Guerrero/National/International: UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) to evaluate the case of Mexico

February 10, 2015

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Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 2 and 3 February, the UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) evaluated the question of Mexico’s observance of its obligations, as stipulated in the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Forcible Disappearance, for the first time.  Relatives of two of the 43 disappeared students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, accompanied by a dozen Mexican human-rights organizations, arrived to Geneva to represent their peers.  They gave presentations at the United Nations and shared with the international community their profound indignation over the events of late September that took place in Guerrero state.  Bernabé Abraham Gaspar, father of Adán Abraham de la Cruz, one of the victims, emphasized that “for us, our sons are not dead.  They have been disappeared.  It is for that reason that we have come to the United Nations, so that you can help us find them.”

The CED has deeply questioned the Mexican State in relation to the actions and policies supposedly designed to prevent, investigate, and sanction forcible disappearances, as well as to search out the missing and protect their families.  In this sense, the Committee interrogated the State regarding the reasons for the closure of the FEMOSPP, an institution that had been charged with investigating the grave human-rights violations that took place during the “Dirty War” of the 1970’s, as well as the lengthy delay of the federal government in attending to the case of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.  The CED indicated that the Ayotzinapa case represents a serious challenge for the Mexican State, but that it also demonstrates a broader structural problem that has developed due to impunity. Stephanie Erin Brewer, coordinator of International Affairs at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, has indicated that the question of impunity has been present at all moments, given that the members of the Committee have indicated that there are exceedingly few cases in which sentences have been handed down.  She inquired into the reasons behind the closure of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Past Crimes and other events, such as the faulty classification of this type of crime.  The conclusions and recommendations for Mexico will be made public on 13 February.

For more information (in Spanish):

México ante el Comité contra la Desaparición Forzada: la obligación de hacer de la crisis actual un punto de inflexión en la política del Estado(Centro ProDH, 3 de febrero de 2015)

“Que no nos mientan más…que se haga justicia” (Alba TV, 2 de febrero de 2015)

INFORME | La Desaparición Forzada de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa frente al CED (Tlachinollan, 2 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders in México

February 10, 2015

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On 3 February, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a report that evaluates the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders, which has existed formally in Mexico for a little over two years.  While the report recognizes the “importance of the Mechanism and the courageous work done by the team that comprises it,” it also identifies a number of areas in which “improvements are needed, using several cases that will serve as examples to illustrate these weaknesses.”

The report details how Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and human-rights defenders: “During the first nine months of 2014, the Mexican section of the international organization Article 19 documented 222 aggressions against journalists; […] and between January 2011 and December 2013, the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Groups documented 27 cases of human-rights defenders being murdered as a result of their labor.”

The report on the Mechanism notes that, “since the beginning, the lack of personnel and funds has limited the capacity of the Mechanism to respond efficiently to urgent petitions it receives from journalists and human-rights defenders.  A large part of the constrained number of personnel who were initially assigned to the Mechanism have not been adequately trained, were insufficiently qualified, and had merely temporary contracts.”  It indicates that “there has been an accumulation of cases for the Mechanism, and the majority of the human-rights defenders and journalists who have submitted petitions to the Mechanism have had to wait many months, and on some occasions longer than a year, with no response.”

According to WOLA and PBI, there was seen “bad communication between the beneficiaries and the personnel of the Mechanism,” as well as a “lack of coordination among the different organizations involved in the process,” leading to “grave failures in the provision of protection.”

Both organizations lamented that the investigations linked to aggressions against journalists and rights-defenders “have not advanced,” thus maintaining a situation of near-total impunity in these cases.  They stressed that, worst of all, the government has deployed forces “to discredit and criminalize the rights-defenders and human-rights organizations,” hence sending the “worrying message that the government neither respects nor recognizes the courageous work of human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en México: desafíos y oportunidades (WOLA y PBI, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Periodistas y activistas están desprotegidos por el gobierno: WOLA y BPI(Proceso, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Gobernación no protege ni a periodistas ni a activistas: ONGs desde Washington (Sin Embargo, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)


Oaxaca: organizations submit to Congress a legislative agenda to support gender equity

February 10, 2015

Manifestación contra los feminicidios en Oaxaca (@SIPAZ archivos)

Protest against femicide in Oaxaca (@SIPAZ archivos)

On 4 February, members of organizations that work in favor of the human rights of women, such as Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, submitted to the state congress a legislative agenda that would permit the development of gender equity.  This agenda consists of a package of initiatives that would modify the penal and civil codes and have impacts on the State Law of Access for Women to Lives Free of Violence.  It would allow the prevention of violence against women, and it reaffirms the recommendations of the Commitee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Among the proposals is stressed the call to document obstetric and political violence, within the mandate of the State Law of Access for Women to Lives Free of Violence.  The question of arrest-orders is also advanced in the agenda.  With regard to the penal code, the proposal is to broaden the category of domestic violence and to increase punishment for offending males.  Another component is to sanction those who refuse to provide child support.

