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)


Chiapas: “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” Declares itself against Presence of Environmental Gendarmerie in Lacandon Jungle

December 16, 2016

Forum.pngForum in Amador Hernandez (Photo@Noe Pineda)

On December 5, the “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” was held in the ejido of Amador Hernandez, in the Municipality of Ocosingo, Lacandon Jungle. About 1,000 people from communities in the region analyzed the problems they are experiencing, including several agrarian conflicts.

In their final declaration, they said: “We are against the introduction of the Environmental Gendarmerie and their entry into our territory. From now on we state that in the case that the corresponding authorities do not take our disagreement into account … we will carry out more actions against the introduction of the Environmental Gendarmerie until we are heard.”

They questioned whether the presence of the Environmental Gendarmerie “for the supposed care and conservation of the environment” responds to other objectives: “We know that the true objective of this security force is a strategy for the destruction of our communities, our cultures and our organizations, it represents the violation of our rights and that its true intention is to guarantee the entry of transnational corporations dedicated to the extraction of natural resources for the benefit of big capital.”

According to the authorities, the Environmental Gendarmerie will “have the mission of preventing administrative crimes and faults in environmental matters, due to its security and police operational model.” It is envisaged that it will be installed in 61 points of the country, among others, the Lacandon Jungle, Montes Azules and the monarch butterfly reserves, Pico de Orizaba, Nevado de Toluca and Tulum.

It should be noted that on the same day, President Enrique Peña Nieto was in the Lacandon Jungle in the framework of an activity, which was part of the COP (Conferences of the Parties) 13 under the heading “Integrating Biodiversity for Wellbeing”. In that context, he instructed the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development to prevent the regularization of irregular settlements; and the Secretariats of Energy and Economy, to ensure that there are no hydrocarbon or mining explorations or holdings in the region.

For more information in Spanish:

Con la amenaza de la instalación de la Gendarmería Ambiental se realiza Foro sobre Defensa de la Tierra en Amador Hernández, Chiapas (Serapaz, 7 de diciembre de 2016)

Pueblos de Chiapas dicen no a la Gendarmería Ambiental (Somos el Medio, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Se pronuncian en contra de la Gendarmería Ambiental comunidades de la Selva Lacandona y Montes Azules (Desinformémonos, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Peña Nieto destaca acciones para preservar la Selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 5 de de diciembre de 2016)

Los de abajo (Artículo de opinión, La Jornada, 10 de diciembre de 2016)

COP 13- Conservación y áreas de salvaguarda, la cara más reciente del modelo extractivo en México (Otros Mundos, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Despliegue de elementos de la División de Gendarmería en 6 estados de México (3 de septiembre de 2014)


Chiapas: Statement from the Tila Ejidatarios

December 14, 2016

Tila.pngPress Conference in San Cristobal de las Casas Photo @Sipaz

In a public complaint issued on November 24, the Tila ejidatarios, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, announced the threats and intimidation that they continue to suffer. They especially noted the intimidation suffered by an ejidatario on November 22 and the threats received by the parish priest of Tila, Heriberto Cruz Vera, despite the fact that “he has nothing to do with the struggle of the ejido.” It denounces a “minority group of approx. 150 people (…) throwing stones intimidating the passers-by and a string of insults against the ejidatarios.” In their statement, the ejidatarios state their nonviolent position by clarifying that they are opting for “peace and tranquility.”

They conclude their statement warning “non-governmental social organizations to be aware of what will happen in Tila ejido” and blaming “the government of the state of Chiapas, the state congress, the public registry of property and municipal council of being responsible for deceiving people for an alleged legal fund violating Article 74 of the agrarian legislation in trying to modify the definitive plan of the ejido being unconstitutional.”

