Chiapas: Tzeltal Women Tortured and Raped by Military in 1994 Denounce Total Impunity

June 9, 2019

Abejas 1@SIPAZ

On June 4th, dozens of members of civil groups (including SIPAZ), women from Las Abejas Civil Society and members of the San Cristobal de Las Casas diocese, accompanied the Tzeltal sisters Ana, Beatriz and Celia Gonzalez Perez in the symbolic takeover of the military barracks in this city, to demand that justice be done for the torture and rape of those who were victims, 25 years ago, of the military in the municipality of Altamirano.

The lawyer, Gloria Guadalupe Flores Ruiz, member of the Gonzalez Parez Sisters’ Committee, recalled that the three indigenous women and their mother Delia Perez de Gonzalez, were detained at a Mexican Army checkpoint in Altamirano on June 4th, 1994, accused of being support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym) and that “they were beaten, tortured and raped by the military, who forced the mother to witness the attacks” so that they would provide information about the Zapatistas.

In April 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruled on the case and recommended that the Mexican State “investigate the facts in a complete, impartial and effective manner in the ordinary Mexican criminal jurisdiction to determine the responsibility and sanction of all authors of human rights violations.” No government wanted to attend to the case and impunity and oblivion have prevailed. On May 7th, however, a working group of the IACHR was held in Jamaica and the Mexican government undertook to comply “in a comprehensive manner” with the 2001 recommendation.

The demands of the victims and their defense include: “Investigation and punishment of the military responsible for the rape and torture; to hold a public acknowledgment of responsibility in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and with the presence of military commanders, and integral reparation for the damage caused, in accordance with the worldview of the Perez Gonzalez sisters.”

Flores Ruiz emphasized that “the Mexican State refuses to recognize that the perpetrators of serious violations of the human rights of the Gonzalez Perez sisters were the military. This has been the point that has stalled the case in the previous administrations, because they did not want to go out and say that the Army was responsible for this violence generated in the context of the low intensity war in 1994, but we hope that this government of the fourth transformation shows that the civilian command is above the military.”

For his part, the priest Marcelo Perez Perez, responsible for the social pastoral of the three dioceses of Chiapas, asked “the maximum commander of the Mexican Army, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, president of the Republic,” that justice be done in the case of the Gonzalez Perez sisters and their mother. “If there is no justice for the Gonzalez Perez sisters, they will be accomplices and traitors to the indigenous peoples,” he stressed.

Abejas 2@SIPAZ

 Women of Las Abejas Civil Society stated that, “today we come here to join the demand for justice from compañeras Ana, Beatriz, Celia Gonzalez Perez and Delia Perez (…) and with all those hundreds, thousands and thousands of women who have been victims of the perpetrating army and violator of women and of human rights.” They also denounced that “we know that the Mexican army not only tortured and raped women 25 years ago, but, that they continued with their barbarism, they continued to humiliate women, either raping them or massacring them directly or indirectly as with the 21 women massacred by the PRI members from Chenalho, four of whom were pregnant, and after Acteal they followed, with the women of Atenco, compañeras of the Sierra Zongolica de Veracruz and, we can continue with an endless list. The Mexican Army is not an army that serves the Mexican nation, it is an army that is at the service of the capitalist system, which is trained to kill and exterminate the original peoples of Mexico and the women and men who criticize the bad government and the system of death.”

For more information in Spanish:

Exigen justicia a 25 años de la violación tumultuaria de tres hermanas cometida por militares en Chiapas (Proceso, 4 de junio de 2019)

A 25 años, hermanas violadas por militares en Chiapas exigen justicia (La Jornada, 4 de junio de 2019)

Mujeres indígenas de Chiapas acusan impunidad por violación de militares hace 25 años (Sin Embargo, 4 de junio de 2019)

Tzeltales en Chiapas exigen justicia por violación atribuida a militares (El Universal, 4 de junio de 2019)

El ejército mexicano no es un ejército que sirve a la nación mexicana, es un ejército que está al servicio del sistema capitalista. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 4 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Indigenous Tzeltal women raped by the Mexican Army accept “compensation” with conditions (October 25, 2010)

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National: Absence of President Lopez Obrador at Presentation of CNDH Report “Disheartening for the Defense of Human Rights”

June 9, 2019

CNDHLuis Raul Gonzalez Perez (@Tribuna)

At a press conference held on June 3rd, the president of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez, lamented that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had not found a space in his agenda to receive personally the 2018 annual report of the agency’s activities. This occurred for the first time in the history of the CNDH (which is almost 29 years old) when, in general, an official ceremony was organized in the presence of the president, representatives of civil organizations, and other officials.