“This congress has a very clear debt to women, as seen in its legislative exercise.  We will be vigilant and announce that we will accompany the discussion that will revolve around these initiatives that promote the well-being and security of women in Oaxaca,” noted Consorcio.

For more information (in English):

Presentan Agenda Legislativa para la equidad de género en Oaxaca(Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la equidad Oaxaca, 4 de febrero de 2015)

Iniciativas en pro de la mujer, en la ‘congeladora’ del Congreso: IMO(NoticiasNet, 4 de febrero de 2015)

Confían que Congreso responda a demandas de justicia de las mujeres(NoticiasNet, 5 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Multiple activities for International Women’s Day (16 March 2014)

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero: Activities to observe International Day of Non-Violence toward Women (8 December 2013)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Commemoration of femicides during Day of the Dead (13 November 2013)

Oaxaca: March of relatives of victims of feminicide and members of human rights organizations for women (22 April 2013)

Oaxaca: More feminicides under Gabino Cué than in the final years of Ulises Ruiz (24 January 2013)


National: Promotion of Citizens’ Popular Congress

February 10, 2015

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On 5 February, in observance of the anniversary of the entrance into law of the current Mexican Constitution, parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, together with Raúl Vera, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the priest Alejandro Solalinde, the poet Javier Sicilia, and the artist Francisco Toledo, together with members of human-rights organizations, churches, campesino organizations, and unions participated in the public presentation of the initiative for a Popular Citizens’ Constitution.  The organizational call notes in this sense that “we call on civil society, women and men, without importance to creed, gender diversity, or social class to advance with the refoundation of the nation; to progress toward the creation of a new constitution that bases elections on democracy, ensures that the representatives of a new congress be subject to the will of the people, and forever buries all types of juridical and economic forms of organization that merely make the people into commodities to be plundered.  This constitution must put an end to impunity, racism, and patriarchy.  To serve and to lead by obeying must be the new conditions of those who become representative of civil society.”

Following a series of sessions throughout the country during the past 11 months, the partisans of the Citizens’ Constitution explained the necessity of “refounding the country.”  Toward this end 20 points have been presented, including guarantees for human rights and union organizing, beyond the implementation of a convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

There was also announced a planned meeting on 21 March “to discuss the political reality of the countryin terms of the elections for this year.”  Beyond this, there was made a call for the First National Assembly of the Committee for National Refoundation that will be held on 2 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria Hacia la Constituyente Ciudadana-Popular (Regeneración, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Presentan activistas el “Primer Constituyente Ciudadano Popular”(Proceso, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Activistas y ONG presentan el “primer constituyente ciudadano” (La Jornada, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Solalinde, Raúl Vera y Sicilia presentan primer Constituyente Ciudadana(Vanguardia, 5 de febrero de 2015)


National/International: German activists reject security agreement with Mexico

February 10, 2015

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German activists in front of the Ministry of the Interior. Photo@México Vía Berlín

On 3 February, dozens of persons protested in front of the German Ministry of the Interior against a security agreement that is planned with Mexico.  The activists submitted a list of 7,830 persons who reject the support Berlin provides for police and juridical authorities in Mexico.  These signatures are the results of a campaign promoted by the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico which has repeatedly pronounced itself against this type of agreement given that, as it argues, conditions do not exist in Mexico for a collaboration of this type.  The petition’s website explains that “this agreement would not serve to regulate the police who are systematically torturing their people, killing innocents, and raping women, besides being involved in the forcible disappearances of tens of thousands of people for decades.”  In response to the German government’s argument that corruption is limited to the local and municipal levels, the activists note that “this is a disingenuous argument, to claim that the problems have to do with the local police […].  The impunity of the security forces is the functional reality of all levels of the Mexican government, and only in a very limited set of situations can it be broken using particular tactics.  For the German police to collaborate with these structures would be to legitimate the principle of impunity.”