 

 

 


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)

 

 

 


Chiapas/Mexico: CNI and EZLN Denounce Attacks during the Indigenous Consultation

December 14, 2016

CNI.pngPhoto@SIPAZ

Members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) denounced in a communiqué on December 2 numerous acts of aggression and harassment of participants in their fifth Congress during the consultation they have been conducting. “The fear of the powerful, the extractive companies, the military, the narco-paramilitaries is such that our consultation is being attacked and harassed where our peoples are gathering to discuss and decide the steps to follow as the CNI “.

 They specifically denounced:

 “-In the Nahua indigenous community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, the narco-paramilitary harassment by the Templar Knights cartel has intensified, and through a paper signed on November 19, 2016, the same date on which a regional assembly discussed on the Michoacan coast the resolutions of the first stage of the V CNI, they threatened to do a “clean up” of those who participate in demonstrations together with the community police commanders.

 – That compañeros who, by agreement of the assembly of the V CNI in October 2016, have moved through different geographies of the country where the original peoples have wanted to dialogue with delegates of other peoples regarding our political proposal, have been victims of aggression and harassment by criminal gangs or by unknown persons, such as the burning of homes in their places of origin, or attacks on other vehicles to try to remove them from the roads where they need to travel.

 – That while foreign companies intend to seize 12 oil wells in the northern Zoque territory of Chiapas, on November 23, 2016, a group of armed men pretending to be government teachers and with the consent of the Undersecretary of Federated Education of Chiapas, Eduardo Campos Martinez and the chief, Delfino Alegria Garcia, abducted a group of indigenous teachers from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) in the northern area of Chiapas, and attacked them with high-powered weapons. Outside the office of the Secretary of Education in the municipality of Ixtacomitán, Chiapas. The attack resulted in the loss of life of Professor Zoque Roberto Diaz Aguilar, originally from Chapultenango, Chiapas and three other people were injured.

 – That the teacher Irineo Salmerón Dircio, Coordinator of the House of Justice in San Luis Acatlan and member of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC-PC) was abducted – disappeared by an armed group in the municipality of Tixtla, Guerrero; and two days later his dead body was found in the municipality of Chilapa, Guerrero, a few days after in that same municipality at least 15 communities of the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata held an assembly as part of the consultation in which we are participating.”

 For more information in Spanish:

 EZLN denuncia agresiones durante consulta indígena, La Jornada, 2 de diciembre de 2016

A pesar de agresiones contra pueblos indígenas la consulta va, anuncian EZLN y CNI, Radio Formula, 2 de diciembre de 2016

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Nacional : Nuevo comunicado del EZLN aclara propuesta conjunta con el CNI (25/11/2016)

Chiapas/Nacional : Candidata presidencial “no es decisión de una persona” (Subcomandante Moíses) (15 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas /Nacional: Polémica después de la propuesta planteada por el EZLN y el CNI en octubre (24 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas / Nacional : CNI y EZLN realizarán consulta para nombrar a una candidata indígena hacia las elecciones presidenciales de 2018 (15 de octubre de 2016)

 


Chiapas: Movement in Defense of Life and Territory 12-Day Pilgrimage Ends in San Cristobal de Las Casas

December 2, 2016

pilgrimsPhoto@SIPAZ

On November 25, after a 12-day walk through 11 indigenous municipalities in the North, Jungle area and Highlands of Chiapas, thousands of pilgrims arrived in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where they denounced the threats and insecurity that they live with in the villages where they come from.

The members of the pilgrimage belong to the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE in its Spanish acronym) and the Believing Peoples of the parishes of Candelaria, Huixtan, Cancuc, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Chilon, Sitala, Yajalon and Salto de Agua: “We are the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE), composed of ten parishes from 11 municipalities and 1 ejido. We are located in the high region of Chiapas. We started more than four years ago from the Believing Peoples of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas to stop the clandestine sale of alcohol in our communities but also our struggle stopped for a time the megaproject of government to build the San Cristóbal – Palenque highway. What are we looking for? Our goal is to organize and encourage the indigenous peoples of the area to build our autonomy as indigenous peoples and thus defend our Mother Earth; we want good living from our culture and that is why we say NO to everything that damages the lives of our children and our communities, NO to bad government and NO to the megaprojects that want to take away our territory.”

