International/National/Chiapas: Director of Internal Displacement Monitoring Center Highlights Problem in Mexico

July 31, 2019

DisplacementCamp for displaced persons from Colonia Puebla in SCLC @AlexandraBilak

On July 24th, Alexandra Bilak, director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC in its Spanish acronym), visited displaced people from Puebla ejido in the municipality of Chenalho.

The IDMC is an internationally recognized organization that publishes figures and analysis on internal forced displacement (FID). This organization visited the camp where FID victims are currently living in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

Excelsior newspaper reported that during her visit Bilak “heard testimonies of women and men who are going through this process, as part of a global report. She also noted the conditions in which these families are, in order to know the methodology with which they are cared for and to support the states that are engaged in the matter.”

On the visit, Bilak highlighted that it is a great injustice that they have been displaced for three years “with limited services and under constant threat of new violence.”

During her visit to Mexico, she also met with the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB in its Spanish acronym), the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR in its Spanish acronym), the United Nations and other international organizations. She stressed that a first step to address internal displacement in Mexico is to have reliable figures on the phenomenon, which currently do not exist. Without these figures, Bilak pointed out that the magnitude of the problem is not known, nor how it affects children, or is related to sexual violence.

In addition, she drew attention to the lack of an official government authority to monitor internal displacement and attend to those affected. In her presentation, Bilak also posed challenges and advances on the adoption of a general law on the subject that could be based on the experience of other countries, and request the support of organizations for the elaboration of this.

The coordinator of COMAR, Andres Ramirez Silva, “stressed that the institution in charge, for example, serves foreigners who request shelter, but there is no institution that cares for the internally displaced in Mexico (…) emphasized that the general law in the matter, will have to create the budget and the structures that see to the phenomenon, as well as clarify the role that COMAR will play in the issue of internal displacement, since its operational capacity has been limited to foreign flows.”

For more information in Spanish:

“Crimen Desplazó en México a 380 mil personas” El Universal, 24 de julio de 2019.

Realiza IDMC informe de desplazados en Chiapas Excelsior, 25 de julio de 2019.

Urgen en México leyes y recursos para atender desplazamiento forzado Mi Punto de Vista, 23 de julio de 2019.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Interceptan hombres armados a integrantes del CDH Ku’untik y un desplazado del ejido Puebla. (June 24, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Piden CIDH y ONU crear ley para atender a víctimas de desplazamiento forzado (April 18, 2019)

National: Deputies Declare Forced Displacement a Crime (April 15, 2019)

Nacional/Chiapas: la Comisión de Pueblos Indígenas de la Cámara de diputados exhorta a diversas autoridades a resolver la problemática causada por el Desplazamiento Forzado Interno (February 19, 2019)

Chiapas: State Congress asks the government to address the issue of forced displacement; displaced people from Colonia Puebla return to San Cristóbal de Las Casas (October 30, 2018)

Chiapas: Nace la organización “Coordinadora de Personas Desplazadas del Estado de Chiapas” (July 25, 2018)

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International/National: #DefensoresSinMuros-DefendersBeyondWalls Campaign Calls for End to Attacks against Defenders of Migrants’ Rights

July 8, 2019

MigrantsPhoto @ El Heraldo

The National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT in its Spanish acronym), the Migration Issues Program (PRAMI in its Spanish acronym) of the Mexico City-Tijuana Ibero-American University and the international non-governmental organization Frontline Defenders launched the #DefensoresSinMuros – #DefendersBeyondWalls campaign. The new campaign aims to “highlight the valuable work of organizations, activists, groups and shelters, in the face of a report (August 2019) that documents and calls for an end to attacks against the defenders of migrants’ human rights along the migratory routes to the United States.”

“In the campaign, defenders who walked alongside the caravans, migrant homes, shelters and organizations that are on the road and carry out humanitarian work and defense of human rights are presented in a context in which criminalization is on the rise. The faces of the campaign are journalists and researchers who document the impacts with a gender approach of displacement and violence against migrants; humanitarian workers offering water and food to families traveling through the deadliest corridors of the Sonoran Desert; queer activists who create communities and physical spaces for undocumented queer and trans communities and attorneys who offer free legal assistance; among many other people who have fighting for a more just world with more solidarity for all in common.”