The ombudsman reported that, despite the repeated requests of the CNDH to have an event of this nature, the federal government responded that the report would be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, which occurred on the same day as the conference.

Gonzalez Perez lamented that “facts, actions and omissions are beginning to accumulate that, taken as a whole, would make us suppose that seeking the validity of human rights is not being taken on as a premise and limit of all public actions, nor are they adopting relevant measures to reverse the situation that, for several years, our country has faced in various areas.” He affirmed that the previous format, “opened a direct and immediate space so that the CNDH could present before the Federal Executive an annual report on the situation of the same, as well as to reflect, prospectively, on the challenges and situations that demanded special attention for the year in progress, issues that in this 2019 could not materialize, having not generated a space for human rights to be heard.”

Anyway, the ombudsman presented the report of activities 2018 that highlights several areas of concern. In the health sector, and in references to the austerity measures taken by the government, he stressed that, “there are areas in which the allocation of public resources cannot only depend on economic calculations or administrative weights, such as public health services.” He emphasized that, “weakening or rendering public health systems inoperative implies a violation of human rights.”

In terms of security and justice, and after referring to homicides, the head of the CNDH stressed that the outlook “is also far from positive, unless there is a radical change in the approach and magnitude of the institutional response to problems and security needs of people.” He also spoke of “the need to address the crisis that Mexico is experiencing in terms of violence and insecurity, under a comprehensive approach, based on a strategy that prioritizes prevention and is not limited to the rethinking of an eminently reactive body, as is the National Guard, as well as the increase of the crimes to which the mandatory preventive prison would be applicable.”

In the areas of concern, he also mentioned femicides, attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, and disappearances, among others. Gonzalez Perez reported that in 2018 the CNDH issued 101 recommendations, 90 of them ordinary, eight for serious violations and three general ones.

For more information in Spanish:

Lamenta González Pérez que AMLO no acepte conocer informe de CNDH (La Jornada, 3 de junio de 2019)

AMLO no escucha informe de la CNDH; “es un hecho inédito en 29 años”: González Pérez (Aristegui Noticias, 3 de junio de 2019)

“Desalentador”, que AMLO se negara a recibir en ceremonia oficial el informe anual de CNDH: ombudsman (Proceso, 3 de junio de 2019)

CNDH reprocha a AMLO por no dar prioridad a derechos, ataques a contrapesos y recortes en Salud (Animal Político, 3 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

National: NGOs, Activists and CNDH Insist on Necessity that National Guard Be “Truly Civil” (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas/Nacional : emite CNDH recomendaciones a autoridades de Chiapas por desplazamientos forzados en Chalchihuitán y Chenalhó (January 18, 2019)

Nacional/Chiapas: Emite CNDH recomendación al anterior titular de Sedena (December 18, 2018)

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


Chiapas/National/International: Observation Mission Concludes “Southern Border Is Silent Torture”

June 9, 2019

BorderCivil Observation Mission of the Humanitarian Crisis of Migrants and Refugees in the Mexican Southeast (@RedTdT)

From May 29th to 31st, the “Civil Observation Mission of the Humanitarian Crisis of Migrants and Refugees in the Mexican Southeast” (MCO in its Spanish acronym), composed of 24 organizations from Mexico, Central America and the United States, including SIPAZ, academics and journalists, toured various control points and immigration authorities on the coast and southern border of Chiapas “in order to strengthen the documentation and support that local organizations have made in the face of Central American exoduses in recent months.”

In a press conference at the end of the mission, the organizations asserted that, “the southern border is silent torture.” They denounced that “a militarized security approach continues and is sharpening above the respect and protection of the human rights of people in movement. We documented multiple immigration control points with strong presence of state security forces, particularly federal police and military police, without clarity about their functions and powers in the context of migration“, something that was considered “incongruous with the official discourse of a migration policy that respects human rights.”

They also identified “a strategy of attrition and containment, which is intended to generate fatigue, demobilization and dissuasion of people before access to the right to seek refuge and regularization procedures, as well as to restrict and criminalize human mobility.”