They declared: “We walk to unite with one voice, to give voice to the earth that calls for respect and protection, which demands from all an attitude of care and gratitude. This pilgrimage has been a moment of grace for us, because we have been able to converse, reflect and dream as one people.” They emphasized that as indigenous peoples they feel that their community belonging to Mother Earth “is our spirituality, so we believe that not only do we have to denounce the destruction of our territory by the ambition of extractivists, but we must take care of it. That is why strengthening our community roots is the way to take care of our common home.” In Oxchuc, a community torn by post-electoral conflict, the pilgrims also spoke of their right as indigenous peoples to govern themselves.

In one of the communiqués published during these days, MODEVITE announced that it will join the proposal of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) to consult its communities on the appointment of an independent indigenous candidate for the next elections: “A change is needed among us and that is why we join the proposal of the National Indigenous Congress to consult our communities about the decision to participate in the next national elections with an independent indigenous candidate. We share the same objective, we believe that it is necessary to strengthen the voice of our indigenous peoples on the political agenda and that is why we want to take this initiative to our communities and municipalities.”

When they entered San Cristobal de Las Casas on November 25, they met with the women’s organizations that were taking part in the International Day against Violence against Women and arrived together to the center of the city: “Today, for example, being International Day against Violence against Women, we remember that women continue to be victims of sexism, alcoholism and the assistance-based government programs. The women  of MODEVITE claim the right to exercise our self-determination as indigenous women to care for Mother Earth and the life of our communities.”

For more information in Spanish:

“Signos de muerte” en territorios indígenas de Chiapas, (Proceso, 25 de noviembre de 2016)

Es tiempo de manifestar nuestras inquietudes, no permitamos que las piedras empezar a gritar, por eso el pueblo de dios está presente ante esta mega peregrinación (Las Abejas de Acteal, 25 de noviembre de 2016)

Se suma MODEVITE a la consulta convocada por el CNI para buscar candidata mujer indígena independiente, Chiapasparalelo, 25 de noviembre de 2016

Movimiento Indígena de Chiapas consultara plan de candidata presidencial, El Universal, 25 de noviembre de 2016

Defender los ejidos, fuerza organizativa de los territorios: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Candelaria, 24 de noviembre de 2016)

En contra de este sistema económico de despojo: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Huixtán, 23 de noviembre de 2016)

No queremos autopistas ni proyectos capitalistas: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Tenejapa, 22 de noviembre de 2016)

Claman indígenas por desterrar a los partidos políticos y formar autogobiernos en Chiapas (Revista Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Por la autonomía y resistencia de nuestros pueblos originarios: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Cancúc, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Tenemos el derecho como pueblos indígenas de autogobernarnos: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Oxchuc, 20 de noviembre de 2016)

Modevite cumple 7 días de peregrinación por Chiapas, (La Jornada, 20 de noviembre de 2016)

En respeto a la tierra, el territorio, la autonomía y nuestra cultura: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Ocosingo, 19 de noviembre de 2016)

El agua es un derecho, no una mercancia: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Chilón, 18 de noviembre de 2016)

Exigimos la cancelación de concesiones mineras y proyectos hidroeléctricos: Pueblo Creyente en megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Yajalón, 17 de noviembre de 2016)

Nos comprometemos a defender la Madre Tierra: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Tumbalá, 16 de noviembre de 2016)

Indígenas de Chiapas inician peregrinación de 12 días contra megaproyectos, Proceso, 15 de noviembre de 2015

Queremos la buena vida para nuestras comunidades originarias: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Salto de Agua, 14 de noviembre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Día Internacional de Lucha Contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres (28/11/2016)

 

 


Mexico/Guatemala: International Human Rights Observation Mission on Guatemala-Mexico Border

December 1, 2016

gm1“72” Refuge for Migrant Persons, Tenosique, Mexico. Photo@SIPAZ

An International Human Rights Observation Mission on the Guatemala-Mexico Border (MODH in its Spanish acronym) was held from November 10 to 16 to document and highlight the situation of systematic violations of human rights in the border region between Guatemala and Mexico.

