Chiapas: Human Rights Defender Sinar Corzo Esquinca Murdered

January 14, 2019

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On the night of January 3rd, human rights defender Sinar Corzo Esquinca was murdered near his home in the city of Arriaga, Chiapas, which was attributed to hit men on a motorcycle who approached him at close range to shoot him at point-blank.

On his Twitter account, Governor Rutilio Escandon Cadenas expressed his condolences to the family and announced that justice will be done in the case. For its part, the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE in its Spanish acronym) reported that it began investigations into the homicide and sent a Special Group to clarify the facts and determine responsibilities.

Sinar Corzo Equinca was part of the Coloso de Piedra Citizen Committee for the Defense of Human Rights and was actively engaged in defending various causes such as the management of works and roads for indigenous communities, care for the environment, the struggle of tenants and of the Public Market of Coloso de Piedra of to obtain decent spaces for the sale of their products, and had added to the demands for the reconstruction of damages caused by the earthquake of September 7th, 2017. In fact, hours before his death, Corzo Esquinca met with Arriaga municipal authorities to discuss issues related to the construction of La Linea highway and the improvement of fishing communities. He had already reported direct attacks, arbitrary arrest and death threats since 2013.

Following the murder, the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) expressed its condolences to Sinar’s relatives, to the members of the Coloso de Piedra organization and to his friends. It urged the government of Chiapas and the Prosecutor’s Office to implement precautionary measures to protect the relatives of the defender and those who constitute the organization “El Coloso de Piedra”, as well as to investigate the crime in response to the work that the victim was doing.

More than 150 civil society organizations including the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations and SIPAZ condemned the killing of the activist and expressed that they “view with concern this sign of the fragile situation in which human rights defenders find themselves in the state of Chiapas. We call on the Mexican State so that the corresponding authorities conduct a prompt, exhaustive, diligent and effective investigation to bring those responsible to justice and this fact will not be repeated anywhere else.” They recalled that “human rights defenders play a transcendental role for the democracy of our country and their work must be carried out in a safe and autonomous manner.”

For more information in Spanish:

Asesinan a Sinar Corzo Esquinca, activista y defensor de derechos humanos en Chiapas (Proceso, 4 de enero de 2019)

Asesinan al activista Sinar Corzo Esquinca en Chiapas (La Jornada, 4 de enero de 2019)

Asesinan en Chiapas al activista y defensor de pueblos indígenas Sinar Corzo; fiscalía inicia investigación (Animal Político, 4 de enero de 2019)

Activistas condenan asesinato de Sinar Corzo en Chiapas (Heraldo de México, 4 de enero de 2019)

Pronunciamiento conjunto, condenamos el asesinato del activista y defensor de derechos humanos Sinar Corzo Esquinca (OSC, 4 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: denuncian criminalización de defensores medioambientales en San Cristóbal de Las Casas (28 de diciembre de 2018)

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office
(December 14th, 2018)

 

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Oaxaca/Guerrero/National: Political Prisoners, Teachers and Activists Freed. Others Awaiting Rulings on their Cases

January 14, 2019

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On December 28th, 12 political prisoners were released, mainly teachers attached to the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE in its Spanish acronym) and activists. The spokesperson for Section 22 of Oaxaca, Wilber Santiago, declared that this act signifies a triumph for the CNTE, since the teachers were fighting for more than five years for their freedom.

The people who were released are: Leonel Manzano, Sara Altamirano, Mario Olivera Osorio, Lauro Atilano Grijalbo Villalobos, Luis Gutierrez Saldivar, David Vargas Araujo, Alejandra Chavez Chavez, Alejandro Sandoval Martinez, Faustino Diego, Alberto Sandoval Rodriguez, Jose Ambrosio Martinez and Enrique Warrior Aviña.

“We thank the members of the new Government who knew how to keep the promise given to the democratic teachers’ movement”, the ex-prisoners said. The secretary general of Section 22 of the CNTE, Eloy Lopez, said for his part that, “today is not a celebration, it is a struggle and protest to demand the release of all political prisoners in the country who are still behind bars as hostages of an authoritarian policy that was implemented by Enrique Peña Nieto.”

His release was celebrated by the senator from Morena, Nestora Salgado, who on December 14th gave the Secretariat of the Interior (SEGOB in its Spanish acronym) a list of 199 cases of detainees that she considers “political prisoners” (180 men and 19 women), and who seek to benefit from an eventual amnesty law.

