Guerrero: Maria Luisa Ortiz Arenas from State Network of Feminist Activists Murdered

March 27, 2018

Maria.pngMaria Luisa Ortiz Arenas (@Twitter)

On March 6th, Maria Luisa Ortiz Arenas, 42, member of the State Network of Feminist Activists, was found murdered, in the community of Mezcaltepec, municipality of Taxco, Guerrero. She had been reported missing by her relatives since March 2nd, the date on which she was to travel from Chilpancingo to Taxco, where she was originally from.

The Guerrero Coordination Group (GCG) reported that the State Attorney General’s Office will investigate her death under the femicide protocol and that “a specialized team will focus on clarifying the incident.”

Feminists like Maria Luisa Garfias Marin and Marina Reyna Aguilar demanded justice and that the authorities investigate the act as femicide. The state has registered at least 40 femicides in this year, but the investigation protocol has not been followed up on, coupled with persistent impunity.

On March 8th, within the framework of International Women’s Day, the forum “Tribunal for Women’s Rights: The Shining Faces of Justice” took place in Chilpancingo. Abel Barrera Hernandez, director of the Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, organizer of the forum, condemned the murder of Maria Luisa Ortiz said that “we cannot be so optimistic and ring out the bells, we have to keep raising our voices, standing up to the perpetrators and demanding that the authorities do their job.”

For more information in Spanish:

Los rostros luminosos de la justicia (Tlachinollan, Bajo Palabra, 6 de marzo de 2018)

Asesinan en Guerrero a la activista María Luisa Ortiz; CNDH alerta sobre el incremento de feminicidios (Animal Político, 6 de marzo de 2018)

Localizan cuerpo de activista en Guerrero (La Jornada, 6 de marzo de 2018)

Asesinan en Taxco a activista por los derechos dela mujer María Luisa Ortiz; estaba desaparecida (El Sur, 6 de marzo de 2018)

Matan a la luchadora social María Luisa Ortiz Arenas (La Jornada, 7 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: feminicidios a la alza en 2017 (11 de enero de 2018)

Guerrero : emiten Alerta de Género en 8 municipios del estado (24 de junio de 2017)

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National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders

March 26, 2018

CEMDAPress conference for CEMDA 2017 report (@CEMDA)

On March 5th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA in its Spanish a acronym) publicly presented its “Annual Report on the Situation of Defenders of Environmental Human Rights in Mexico, 2017”. In it, it denounced the increase in attacks and the “absence to date of an integral and effective preventive protection on the part of the Mexican State, which has been indicated as the main generator of the attacks against the defenders” (with 36% of the attacks). The same organization reported that from 2010 to 2017, there have been 391 cases of assaults.

The report documents that in the period from July 2016 to December 2017, there were 88 cases of attacks against human rights defenders in Mexico. It highlights the increase in the number of homicides that in this period reached 29, in comparison with the previous period, where only one murder was recorded. The state that continues with the highest numbers of attacks is the State of Mexico followed by Oaxaca, Puebla, Chiapas and Sonora. The projects or activities most frequently related to the attacks are the dispossession of land/territory and mining, both with 17 cases. Next are infrastructure projects (14 cases), hydroelectric projects (eight cases); those of public works and/or public policies in water administration (seven cases); real estate projects (five cases); renewable energy (four cases); sowing of GMOs (four cases) and illegal logging (three cases).

The Cemda Report concludes that “the situation of risk and threat to environmental defenders in Mexico continues to be increasingly worrying and the Mexican State is not taking the necessary, forceful, or relevant actions to generate a comprehensive policy of protection for defenders, as the capabilities of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (Mechanism) of the Ministry of the Interior are limited and do not solve the underlying problem that causes social conflict and risk.”