Present at the protest was a Mexican delegation, which included the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, and members of the Network in Solidarity Decade against Impunity.  After the protest, close to 40 activists met with officials from the Ministry, including Peter Steck and Siegfried Helmut Mueller. Bishop Vera handed over the list of signatures against the controversial security proposal and expressed the same sort of worry evinced by the other activists: “At this time, as Ayotzinapa has shown, the police, the Army, and organized crime act jointly together against the people of the country.  And the federal government knows that part of civil society disagrees with this, such that they feel insecure.  And this force that you are giving to the police will not be used to fight organized crime but instead people like us.”  For his part, Peter Steck promised the activists that he would transmit the information to be considered in the negotiations regarding the security accord.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campaña “No al acuerdo” de la Coordinación Alemana por los Derechos Humanos en México

Activistas rechazan en Berlín convenio de seguridad con México(LaJornada, 4 de febrero, 2015)

Obispo Vera pide al gobierno alemán evitar firma de acuerdo con México(Proceso, 3 de febrero, 2015)

Acuerdo de seguridad Alemania-México: inminente y poco transparente(Deutsche Welle, 8 de diciembre, 2014)

Los peligros del Acuerdo de Seguridad entre México y Alemania (eltoque, 4 de febrero, 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: update in the Ayotzinapa case (17 December 2014)


Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón

February 10, 2015

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On 29 January, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, published a communique which reports that they will maintain their posture of defending their lands and that, toward this end, they have installed a regional headquarters for the ejido between the Agua Azul crossroads at the entrance of the waterfalls of the same name and the limits of the Tumbalá municipality.

They denounced furthermore that since the displacement operation they suffered on 9 January 2015, police presence has been constant, such that they have called on Governor Manuel Velasco Coello to immediately order the withdrawal of public security forces and to discontinue intimidation and repression.

They reported as well that the ejidal commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, together with his security advisor are organizing shock-groups that “fire into the night with high-caliber weapons,” thus frightening local residents.

They noted lastly that “private meetings are being held between the Chilón delegate Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, a local deputy, to plan for [more] looting, such that our comrades are guarding the regional headquarters and are charging the quotas at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  We hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attack or confrontation that could develop.”

For his part, the “official” ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, has told the media that “at present we are being affected by a group of approximately 100 persons, men and women who hail from different municipalities of the state of Chiapas, adherents to an organization called the Other Campaign or the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, who have violently appropriated ejidal lands […].  We demand respect for the autonomy of the ejido and for non-violence.  They must put down their arms and opt for the path of dialogue and social peace.”

The first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth who went to visit San Sebastián Bachajón ein January stresses the attempt made by the ejidal commissioner to “portray these events as an inter-communal conflict that only has to do with the internal politics of the Bachajón community rather than the interests of the government and tourist firms.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo de las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón(29 de enero de 2015; incluyendo vídeo)

Piden menos violencia y más diálogo en Bachajón (Noticias.net, 29 de enero de 2015)

Ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón continúan en la defensa de su territorio, ante la amenaza de desalojo del gobierno de Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)


Chiapas: Call for the 2015 jTatik Samuel Jcanan Lum Award

February 8, 2015

© SIPAZ convocatoria Jcanan Lum 2015

Jcanan Lum Award call 2015 © SIPAZ

On 23 January, the 2015 public call to propose candidates for the “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award” was launched.  The announcement was made by Monseigneur José Raúl Vera López, bishop of Saltillo and the honorary president of the organizing committee.

The call recalls that the award has the goal of “making known and inspiring the work of women and men, organizations, and collectives that have distinguished themselves by their contribution to the people in the creation of communal and/or regional alternatives, as well as by their work directed at unity and peaceful social transformation […].  We want to recognize their love for the people, their resistance, their service, their search for alternatives amidst the suffering and marginalization of their communities, amidst the destruction of the Earth, the defense of human rights, the defense of the dignity of all, and their struggle for peace, justice, and liberation.”

“jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” is a charge that the Mons. Samuel Ruíz García received in the community of Amatenango del Valle by Ch’ol, Tojolabal, Tseltal, Tsotsil, and Zoque peoples on 14 October 2009.  There, he was recognized as the protector of their people, who love and defend him for being someone who cares for life, nature, and the Earth.  With reference to the same, the jTatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award seeks to support individuals or groups and stimulate them by giving voice to their social work.

The proposals must be made in writing, physically, or electronically before 31 October 2015 to the following address: Calle Brasil No. 14, Barrio de Mexicanos, CP 29240, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México. Tel. and fax: 967 6787395, 967 6787396 E-mail: jcananlum@gmail.com

The awarding of the next wave of Recognitions will take place in January 2016 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in observance of the Episcopal Anniversary of jTatic Samuel Ruiz García.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria jCanan Lum 2015

“Reconocimiento jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum”, lanzamiento de convocatoria, Koman ilel, 23 de enero de 2015

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award during the assembly of the Believing People (7 March 2011)

Chiapas: Presentation of the jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award to the Coordination of Indigenous Social Organizations XI’NICH (25 February 2011)

Chiapas: celebration and presentation of 2011 jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Chiapas: Burial of Don Samuel Ruiz and presentation of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Award (31 January 2011)

Chiapas: visit to observe 2011 call for “jTatic Samuel jCanan Lum” Honor denied (30 July 2010)


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