National: UNO Special Rapporteur Visits Mexico to Evaluate Human Rights Situation

February 5, 2017

UNO.pngMichael Forst, UNO Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Photo@MuralChiapas

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, visited Mexico from January 16 to 24 with the aim of assessing the situation of human rights defenders and evaluating the efforts made by the Mexican authorities for their protection. After traveling the country from Mexico City to the states of Chihuahua, Guerrero, Oaxaca and the State of Mexico, and meeting more than 800 defenders from 24 states, 60% of whom were women, the UNO Rapporteur noted “high levels of insecurity and violence faced by defenders in the country” in a “complex context marked by organized crime, corruption and state repression.”

Based on his observations, Forst points out that, “the situation of human rights defenders is marked by the criminalization of their activities through the undue and deliberate use of criminal law and manipulation of punitive power by both state and non-state players, to prevent and even avoid the legitimate activities of defenders to promote and protect human rights.” He also added that “the use of arbitrary arrests and detentions as an instrument to silence dissident voices and to curb social movements is also worrying (…) in many cases, those who defend human rights by reporting violations committed by the authorities are criminalized and face indirect reprisals through attacks or criminal proceedings directed against their families or people close to them.”

The Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the fact that “98% of crimes in Mexico are not solved”: “The low rate of successful investigations and solution of crimes committed against human rights defenders has generated a generalized sense of impunity.” He continued and warned that, “The lack of investigation and sanction of the aggressors sends a dangerous message that there are no consequences for committing such crimes. This creates an environment conducive to the repetition of violations.”

“Impunity has become the cause and effect of the general insecurity of human rights defenders in Mexico,” the Special Rapporteur warned at the close of his official visit to the country and presented a preliminary report with a series of recommendations to the authorities and other players to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders and facilitate their important work. Forst concluded by reaffirming his willingness to provide assistance to all players interested in combating impunity and ensuring the protection of defenders in Mexico.

For more information in Spanish

México / Defensores de DD HH: “La mejor forma de protegerlos es luchando contra la impunidad” – Experto de la ONU (Naciones Unidas, 25 de enero de 2017)

Relator de la ONU concluye visita en México (El Financiero, 24 de enero de 2017)

DEFENSORAS Y DEFENSORES DEL TERRITORIO DENUNCIAN AGRESIONES ANTE RELATOR DE LA ONU (23 de febrero de 2017)

Repudian ONU y ONG asesinato del ambientalista Isidro Baldenegro (19 de enero de 2017)

Relator de la ONU evalúa violación de DD.HH. en México (TeleSUR, 17 de enero de 2017)

Viene a México relator especial de ONU para defensores de DH (La Jornada, 11 de enero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Visita no oficial del relator especial de la ONU sobre la Situación de las y los defensores de Derechos Humanos (13 de mayo de 2016)

Nacional: Gobierno rechazó visita del relator para la tortura de la ONU (13 de mayo de 2016) Nacional: Relator especial de la ONU sobre la tortura finaliza visita oficial a México (6 de mayo de 2014)


Guerrero: The PGR Denies Concealing Information from the IGIE in Ayotzinapa Case

January 28, 2017

ayotziRelatives continue to demand justice, Photo@: Ronaldo Schemidt

Alfredo Higuera Bernal, head of the investigation office of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR in its Spanish acronym) in the Iguala case, denied concealing information from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) and the relatives of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa in 2014 in an interview with La Jornada.

 One of IGIE’s hypotheses to explain the attack on the students was that they took buses used by an organized crime cartel, Guerreros Unidos, to smuggle drugs into the United States. According to La Jornada, the PGR was aware of the use of buses by the cartel for its trafficking. Two months before the disappearance of the 43, in July 2014, the Army and the PGR detained Gonzalo Martin Souza Neves and Jose Bahena Salgado, members of Guerreros Unidos, in possession of about 250,000 dollars in cash, three vehicles and 24 kilos of heroin. On the day of the arrest, the Ministry of the Interior reported through bulletin 351/14 that Gonzalo Martin Souza Neves had “taken control of the criminal group […] and was in charge of drug trafficking through hidden compartments in various vehicles, mainly in passenger buses (sic).”