They documented that “immigration detention serves as a strategy of repression and punishment” as “raids and migration control operations have intensified along the entire coast.” They pointed out that “the conditions of immigration detention, which are in themselves violating human rights, have intensified, amounting to forms of physical and psychological torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” In addition to racist and xenophobic practices towards specific groups, they expressed their concern when “families are separated in raids, during detention, release and deportation, thus violating the principle of family unity.” They were also outraged by “the deprivation of freedom of migrant children and adolescents and asylum seekers in detention centers, the lack of humanitarian aid and lack of general respect for their rights, contrary to their Higher Interest.”

The MCO pointed to several flaws in government attention, including “the lack of institutional coordination and co-responsibility among the different levels of government, as well as a lack of comprehensive care protocols on migration and humanitarian issues with a focus on human rights, prevailing improvised reactions, assistance and with an emphasis on security “; as well as the “limitation of human, financial and infrastructure resources.”

Finally, it noted “with particular alarm that the stigmatization and criminalization of migration is increasing, resulting in the denial of the right to due process and to have a defense in immigration procedures. As a result, solidarity and the work of defending human rights is hindered and criminalized.”

Interestingly, on May 30th, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came out in defense of the migrants through a letter stating that “human beings do not leave their villages for pleasure but for necessity”, which was directed to the US president, Donald Trump, who threatened to impose tariffs on domestic products (from five to 25%) if Mexico does not solve the phenomenon of irregular migration.

For more information in Spanish:

La frontera sur es una tortura silenciosa: Misión de Observación (Misión de Observación de la Crisis Humanitaria de Personas Migrantes y Refugiados en el Sureste Mexicano, 31 de mayo de 2019)

Protección migratoria no puede subordinarse a relación México-EU: ONG (La Jornada, 31 de mayo de 2019)

Trump advierte que los aranceles a México aumentarán si no se controla el flujo de inmigrantes ilegales (CNN México, 31 de mayo de 2019)

AMLO defiende a migrantes frente a Trump, pero las detenciones en México se disparan 100% (Animal Político, 1ero de junio de 2019)

Discurso oficial sobre migrantes difiere de la realidad, afirman ONG (La Jornada, 1ero de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

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

Chiapas: First Depolyment of National Guard in Chiapas at Siglo XXI Migration Center (May 23, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: OSC presentan el “Informe del monitoreo de derechos humanos del éxodo centroamericano en el sureste mexicano: octubre 2018 – febrero 2019” (May 3, 2019)

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

National/International: Contrasting Mexican and US Government Approaches to Central American Migration (April 2, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Secretaria de Gobernación se reúne con funcionarios del gobierno de Donald Trumpf para abordar el tema Migración (March5, 2019)

International/National: Registration of Humanitarian Visas for Migrants Closes (February 12, 2019)


Chiapas/National/International: Global Solidarity Action for Life and against the War against Zapatista Communities

June 7, 2019

Zapatistas

On May 31st, a Global Solidarity Action for Life and against War against Zapatista communities was carried out both in Mexico and in other countries (including France, Spain and the United States).

The actions were organized in response to accusations of a new militarization in Zapatista territories and carried out by both the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym) and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), which has been able to monitor this situation through of the Civil Observation Brigades (BriCO in its Spanish acronym), which have registered an increase of 100 percent in the number of incursions by the Mexican Army, land patrols and helicopter flights since December 2018.

Frayba has also expressed that it fears that the “siege” will deepen with the presence of the National Guard in the region. According to information compiled by Contralínea, of the 266 planned postings, Chiapas will have several of them, noting that “the region of Zapatista influence will have more barracks than other regions with high rates of violence, despite the fact that the document itself establishes that the criminal indices in the autonomous territories are among the lowest in the country.”

For more information in Spanish:

Por la vida y contra la guerra en las comunidades zapatistas (La Jornada, 31 de mayo de 2019)

CNI y organizaciones preparan jornada global contra la militarización y paramilitarización de comunidades zapatistas (Periodistas Unidos, 29 de mayo de 2019)

La Guardia Nacional y los territorios zapatistas (Contralínea, 26 de mayo de 2019)

Convocatoria a Acción Global contra la militarización en teritorio zapatista (CNI, 23 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Intensification of Attacks against Indigenous Peoples since December 2018 (June 4, 2019)

Chiapas/National: Commission for Concord and Pacification Seeks to Meet Secretariat of Government to Explore Possibiity of Dialogue between Federal Government and EZLN (May 30, 2019)

National: CNI, EZLN and Indigenous Organizations Announce “Zapata Lives, Samir Lives, The Struggle Continues” (March 21, 2019)

National: Controversy between EZLN and AMLO Supporters Floods Social Networks (January 18, 2019)

 


National/International: UNO and IACHR Warn of Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Latin America. At Least Ten Murdered in Mexico

June 6, 2019

HRD@El Economista

In a statement published on May 30th, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations (UN) expressed their concern facing an increase in acts of violence committed against human rights defenders in Latin America during the first four months of the year.

