiento completo (Chicomuselo, 6 de mayo de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Pronunciamiento de participantes en Taller/Encuentro sobre la Transformación No-violenta de Conflictos en Defensa de Nuestros Territorios (19 de abril de 2016)

 


Chiapas: IACHR Determines Responsibility for Extrajudicial Execution in Context of Chiapas Campaign Plan 94

May 6, 2017

Frayba.pngPress conference at Frayba, May 3rd, 2017. Photo: @Sipaz

On May 3rd, a press conference was held at the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC) in which it was reported that, in the case of the extrajudicial execution of the Tzeltal indigenous Gilberto Jimenez Hernandez in February 1995 in the community of La Grandeza, Altamirano, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) determined “the responsibility of the Mexican State for violating the right to life and the principle of equality and non-discrimination, personal integrity and judicial guarantees and judicial protection, in the context of the implementation of the counterinsurgency strategy designed within the Chiapas Campaign Plan 94.”

 22 years after the military operation in that community, the CDHFBC Press Bulletin recalled: “On February 20th, 1995, in La Grandeza ejido, in the municipality of Altamirano, Chiapas, the population was alerted to the military operation carried out by the reconnaissance patrol of the 17th Infantry Battalion, commissioned in the Task Force “Arcoiris” in the “Yabur” Group, composed of 65 military agents who were carrying 3 MP5 Cal. 9mm and 62 G-3 Cal 7.62mm armaments. At the same time Army aircraft flew over the region. The population of the ejido La Grandeza, made up mostly of women, girls, children and the elderly, were forced to the mountain to save their lives, while in the village, soldiers burned the belongings of displaced persons. Mr. Gilberto Jimenez Hernandez, a 43-year-old indigenous Tseltal, was extrajudicially executed by a soldier while fleeing with his family to the mountains. The soldier ordered him to stop, lie down and shot him, even though that he had his five-year-old daughter tied with a shawl on his back.”

The Director of the CDHFBC, Pedro Faro, stressed that, “to date the military court has served to ensure impunity. The investigations of the present case have been framed by lack of due diligence to cover up the Mexican Army, the file has been lost by the justice authorities since 1997. The right of access to the justice to know the truth of what happened so that those responsible are punished does not exist in Mexico “.

Ruben Moreno, lawyer for the the Center, stated that the family of Jimenez Hernandez decided not to receive any financial compensation for damages, but chose to have the IACHR’s report made public.

 For more information in Spanish:

Estado mexicano responsable de crímenes de lesa humanidad: CIDH (CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, a 3 de Mayo de 2017)

CIDH culpa al Estado por muerte de tzetzal: Frayba (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2017)

CIDH culpa al Estado mexicano por ejecución extrajudicial de indígena tzeltal (Proceso, 3 de mayo de 2017)

Determinan responsabilidad del Estado en muerte de indígena (Cuarto Poder, 4 de mayo de 2017)


Oaxaca: Series of Threats against Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez

May 6, 2017

Bettina.pngBettina Cruz Velzquez, center (Photo@tierrayterritorio.wordpress.com)

The Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza and Bettina Cruz Velazquez, members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory (APIIDTT in its Spanish acronym) and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of the Territory (APOYO in its Spanish acronym), denounced a series of threats against them in recent months.

In the case of Rodrigo Peñaloza Flores, he has experienced surveillance on more than five occasions, a firearm assault while leaving work on February 10th, the arrival of an armed man to the same place repeatedly asking for him on February 24th, and on April 26th, he found a death threat on the windshield of his vehicle on leaving his home.

In the case of Bettina Cruz Velazquez, she also reported surveillance on at least two occasions and both were verbally assaulted last April 19th in a program broadcast by Juchitan radio station.

In a call for Urgent Action to guarantee their lives and physical integrity, there are several antecedents that could explain this series of threats and harassment: “[this] coincides with the intense mobilizations carried out to demand the clarification of the murder of Jose Alberto Toledo Villalobos from Chahuites, defender of the human right to electrical energy and ex- compañero of Rodrigo and Bettina; also active support for the defense of Cerro Iguú carried out by the Zapotec indigenous communities of Puente Madera, Rancho Llano and Loma Bonita de San Blas Atempa, before the construction of the electrical substation of SEDENA. It is also worth noting the recent presentation of the collective injunction filed before the Sixth District Court against the designation of the region as Special Economic Zone, the second phase of wind projects and mining concessions; and the recent fact that a minister has shown interest in taking the case of Eolica del Sur to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente | Peligro de vida e integridad física de los Defensores de DH Rodrigo Flores Peñaloza y Bettina Cruz Velázquez (OSC, 2 de mayo de 2017)

En Oaxaca, denuncian hostigamiento contra activistas que se oponen a Zona Económica Especial (Revolucion 3.0, 2 de mayo de 2017)

Ong denuncia amenazas en contra de defensor de la tierra y territorio en el Istmo (Istmo Press, 29 de abril de 2017)

Defensor de Derechos Humanos en el istmo es amenazado por la defensa del territorio (IstmoPress, 28 de abril de 2017)

DENUNCIA URGENTE. Amenazan al compañero Rodrigo Flores de la APIIDTT, APOYO y de la Red Nacional de Resistencia Civil. (APIIDTT, 27 de abril de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (ZEE) (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: Agresión contra integrantes de la Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (APIIDTT) a manos de constructores ligados a la Empresa Eólica del Sur (8 de mayo de 2015)