However, when the IGIE requested information from the PGR to investigate its hypothesis, the PGR never provided it with background information related to the trafficking of heroin in passenger buses. According to La Jornada, in response to a request for information on Guerreros Unidos, the PGR indicated that it only found “data according to which the criminal group was formed in 2011 by members of the Familia Michoacana and the Beltran Leyva”, without mentioning the arrest of July 2014. Similarly, on presenting its final report on the Ayotzinapa case – known as the white paper – in June 2016, the PGR stated that “so far no evidence has been found that sustains” the IGIE hypothesis.

Failure to mention this information to either the parents or the IGIE could indicate that there has been no good faith on the part of the PGR according to La Jornada, and it is even more serious because it is information of special relevance. Alfredo Higuera Bernal did not confirm the accusations of concealment and assured that “that line of investigation was one of the main approaches that the IGIE took and has been the subject of treatment in the talks that we have with the representatives of the parents.”

Despite the difficulties encountered in the investigation to find their children, the parents of the missing continue their search and their demand for justice and truth. Six months after suspending dialogue with the government, they declared that next February 9 they will meet with the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), Raul Cervantes Andrade, and a member of the Follow-up Commission of the Iguala Case of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which acts as a mediator between the parties to arrive at a new negotiating table. The parents will present their demands, including legal action against Tomas Zeron, exercise of criminal action against the Huitzuco municipal police and two agents of the Federal Police, for participating in the disappearance of the student teachers.

For more information in Spanish:

Padres de los 43 y PGR reanudarán diálogo en febrero (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2017)

Rechaza Alfredo Higuera que haya habido ocultamiento en el caso Iguala (La Jornada, 24 de enero de 2017)

PGR ocultó el trasiego de droga en autobuses (La Jornada, 23 de enero de 2017)

PGR ocultó datos sobre trasiego de drogas en caso Iguala (UniRadioInforma, 23 de enero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero/México: GIEI concluye su trabajo México entregando un segundo informe (28 de abril de 2016)

Guerrero: Grupo de Expertos sobre caso Ayotzinapa presenta su informe a 6 meses (7 de septiembre de 2015)

Guerrero: Familiares de estudiantes desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa se reunen con PGR por primera vez en 4 meses (16 de julio de 2015)

 


National: Poor results ten years into war against organized crime; Army will remain on the streets, EPN

December 28, 2016

10yearsProtest in Mexico City ten years after the start of the war on organized crime(@La Jornada)

This December 11 marked a decade of the beginning of the war against crime launched by former President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (2006-2012). Ten years later, the toll of violence is alarming: 186,000 dead, more than 28,000 missing, tens of thousands of people displaced according to official figures, a balance comparable to that of Central American armed conflicts in the 1980s. Over the term, according to the media, over one trillion pesos has been spent without reducing insecurity and harassment of civilians with a significant increase in human rights violations. In addition, domestic drug use has increased and, although some capos have been arrested, nine organized crime cartels and 37 criminal cells continue to operate.

Civil organizations have ruled that, “the tightening of security measures has not nor will reduce violence in the country. Today we live in a much more insecure country, with weaker institutions and a criminal justice system that does not work properly.” One of the most contested players in the anti-crime strategy has been the Army, which, outside its constitutional mandate, has been deployed to carry out security tasks. From December 1, 2006 to the end of last October, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued a total of 158 recommendations to the armed forces, of which 121 were addressed to the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and the remaining 37 to the Secretariat of the Navy. Most of these recommendations were issued for violations, such as searches and arbitrary detentions; excessive, disproportionate and arbitrary use of force; injuries, and also for deprivation of life or arbitrary executions; forced disappearances, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, as well as unduly imputing events to detainees.

In a press conference, Secretary of National Defense, Major General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, was direct: “The military do not study to chase criminals.” And in the absence of a legal framework “our soldiers are already thinking if it’s worth it for them to continue to confront these (criminal) groups, with the risk of being prosecuted for a crime related to human rights or maybe its better for them if we prosecute them for disobedience, which is cheaper for them.” He said: “We are asking for regularization of the actions of the Armed Forces,” (that it should be defined) “what Mexicans want the Armed Forces to do. If they want us to be in the barracks, go ahead. I would be the first to raise not one, but the two hands so that we go to do our constitutional tasks … (…) We do not ask to be here … we do not feel at ease, those of us here with you do not study to chase criminals … We are performing functions that do not correspond to us, all because there is no one who should perform them or they are not trained.” He also said: “there is a lack commitment of the part of many sectors for this to work. It is not an issue that is going to be resolved by bullets, it requires other components that have not had the necessary major efforts and budgets to address these situations.”