The new campaign began in the context of a hectic period on migration issues. Amnesty International (AI) reported that, “since 2018, the US government has carried out an illegal and discriminatory campaign of intimidation, threats, harassment and criminal investigations against people who defend the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers on the border between Mexico and the United States.”

In relation to the new policy adopted by the US government that specifically returns certain immigrants seeking asylum to Mexico, in recent days the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that “those seeking asylum from Central America, Cuba and Africa – including 4,780 children – face ‘potentially dangerous and unsustainable conditions’ after the US authorities send them back to Mexico.”

“While waiting for the US government to accept their asylum claims, migrants and activists who support them are exposed to harassment, intimidation, insecurity, exploitation and overcrowded conditions, warned the HRW organizations, Amnesty International (AI) and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym).”

The CNDH noted that in Mexico the recent modification of migration policies has generated a greater presence of immigration authorities and security forces in the northern and southern borders of the national territory, as well as the detention of people in the context of migration in different cities of our country. The fifth visitor of the National Commission of Human Rights, Edgar Corzo, said that, “for all the euphemisms to be found, the government detains migrants in centers (…) than what happens with migrants who are taken to the migratory centers, there is deprivation of liberty, where the minimum conditions of survival or a decent treatment are not guaranteed.”

The CNDH said that “it is necessary that organizations and activists receive the full and permanent support of the authorities of the three levels of government and of society as a whole; that it does not discredit or criminalize their work, since contexts that are not conducive to the defense of fundamental rights are generated, and that the intervention of the authorities in the migratory issue does not affect, for any reason, the work of people and organizations dedicated to the defense of people in the context of mobility.”

For more information in Spanish:

Campaña #DefendersBeyondWalls/#DefensoresSinMuros (Frontline Defenders, 3 de julio de 2019)

Amnistía, HRW y CNDH reclaman a gobierno de AMLO trato a migrantes (Expansión Política, 2 de julio de 2019)

CNDH acusa al gobierno de AMLO de privar de la libertad a migrantes (Milenio, 2 de julio de 2019)

Pide CNDH respaldo de gobiernos a defensores de migrantes (La Jornada, 29 de junio de 2019)

La CNDH acusa a la Comar de incumplir con la protección de 112 solicitantes de refugio entre 2017 y 2018 (Sin Embargo, 2 de juliode 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: New Government Measures Seek to Curb Flow of Migrants (July 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Migrants’ Human Rights Defenders, Irineo Mujica and Cristobal Sanchez, Released (June 17, 2019)

National/International: US-Mexico Migration Deal Halts Imposition of Tariffs (June 17, 2019)

National/International: Two Defenders of Migrant Human Rights Arrested (June 11, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Observation Mission Concludes “Southern Border Is Silent Torture” (June 9, 2019)


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)


Oaxaca/International: Oaxaca Consortium Presents Damian Gallardo Case to UN Committee against Torture (CAT)

May 26, 2019

CAT

On May 16th, the Oaxacan organization Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity filed a complaint with the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) within the framework of the 66th period of sessions of that body, for torture and serious violations of the guarantees of the defender of human rights, Damian Gallardo Martinez from his detention on May 18th, 2013 until his release on December 28th, 2018. It is worth noting that, since 2002, one of the powers of the CAT is to be able to hear individual complaints.

Consortium explained that by resorting to this mechanism “justice is sought not only in the individual case but to generate a precedent that transcends and ends with the criminalization of social protest and the use of torture in arbitrary arrests of defenders in Oaxaca.” It recalled that “Gallardo Martinez was arbitrarily detained on May 18th, 2013, within the framework of the criminalization of the teachers’ struggle and social protest, deployed during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto against opponents of the “educational reform””; and that “during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, at least 141 arbitrary detentions of defenders in Oaxaca have been documented.”

Consortium also emphasized that “in the case of the state of Oaxaca, there is not a single sentence for torture to date”; and that “at national level, sentences are also very rare.” It indicated that in the case of Gallardo Martinez, after six years of denouncing torture, “progress in the investigations is null and void”, which is why it “decided to seek justice at the international level by filing a complaint with the United Nations.”