On December 28th, members of the Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners from the state of Guerrero demanded the release of 19 members of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP in its Spanish acronym) and the Community Police of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC in its Spanish acronym), who claim they are imprisoned unjustly, without evidence and imputed fabricated crimes. Kenya Hernandez, a member of the movement, said that in meetings with officials of the Ministry of the Interior (SRGOB) they were informed that the process will be slow, as the amnesty law is in progress.

It should be explained that some people do not want to be released through an amnesty law but to be cleared of the crimes that have been imputed to them.

For more information in Spanish:

Agradecen presos políticos de CNTE libertad a AMLO (El Imparcial de Oaxaca, 30 de diciembre de 2018)

Maestros que fueran presos políticos son liberados por AMLO; “Agradecemos a los integrantes del nuevo Gobierno que supieron cumplir la palabra dada al movimiento democrático magisterial”: Leonel Manzano (Revolución 3.0, 30 de diciembre de 2018)

Liberan a 12 presos políticos ligados a la CNTE; aquí algunos casos que se revisarán para amnistía (Animal Político, 29 de diciembre de 2018)

Exigen liberación de 19 presos políticos de Guerrero (Regeneración, 28 de diciembre de 2018)

AMLO va por la liberación de indígenas y maestros: se da a conocer la primera lista con 25 presos políticos que serán sujetos de amnistía (Revolución 3,0, 27 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero / National: Nestora Salgado announces campaign for the freedom of political prisoners (September 16th, 2018)

 


Guerrero/National: Caravan 43 “Hope is Reborn”

January 5, 2019

ayotzi(@El Sur)

From December 19th to 26th, fathers and mothers of the 43 students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero, missing since September 2014, caravan 43, Hope is Reborn, within the framework of the 51st Global Action, which began in Tixtla, Guerrero, passed through Morelos, and ended at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City.

They denounced that 51 months have elapsed since the forced disappearance of their relatives without any result being achieved. They asked for justice in their case, in the case of political prisoners, the thousands of disappeared in Mexico, and the constant violations of human rights in the country. Several civil and social organizations also joined these protests.

Caravan 43 “Hope is Reborn” was named in this way because of the possibility that the new government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) will return the disappeared. “The idea is to continue touring and informing that the former administration of former President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, tried to bury the Ayotzinapa case and impose the historical truth”, said the spokesman of the parents of the 43 missing teachers, Meliton Ortega. He warned that despite the fact that the “new government has signed a decree, we want to say that it is not enough and it is necessary to go beyond the signing of a simple document; we need them to advance each of the lines [of investigation] until we know the truth and the whereabouts of the 43.”

For more information in Spanish:

Finalizan protestas de la 51 Acción Global por los 43 en la Basílica de Guadalupe (La Jornada, 27 de diciembre de 2018)

Padres de los 43 van a la Basílica; el obispo Rangel los recibe y en una misa pide saber la verdad y justicia (El Sur, 27 de diciembre de 2018)

Llega a Iguala la caravana 43 La Esperanza Renace, en el segundo día de actividades (La Jornada Guerrero, 21 de diciembre de 2018)

Llega a Taxco la Caravana 43 La Esperanza Renace, de normalistas (La Jornada Guerrero, 21 de diciembre de 2018)

Llega a Iguala la caravana de lucha por los 43 desaparecidos; demanda castigo a Peña Nieto (El Sur, 21 de diciembre de 2018)

Padres de los 43 inician caravana La Esperanza Renace en Tixtla (Quadratin Guerrero, 19 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero/National: Decree Establishes Truth Commission for Ayotzinapa Case
(December 19th, 2018)

Guerrero/National/International: CNDH and IACHR Ayotzinapa Reports (December 14th, 2018)

Guerrero/National: Ayotzinapa, Four Years On… (October 1st, 2018)

Guerrero/National: Incoming Government Confirms Creation of Truth Commission for Ayotzinapa Case (Aug. 13th, 12018)

Guerrero/National: Obstruction in Formation of Truth Commission in Ayotzinapa Case Denounced (Aug. 8th, 2018)

Guerrero: Classmates of Ayotzinapa 43 Graduate (Aug. 2nd, 2018)

Guerrero/National: Federal Court Orders Creation Truth Commission to Reopen Investigation of Ayotzinapa Case (July 12th, 2018)

 


National/International: 181 Countries Approve United Nations Global Pact for Refugees

January 4, 2019

refugeesUnited Nations (@TRT)

On December 17th, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) approved the Global Pact for Refugees. This victory for human rights and international cooperation comes one week after the General Assembly approved the Global Pact on Migration.