In this context, the business leadership demanded that the Mexican Army not return to the barracks until state governments have the capacity to deal with organized crime, for which it urged the legislature to pass laws that give greater legal certainty to the armed forces.

At the end of the National Encounter for Procurement and Delivery of Justice 2016, President Enrique Peña Nieto acknowledged that the goal had not been achieved and stated that soldiers will continue in the streets “until we achieve the aim of this subject still pending, not only now, but for several decades, to have a country in conditions of greater peace and tranquility.”

Mario Patron, director of the Agustin Pro HR Center, has questioned that “instead of taking seriously the design of a program for the gradual withdrawal of the Armed Forces from the security tasks – as proposed by international mechanisms in this area – it revives the idea of creating an ad hoc legal framework for the Army and Navy, normalizing the state of emergency under the concept of internal security.” For the same reason, dozens of civil organizations, academics and researchers asked the Chamber of Deputies – who were debating this issue these days – “not to hastily approve” military permanence in public security tasks and the suspension of guarantees for the population.

For more information in Spanish:

El tamaño del fracaso: 186 mil muertos en una década de guerra en México, según datos oficiales (Sin Embargo, 5 de diciembre de 2016)

Diez años de guerra contra las drogas: Civiles se organizan para responder al fracaso del Estado (Sin Embargo, 7 de diciembre de 2016)

Militares no estudiamos para perseguir delincuentes: Cienfuegos (Aristegui Noticias, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Reprocha Cienfuegos falta de apoyo de Segob; “no estamos a gusto persiguiendo delincuentes”, dice (Proceso, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Exige Cienfuegos regularizar función de las fuerzas armadas (La Jornada, 9 de diciembre de 2016)

Pide CCE aprobar leyes que den certeza jurídica a fuerzas armadas (La Jornada, 9 de diciembre de 2016)

El baño de sangre en 10 años deja más consumidores de drogas, más cárteles y más líderes criminales (Sin Embargo, 9 de diciembre de 2016)

El Ejército seguirá en las calles: Peña Nieto (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 10 de diciembre de 2016)

Activistas protestan ante “guerra contra el narco” (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2016)

Violencia, dudas y la sombra de la corrupción marcan los 10 años de la guerra contra el narco (Animal Político, 11 de diciembre de 2016)

Con Felipe Calderón, se generó un tsunami de sangre que no teníamos: especialista (Revolucion 3.0, 12 de diciembre de 2016)

Sedena, la que más recomendaciones ha recibido de la CNDH en 10 años (La Jornada, 12 de diciembre de 2016)

Seguridad pública, función de civiles, dice CNDH (La Jornada, 12 de diciembre de 2016)

Especial 10 años de la guerra contra el narco (Vice News, diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Nacional: La CNDH presentó su informe sobre recomendaciones por violaciones a derechos humanos (28 de septiembre de 2016)

Nacional: “Violencia del narco” ha desplazado a 281 mil personas (22 de julio de 2016)

 

 

 

 


Chiapas: Frayba Presents its Annual Report “Paths of Resistance”

December 28, 2016

Frayba.png

On December 19, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its “Annual Report: Paths of Resistance”, in an event attended by Marina Pages, coordinator of the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ); Ana Valadez Ortega, member of the Center for Studies for Change in the Mexican Field (CECCAM); Rafael Landerreche Morin, member of the Pastoral Team of Chenalho; Marcelo Perez Perez, parish priest of Simojovel and coordinator of the Social Pastoral of the Chiapas Province, as well as Pedro Faro Navarro, director of CDHFBC.

 The objective of the book is to “make visible the men and women, people and communities organized in the construction of dreams and hopes that crack the system, generate life and dignity, ways of resistance to this cruel and bloodthirsty reality that we live in Mexico.”

It has five chapters: “Detention and Megaprojects, Impacts on Human Rights”, “Forced Displacement in a War Context”, “From Discredit to Repression” (focused on human rights defenders), “From Internal Armed Conflict to Widespread Violence”, and “In the Midst of the Whistling of the Mountains, the Call to Truth and Justice ” (on historical memory and the “Other Justice “).