In the case of Mexico, this trend is notorious where “according to information available to both agencies, at least ten human rights defenders were murdered during this period, nine men and a woman, a figure close to at least 13 cases documented throughout the year 2018, which represents a significant increase in violence. It is especially worrying that eight of the murdered defenders are indigenous.” They listed several of the cases and also expressed their concern over the disappearance of Obtilia Eugenio Manuel and Hilario Cornelio Castro, in Guerrero from February 12th to February 19th, “until they were released by their captors after an intense search campaign.”

The two multilateral organizations acknowledged that “in Mexico the federal government has publicly committed to strengthen the action of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, initiating a diagnosis on the current situation in which the UN Human Rights participates.”

They recalled that it is “the obligation of the states to investigate ex officio facts of this nature and to punish those responsible materially and intellectually. Both agencies urge the states to exhaust all relevant lines of investigation to clarify these facts, including the possible link between murders, disappearances and other aggressions and the work of defending human rights. Such investigations must be conducted with due diligence, in a thorough, serious and impartial manner.” They also stressed that in the case of women human rights defenders and groups in a situation of special vulnerability, “States must take due account of the fact that the inherent risk of their work is compounded by the context of discrimination based on gender or belonging to historically discriminated groups and adopt protection measures and conduct research with full incorporation of the gender and intercultural perspective. States must adopt reasonable measures to prevent acts of violence against persons of these groups and remedy the context of discrimination that promotes their repetition.”

For more information in Spanish:

CIDH y las Oficinas de ONU Derechos Humanos expresan su preocupación por la situación de personas defensoras de derechos humanos en el primer cuatrimestre del año (CIDH/OMU, 30 de mayo de 2019)

Alertan CIDH y ONU por aumento de asesinatos de activistas en México (Proceso, 30 de mayo de 2019)

Aumentaron asesinatos de activistas en México este año, alertan ONU y CIDH (LA Jornada, 30 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits Mexico (April 11, 2019)

National: Consultative Council on Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (April 11, 2019)

National / International: UN-DH denounces that 10 Human Rights Defenders have been murdered in Mexico until now in 2018 (September 21, 2018)


Chiapas: Frayba Denounces Intensification of Attacks against Indigenous Peoples since December 2018

June 4, 2019

Frayba

On May 27th, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights published a bulletin warning that, “aggressions against peoples, communities and organizations have intensified as part of a strategy to contain civil and peaceful resistance in defense of territory.” Two years after the Constituent Assembly of the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG in its Spanish acronym), of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym).

It illustrated the statement by referring to the six indigenous defenders who have been murdered so far in 2019, as well as mentioning the CNI’s own denunciations since December 2018 with situations of “dispossession, forced displacement, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, threats, harassment, criminalization and attempts of executions.”

Frayba denounced that “this logic of war against the peoples that build autonomy, is reproduced in the increase of militarization of Zapatista territories, especially the incursions, flights and espionage of the Mexican Army to the headquarters of the Junta de Buen Government Toward Hope, in La Realidad Caracol (Official Municipality of Las Margaritas). This containment is deepened by the presence of the National Guard in the region, which increases risks to the integrity and security of the population.”

In this context, Frayba demanded that the Mexican State: “Cease the attacks against peoples, communities and organizations that make up the National Indigenous Congress; justice for the defenders and communicators murdered in the country; and high militarization in Chiapas and Mexico.”