181 countries signed the pact that outlines steps that the international community will take to guarantee the welfare of refugees. Three countries abstained, and the United States and Hungary voted against it. The United States had previously stated that, although it agreed with most of the Covenant, it did not want to accept a limitation on the detention of asylum seekers.

The Pact will try to give more support to the countries that host refugees, and when possible, help refugees to return to their countries of origin. It also calls for promoting the independence of refugees. To improve infrastructure and services to refugees, the pact will try to encourage more investment from governments and private sources.

Although the Covenant is not binding, it represents a possibility of progress for the international community. Currently there are more than 25 million refugees in the world, representing only a part of the 68 million people who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence. Under international law, to be considered a refugee, you have to cross an international border.

The Pact on Refugees received more votes in its favor than the Global Pact on Migration (which was supported by 164 countries). In general, the rights of refugees have been clearer and therefore more protected than those of migrants.

For more information in Spanish:

Asamblea de la ONU avala el Pacto Mundial sobre Refugiados (La Jornada, 18 de diciembre de 201).

Asamblea de la ONU aprueba pacto mundial sobre refugiados (Telesur, 18 de diciembre de 2018).

ONU: Asamblea General adopta el Pacto Mundial sobre Refugiados (Kausa Justa, 17 de diciembre de 2018).

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: 164 Countries Approve UN Global Migration Pact (January 2nd, 2019)

National/International: World Network of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants Formed in Mexico (November 12th, 2018)

National/Chiapas/Oaxaca/Tabasco: Founding of the Collective of Defenders of Migrants and Refugees (CODEMIRE) (April 23rd, 2015)

 


Chiapas: denunciation of criminalization against environmental activists in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

January 4, 2019

 

On December 27th, during a press conference that took place at the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, the board of Colonia Maya in the municipality San Cristóbal de Las Casas denounced the existence of arrest warrants against its members and demanded their immediate cancellation.

In June 2016, the construction of a housing estate caused a flooding that affected 20 families in Colonia Maya. As a reaction, various habitants started to organize themselves to defend their rights and the environmental rights.

Since then, the members of Colonia Maya’s board faced various threats and the criminalization of their movement to defend their district.

Three moths ago, the board met with representatives of Manuel Velasco’s government who proposed the construction of a rain drain in the settlement. The board responded that they could not take any decisions without the participation of the the Colonia’s assembly. The arrest warrants were released after that meeting.

In the words of the board about the criminalization: “We are in fear. Fear that justice one more will be bought. During the last days we have affirmed once more that the legal authorities in our country can be bought. We know that some of our members have received arrest warrants without committing any crime. We are being accused of kidnapping, when we only ever acted peacefully, consulting and respecting the settlement’s assembly.”

They solicited “that the hostility and the criminalization against human environmental rights defenders for the land and the territory are eradicated or cease as they are pillars of democracy and with their work they can promote and strengthen the civil participation”.

For more information in Spanish:

Cese la criminalización a defensores de la Madre Tierra (27 de diciembre de 2018, Chiapas Denuncia Publica).

Colonos de la Maya denuncian que les fueron inventados delitos (27 de diciembre de 2018, Noticias Voz e Imagen de Chiapas).

Se defienden activistas demandados (27 de diciembre de 2018, El Heraldo de Chiapas).

Criminalización por la defensa de la Madre Tierra (21 de junio de 2017, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas).

For more information from SIPAZ :

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14th, 2018)

Nacional : Se pospone entrega de concesiones de agua vía Internet por seis meses en medio de protestas. (17 de octubre de 2018).


Chiapas: 21 Years Since the Massacre in Acteal

January 4, 2019

On December 21 and 22, 2018, members of the Civil Society Las Abejas de Acteal and guests commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Acteal massacre, which took place on December 22, 1997, in which 45 Tsotsil indigenous people, mainly women and children, members of Las Abejas, were murdered in Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, by alleged paramilitaries. The massacre “was committed with fury, treachery, and premeditation when they [the victims] were in the second day of fasting and prayer for the end of the violence unleashed in the municipality”, remembered Las Abejas.

Las Abejas denounced that they have “gone through 21 years of darkness that represents the impunity nourished by the PRI and PAN rulers, including the misnamed and corrupt “Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation,” which ordered the release of the perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre, despite the fact that they were directly pointed out by the survivors and that they had confessed to killing in Acteal, for which they had sentences of up to 30 years, now they walk with impunity in Chenalhó and around Acteal. And the intellectual authors [of the massacre] are free, mocking justice and the memory of our massacred brothers and sisters”.