For more information in Spanish:

Informe completo “Los caminos de la Resistencia” (CDHFBC, diciembre de 2016)

Lucha de EZLN por DH de indígenas, blanco de ataques: Frayba (La Jornada, 20 de diciembre de 2016)

« Andamos los caminos de la resistencia » (Boletín de prensa, CDHFBC, 19 de diciembre de 2016)

Persisten violaciones a derechos a 19 años de masacre de Acteal: Frayba (Proceso, 19 de diciembre de 2016)

Los caminos de la resistencia: Informe Frayba 2016 (Audios, Radio Zapatista, 19 de diciembre de 2016)

Documenta Frayba, despojos, megaproyectos y ataques contra defensores de DH; en Chiapas, “ocasionadas por el Estado mexicano” (Revolucion 3.0, 20 de diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Nacional : presentación del informe “Defender los derechos humanos en México, la normalización de la represión política” (31 de agosto de 2016)


Oaxaca/National: NGOs Document Arbitrary Detentions of Defenders – Relatives Demand their Release

December 28, 2016

Defenders.pngPedro Canche Herrera, Nestora Salgado and Enrique Guerrero Aviña (Photo@: Consorciooaxaca)

On December 14, 2016, the report Arbitrary and Illegal Detentions – Criminalization: a State Policy to Inhibit the Defense of Human Rights in Mexico, jointly prepared by 11 Mexican and international civil society organizations, was launched in Oaxaca. This report analyzes the case of five human rights defenders who were “illegally arrested without warrant and imprisoned for crimes they committed only for their legitimate activities in defense of human rights”: Damian Gallardo Martinez, Enrique Guerrero Aviña, Librado Baños Rodriguez, Pedro Canche Herrera and Nestora Salgado – the last two of whom have already been released.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, having studied these cases, confirmed that they were arbitrary detentions and that they were carried out “without warrant or charges against them [those involved in the said cases]“. The WG underlined the numerous irregularities presented by criminal proceedings. In its opinion, the detention of Librado Baños corresponds to “acts of retaliation and reprisal for his active defense of the rights of the indigenous and Afro-descendant population of the region.” It should be noted that the Working Group stated that it requested information from the Mexican Government regarding those cases, which was not provided in the legal period for that purpose.

The 11 organizations and relatives of the victims say that the arrests, acts of torture and other human rights violations they have been subjected to illustrate “a much broader pattern of criminalization of social protest in Mexico that seeks to inhibit the defense of human rights and social protest, turning them into illegal and criminal activities. In addition to this the fact that, far from affecting the eradication of this practice, the Mexican state continues to detain and intimidate defenders in the country.”

The authors of the report emphasize that “the responsibility for these violations of human rights is shared between the plurality of players directly or indirectly involved in the process of criminalization and arbitrary detention of defenders: the Mexican State may be involved at different levels, federal and state, as well as the police, the army, the same government authorities, the judiciary through justice operators, sharing responsibility with private players such as private companies and landowners.”

During the presentation of the report, the organizations and families demanded: “the immediate release of Damian Gallardo, Enrique Guerrero and Librado Baños as well as the cessation of criminalization and full reparation to the five human rights defenders for the numerous human rights violations to which they have been subjected.”

The report clarifies that “the five cases of arbitrary detention presented show the serious human rights crisis in Mexico. These five cases are emblematic and represent only a small part of the arbitrary detentions that occur with impunity in the country.”

 For more information in Spanish:

Inéditas, 5 detenciones arbitrarias de defensores de DDHH reconocidas por la ONU (Aristegui Noticias, 14 de diciembre de 2016)

ONGs documentan detenciones arbitrarias de defensoras y defensores, familiares exigen su libertad (Educa, 15 de diciembre 2016)

Informe : detenciones arbitraria e ilegal (Consorcio Oaxaca, diciembre 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ:


Guerrero/Nacional: Nestora Salgado lanza campaña para exigir la libertad de los presos políticos del país (4 de abril 2016)


Guerrero: NCHR and OHCHR on Joint Mission in the State

December 16, 2016

HR.pngMembers of the NCHR and OHCHR (Photo@Tlachinollan)

On December 6 and 7, the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Mexico carried out a joint mission in the state of Guerrero during which they held various meetings with victims, human rights defenders and authorities. At the end of that mission, both institutions reaffirmed their concern about “the state of insecurity in the State, impunity in cases of human rights violations, particularly disappearances, lack of access to justice, threats against human rights defenders, and forced internal displacement.” They reiterated “the need to address the situation in the state of Guerrero in a comprehensive manner so that proposed security solutions also address the problem of access to justice.”