For more information in Spanish:

Contrainsurgencia a Pueblos Originarios que construyen la vida digna (CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, a 27 de mayo de 2019)

Las agresiones contra pueblos originarios se intensifican: Frayba (La Jornada, 29 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Two Members of CRAC-PF and CIPOG-EZ Murdered (May 28, 2019)

Guerrero: CNI Denounces Kidnapping and Murder of Two Members (May 11, 2019)

Chiapas: denuncian dos comunidades choles de Salto de Agua amenazas, persecución y hostigamientos (El 22 de abril de 2019)

National: Third Assembly of National Indigenous Congress and Indigenous Council of Government (CNI-CIG) in Mexico City (March 14, 2019)

Chiapas : CNI denuncia amenazas y agresiones en la zona Norte (El 16 de agosto de 2018)


National: National Guard Secondary Laws Passed; Concerns over Human Rights Continue

May 28, 2019

National GuardNational Guard at Migration Center (@Cuartooscuro)

On May 21st, the Senate approved a set of four secondary laws that includes the organic law of this new security body, on the use of the force, the National Detention Registry and the National Public Security System. According to the president of the Political Coordination Board, Ricardo Monreal, the Senate modified 70% of the initiatives to ensure that the command of this security body is civil. “The National Guard will be civil. There is no way of maintaining or thinking about militarization. There is no doubt about that. The civil character is deepened, the judicial discipline is deepened and the civil command over all the members of the Guard is guaranteed”, he affirmed.

Two days later, the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies ratified the same package so that it would be ready for its enactment by the Executive, without taking into account the questions that the United Nations (UN) or the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (FLEPS in its Spanish acronym).

It is worth noting that the Mexico Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (UNHCHR) published a letter sent to the Chamber of Deputies pointing out as “worrying aspects” the lack of accountability, the omission of the responsibility of superior commanders, the absence of military records, the poor regulation of non-lethal force and the risk of the right to protest, when protests or demonstrations may be classified according to the “lawful objective” pursued, which would be contrary to the right to freedom of expression and assembly. It also noted that “although the law contains a regime of responsibilities, it does not include the four dimensions of responsibility necessary to comply with the duty to investigate illicit actions, which are direct responsibility, responsibility for omission, responsibility of the commanders and the responsibility of the commanders for the actions of their subordinates.” The UNHCHR clarified that its observations on both legislations were of a preliminary nature, given the short time it took to know the content of the initiatives, so it called on the Chamber of Deputies “to open a process of public and inclusive discussion in around the minutiae.” It should be noted that the content of the initiatives of the secondary laws were not publicly known until the Senate endorsed them.

For its part, the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (FLEPS) recognized that there are “positive aspects such as the inclusion of international principles in the matter; the determination of the levels of use of force; the obligation of police agents to issue reports on the use of force they make; operational planning and strategy.” However, it is “worrying that a perspective of” crowd control be maintained in the context of demonstrations and meetings. It also stated that, “the definition and qualification of the “lawful objective” of the demonstrations as well as the discretional power conferred on the police authorities to do so is problematic.” It highlighted the ambiguous character of activation and escalation in the use of force when demonstrations “turn violent”, or the use of the term “public order”. It also stated that, “a law of this nature should be open to debate, widely discussed and constructed with the participation of civil society, in order to address the problematic aspects that we have identified in principle.”

The deputies acknowledged that there were flaws in the laws, but claimed they were urgent.

For more information in Spanish:

Amnistía Internacional critica “opacidad” en leyes secundarias de la Guardia Nacional (Proceso, 20 de mayo de 2019)

El Senado aprueba las cuatro leyes secundarias para la Guardia Nacional; pasan a Diputados (Animal Político, 21 de mayo de 2019)

Senado aprueba leyes secundarias de la Guardia Nacional (La Jornada, 21 de mayo de 2019)

Nueva Ley de Uso de la Fuerza: Criminalización de la protesta a nivel nacional (FLEPS, 21 de mayo de 2019)

Diputados dan luz verde a las cuatro leyes para la operación de la Guardia Nacional (Animal Político, 23 de mayo de 2019)

ONU-DH advierte “aspectos preocupantes” en leyes secundarias de la GN (Proceso, 23 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Directors of National Guard Publicly Presented (May 7, 2019)

National: AMLO Confirms Head of National Guard Will Be Serving Military Officer (April 9, 2019)

National: NGOs, Activists and CNDH Insist on Necessity that National Guard Be “Truly Civil” (April 8, 2019)

National: Chamber of Deputies Approves Law that Creates National Guard after Three Months of Debate and Negotiation (March 9, 2019)

National: Deputies Approve National Guard amid Doubts in the Executive (January 24, 2019)