The MODH was made up of 24 human rights defenders from countries such as Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, the United States and Canada, and more than 30 who accompanied them belonging to the member organizations of the Cross-border Migration and Gender Coordination Committee (MTMG in its Spanish acronym) on both the Mexican and Guatemalan sides [of the border].

The MODH divided along two routes, both beginning their journey in the City of Guatemala.

– Route one passed through: Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, La Mesilla and on the Mexican side to Comalapa Border, Tapachula, Suchiate, Acacoyagua, Mapastepec, Tonala and Arriaga.

– Route two passed through: Coban, Sayaxche, Santa Elena and on the Mexican side, Tenosique, Palenque, Salto de Agua and Ocosingo.

They travelled in vehicles to a total of 30 locations and 2,211 kilometers of the cross-border region. Both routes met on November 15 in San Cristobal de Las Casas where they shared their experiences and observations.

GM2.jpgPhoto@SIPAZ

The observers had the opportunity to listen to problems of more than 70 organizations and collectives as well as different ways of combating them. They interviewed approximately 1,600 people affected by dispossession, violence against migrants and refugees, and gender-based violence, including members of the Mam, Quiche, Q’anjobal, Kakchiquel, Tseltal, Tsotsil, Tojolabal, Zoque, Chol and mestizos. The MODH visited places that are directly affected by this violence, and were able to verify and document not only constant situations of injustice but also that, in spite of this, people are still fighting for life and dignity.

Among the observations of the MODH, are:

– Since 2012, the number of Central American people who are arriving at the Guatemala/Mexico border has seen a steady increase.

– The number of women migrants has risen, accounting for almost 20% of the migration phenomenon.

– Although migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are the majority, people from other countries, such as the Congo, are now being registered.

– As a consequence of the implementation of energy, mining, agro-industrial, tourism and infrastructure projects, an accelerated dispossession of territory is happening, due to forced displacement, alteration of ecosystems, pollution of agricultural soils and water sources, as well as damage to health, divisions and impacts on the livelihoods of campesino and indigenous communities.

– There is “a common pattern of criminalization, persecution and repression of migrant women and human rights and territory defenders that can lead to loss of liberty and even murder.”

– Even the MODH was watched and harassed in some places by security and intelligence agents in both countries.

– In general, a lack of access to justice for those affected and the prevalence of impunity in the case of those who dare to report can be seen.

– The testimonies revealed a deep crisis of human rights violations with multiple cases of threats, criminality, trafficking, disappearance, kidnapping, robbery, assault, torture, mass murder, rape and sexual abuse, femicide, and corruption, among others.

GM3.jpgNovember 16: The MODH presents its findings in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, where it also met with the “Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants.”

The MODH warned: “In most cases of human rights violations heard by the Mission, a direct responsibility of public authorities is identified, in collusion with organized crime and national and transnational corporations, which act through co-optation and corruption of the justice system, supported by the presence of private security companies and groups of armed civilians.”

For more information in Spanish:

Denuncian persecución a migrantes, mujeres y defensores en frontera sur (Desinformémonos, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Patrón en la frontera sur, criminalización y persecución a mujeres, migrantes y defensores (Proceso, 17 de noviembre de 2016)

Comunicado final de la MODH (Voces mesoamericanas, a 16 de noviembre de 2016)

Plan Frontera Sur potencia deportaciones, acusan ONG (La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2016)

Inicia Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala-México (MODH) (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de derechos Humanos, Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas, a 10 de noviembre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional/Internacional: anuncian Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la frontera Guatemala-México (4 de noviembre de 2016)