The NCHR and OHCHR agreed that to reduce levels of violence impunity must end. In this context, both institutions reiterated their concern about the lack of human and material resources available to the Attorney General’s Office and other institutions to deal with the worrying human rights situation in the state. They stated that, “it is necessary that the three branches of the State, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary, be actively and effectively involved, especially in the area of justice.”

At the closing session of the mission, both institutions sent a message of solidarity to families and victims of human rights violations and reaffirmed their readiness to support them in their search for truth, justice and reparation. They also expressed their permanent willingness to technically assist the state of Guerrero in the field of human rights.

For more information in Spanish:

Termina misión conjunta de CNDH y ONU-DH México al estado de Guerrero (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, a 8 de diciembre de 2016)

ONU-DH y CNDH instan a atender derechos humanos en Guerrero ( La Jornada, a 7 de diciembre de 2016)

Termina misión conjunta de CNDH y ONU-DH México al estado de Guerrero ( Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos, a 7 de diciembre de 2016)

 


Chiapas/International: Week of Global Action in Solidarity with San Sebastian Bachajón

December 14, 2016

SanSeb.pngDemonstration at the Mexican Consulate in New York in support of La Sexta Bachajon Photo@: Viva Bachajon WordPress

From December 4 to 10, 2016, a symbolic day for being International Human Rights Day, a week of global action will be held in solidarity with San Sebastian Bachajon, Chiapas. From Canada, the United States, England, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, together with the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajon, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, will carry out a series of activities in order to claim “respect for the fundamental human rights of the Tseltal indigenous peoples of San Sebastian Bachajon, and guarantees for their security and integrity, respect and guarantees for their right to full use and enjoyment of their territory, and self-determination and the construction of their autonomy, an end to the pillage and dispossession of common [ownership].” They call for a “stop to the permanent presence of police and the militarization of the area, and the threats and violence that are being experienced.” They demand “a fair and comprehensive investigation of the murders of Juan Vazquez Guzman and Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, to know who were the material and intellectual authors of their deaths. Also a fair and comprehensive investigation of the savage attack against Domingo Perez Alvaro, and the punishment of those responsible.”

The San Sebastian Bachajon ejido is located near the Agua Azul Waterfalls, where they have been talking about building an elite holiday complex. “The Tseltal Indians of San Sebastian Bachajon hinder their plans and profits, since they inherited those lands from their ancestors and care for them as a great treasure of humanity. For this reason, they have received threats, aggressions, arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, incarceration, torture and attacks by state and paramilitary forces. They suffer serious acts of violence and police and military occupation, as well as evictions and pillage, in the perpetuated attempt to deprive them of their ancestral lands and sacred places. These last threats and acts of brutal aggression oblige us to offer our solidarity”, their sympathizers say in the call for the week of solidarity.

This week of global action is an initiative that arises after the attack that the indigenous Tseltal Domingo Perez Alvaro, defender of human rights and community organizer of San Sebastian Bachajon suffered on October 17, 2016. Due to this, the ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajon fear that his fate will be similar to that of Juan Vazquez Guzman and Juan Carlos Gomez Silvano, for which they asked the national and international civil society to remain “alert and aware of what may happen to him.”

For more information in Spanish:

Semana de acción global en solidaridad con San Sebastián Bachajón ( Koman Ilel, a 22 de noviembre de 2016)

Desde Uruguay: Pronunciamiento de Raúl Zibechi (Viva Bachajon WordPress, a 4 de diciembre 2016)Primer informe sobre la Semana de Acción Global en Solidaridad con los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón, del 4 al 10 de diciembre de 2016.

 For more information from SIPAZ:


Chiapas: La sexta de San Sebastián Bachajón reciben de nuevo amenazas  (4 de noviembre de 2016)
Chiapas: Ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón denuncian agresiones a uno de sus integrantes y nuevas amenazas (24 de octubre 2016)