The complaint asked the CAT to urge the Mexican State to prosecute, and punish with appropriate penalties all state agents and authorities responsible for violations of the Convention Against Torture as well as to fully compensate for the damage suffered, including “a public acknowledgment of responsibility that impacts on the cessation of the criminalization of social protest in Oaxaca”; among other demands.

For more information in Spanish:

Denuncia ONG a México ante la ONU (Vanguardia, 18 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncia al Estado mexicano por tortura (NVI Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)

Frente a impunidad en el país se denuncia ante la ONU a Estado Mexicano por Tortura en el caso de Damián Gallardo Martínez (Consorcio, 16 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca : Exigen atención para 33 personas defensoras de derechos humanos bajo procesos judiciales (3 de agosto de 2018)

Nacional/Oaxaca: German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico (April 10, 2017)

Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damian Gallardo (December 30, 2014)

Oaxaca: 16 months after the imprisonment of Damian Gallardo, and following call from the UN, there is no response from the Mexican State (October 12, 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Assault on teacher Damian Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco (June 13, 2014)


National/International: CAT Issues Recommendations on Torture in Mexico

May 22, 2019

Torture

On May 17th, the United Nations Organization Committee against Torture of (CAT) gave its opinion after the evaluation of the matter submitted by Mexico in April. It issued 98 recommendations that the Mexican government, through Foreign Affairs, undertook to analyze and work on: “Mexico will continue open to international scrutiny and will place special emphasis on the cooperation that the various agencies, agencies and countries have offered, to address to make effective the existing legal framework to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights in Mexico, as well as to perfect it, when required.” The Mexican authorities will have a year to present new developments regarding compliance.

The CAT considered that the practice of torture in Mexico “is very worrying” and urged the Mexican State to “pronounce itself unambiguously in favor of respecting the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and publicly announce that whoever commits acts of this nature, be complicit in them or tolerate them, will be personally responsible for such acts before the law, will be subject to criminal prosecution and appropriate sanctions.”

It pointed out “the serious shortcomings of the investigation of acts of torture and ill-treatment in Mexico, as well as the persistence of high levels of impunity associated with this type of crime.” It also regretted that detention in custody of suspects is maintained in the legal system, although the existence of a constitutional reform project is taken into account, which, if approved, would suppose its elimination.

The CAT asked Mexico to guarantee the civilian command of the National Guard in order to “preserve its independence” and “ensure that the tasks of maintaining public order are in charge, to the greatest extent possible, of civil and non-military authorities.“On the other hand, the lack of clarity about the applicable regulations regarding the use of force and in relation to the identification of members of the security forces and their vehicles is also a matter of concern,” it stressed.

It was concerned by reports that “the use of torture to obtain confessions is common and that confessions obtained through torture are used against the accused as evidence of guilt before the courts.”

The CAT urged the implementation of “effective measures” to ensure that detainees enjoy in practice all fundamental safeguards from the start of their detention in accordance with international standards, in particular: the right to be assisted without delay by a lawyer and to receive free legal assistance in case of need, among other concerns.

For more information in Spanish:

“Muy preocupante”, práctica de tortura en México: Comité de ONU (La Jornada, 17 de mayo de 2019)

La ONU cuestiona designación de militar en retiro al mando de la GN (Proceso, 17 de mayo de 2019)

Urge ONU a México a prohibir la tortura y contar con un registro de detenciones (SDP Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)

Emite ONU 98 recomendaciones a México ante preocupación por práctica de tortura (MVS Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International: “Group of Litigants against Torture in Latin America” Formed (May 7, 2019)

Internacional/Nacional:
El gobierno Mexicano niega que la tortura sea generalizada; sus
respuestas decepcionan a ONG (April 28, 2019)

Internacional: Grupo de ONGs presenta “Informe Alternativo de las Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil de México” sobre la tortura (April 24th, 2019)

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

National/International: Mexico Accepts 262 of 264 UN Recommendations from 2018 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) (March 21, 2019)