Las Abejas and the Fray Batolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) indicated that they are not seeking dialogue with the current government but announced that they will continue to speak up, so that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) can make a pronouncement on the merits of the case. Pedro Faro Navarro, director of Frayba, indicated that “for a long time the situation has been closed at the national level, since the Mexican State has not only refused to take legal action, but has attributed to impunity with the release of almost all of the perpetrators”. For their part, Las Abejas clarified that “we will not exchange justice for money in any way. The real objective of our petition before the IACHR is for the Mexican State to recognize its responsibility for action and its failure in the Acteal Massacre and to guarantee the non-repetition of acts like Acteal”.

For more information in Spanish:

Nuestro país ha vivido un patrón sistemático de represión, corrupción, colusión, impunidad desde los años 60’, hasta el día de hoy (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Acteal 21 años de impunidad (Frayba, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Insiste Frayba en que CIDH se pronuncie sobre Acteal (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

A 21 años de la matanza de Acteal, familiares y sobrevivientes recuerdan a las 45 víctimas (Sin Embargo, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Conmemoran 21 años de masacre de Acteal, la justicia aún pendiente(Regeneración, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Abejas de Acteal anuncian que no buscaran diálogo con AMLO; esperan dictamen de la CIDH (AlertaChiapas, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

A once días de la conmemoración de la Masacre de Acteal, les compartimos cartel de dicho evento (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Twentieth Anniversary of Acteal Massacre (January 14, 2018).

Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal “Roots, Memory and Hope” Tour (July 28, 2017).

Chiapas: Launch of Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope (March 30, 2017).


Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies

January 4, 2019

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On December 10th, on the International Human Rights Day as part of a political act in front of the Government Palace villages in Oaxaca-City, communities and organizations that participated in the “Popular Community Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca” last October publicly presented the final verdict.

It should be remembered that in the Popular Community Trial participated 52 communities who presented 22 cases of affectations caused by mining in 5 of the state’s regions including – says the verdict- “irreversible affectations to the ecosystem, river contamination, fractures in the social structure and generalized insecurity in the regions, where those mining projects operate through mining companies, shock groups and state authorities”.

The verdict put forward the necessity to rescind the 322 concessions and the 41 valid mining projects within the State “as those were imposed without previous, free and informed consent by the communities and while violating our right to self-determination and autonomy to our cultural integrity, to administrate and control our territories and to maintain the collective property of our lands and communal natural goods”.

Equally, it demanded the immediate suspension of the issue of quarrying rights “until a new legal framework has been elaborated that fully and effectively respects the indigenous people’s rights as they were established in international treaties and the Constitution, until the repeal of the current mining law and others that protect the relations with that industry”. Likewise, it urged the authorities to pass laws and public policies which protect the indigenous people’s rights, which recognize them as subjects to public rights and include the in effective mechanisms of integral reparations for the caused damage.

The legal judgment also put forward the necessity to protect those who defend their territories so that they can do so in “conditions of liberty and security” and it demanded that “the politics of criminalization against the social protest are stopped, that the people responsible for assassinations are punished and that the disappeared territorial activists are presented alive immediately as well as the suspension of arrest warrants issued for the same reasons, individual and collective threats”.

The political act ended proclaiming “Yes to life, no to mining!” and “Neither gold nor silver, mining kills!”.

The report about the civil trial details that until 2017 there haven been registered 42 mining projects by 38 companies from Canada, the United States, Peru, Australia and Mexico. 36 of them in stage of exploration, 2 in development, one was postponed and 2 are already in the phase of commercial exploitation.

For more information in Spanish:

Oaxaca territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de pueblos, comunidades y organizaciones frente al nuevo gobierno federal (Pronunciamiento e Informe, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Juicio Popular Comunitario contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (Vídeo, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Comunidades indígenas de Oaxaca exigen la prohibición total de la minería en el estado (Animal Político, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Demandan pueblos que Oaxaca sea territorio libre de minería (NVI Noticias, 12 de diciembre de 2018)

Oaxaca, territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de comunidades al nuevo gobierno (Desinformémonos, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Repudian proyectos de mineras en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held (October 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held

Oaxaca: Anuncian juicio popular contra empresas mineras. (9 de agosto de 2018)