The following recommendations are found in the report:

“a) Align and harmonize the legal framework, as well as the public policies of the agricultural, environmental, water and indigenous peoples sectors, with a focus on human rights and the pluricultural State;

b) Implement the gender perspective in environmental legislation and public policies;

c) Guarantee timely compliance with the right to free, prior and informed consent of the peoples and communities and indigenous people;

d) Suspend development projects when there is evidence of attacks and aggressions against environmental defenders;

e) Carry out, on the part of the corresponding authorities, the social and environmental impact assessments in the first stages of the project to be able to know the level of risks and challenges existing in the region;

f) Strengthen the Mechanism, granting it, among other things, sufficient budget for its operation and;

g) Guarantee the right to full reparation of damages.”

For more information in Spanish:

Boletín de prensa en el marco de la presentación del informe (CEMDA, 5 de marzo de 2018)

Informe anual sobre la situación de personas defensoras de los derechos humanos ambientales en México, documento completo (CEMDA, marzo de 2018)

Suman 29 activistas ambientales asesinados en México: informe (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2018)

El Cemda registra 342 ataques contra defensores del medio ambiente en el sexenio de Peña (Proceso, 5 de marzo de 2018)

29 asesinatos en año y medio: el riesgo de ser ecologista en México (El País, 6 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Internacional/Nacional: alertan nacional e internacionalmente sobre el aumento de agresiones a personas defensoras de la tierra, el territorio y el medio ambiente. (8 de diciembre de 2014)


International: Solidarity with Organizations that Fight for and Defend Territories and Natural Resources in Latin America

March 25, 2018

SolidarityPhoto; Encounter of international accompaniment and observation organizations, Bogota 2017

The International Network of Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation, formed by some 14 organizations, met in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for their annual meeting and published the following statement:

Two years after the murder of human rights defender Berta Isabel Caceres Flores, Lenca indigenous leader, general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH in its Spanish acronym), the organizations of the International Network of Organizations of International Follow-up and Observation welcome the capture of one of the alleged masterminds on March 3rd of this year. However, we express our concern about the lack of progress in the investigations into the case, since to date no conviction has been issued, as expressed by family members and social organizations in Honduras [1].

The organizations that make up the International Network of Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation accompany defenders, communities and organizations in their work to defend territory and the environment in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. From our work of accompaniment, we observe that those who defend nature and natural commons are among the groups that face the most risks for their work. Recently, the international organization Global Witness recorded that in 2017 alone, 197 people working around this issue have been killed [2]. We also highlight the high and differentiated risks to which women defenders are exposed. In addition, the high rate of impunity in cases of assault on defenders in these countries is worrisome [3].

Like other international organizations [4], the subscribed organizations observe that those who defend territory and the environment face de-legitimization, discredit, stigmatization and criminalization processes, which affect the personal, organizational, family and community [level], and generate an adverse context for the defense of the right to territory and the environment.

The work of the defenders of the land and territory is fundamental for the guarantee of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights as a means to have a decent life. The organizations of the Network consider it key that the international community publicly recognize their important work. Likewise, that it guarantees the integral monitoring of the bodies that investigate the cases of attacks to defenders, with the objective of achieving justice and reparation for the victims and their families.

Finally, we consider it important for the international community to put all the will and resources at its disposal to create a safe environment for those who defend the right to territory and natural resources, promoting their valuable work, dismantling stereotypes and stigmatization and rejecting criminalization processes that harm and endanger their lives and work in favor of society.

[1]“Defensoras de la Madre Tierra a dos años de asesinato de Berta Cáceres exigen avances en la investigación”, Criterio, 2 de marzo de 2018. Disponible en: https://criterio.hn/2018/03/02/defensoras-la-madre-tierra-dos-anos-asesinato-berta-caceres-exigen-avances-la-investigacion/

[2]Global Witness/The Guardian. Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017. 2 de febrero de 2018 Disponible en: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/nueva-informaci%C3%B3n-revela-que-197-personas-defensoras-de-la-tierra-y-el-medio-ambiente-han-sido-asesinadas-en-2017/

[3]FrontLineDefenders. Informe Anual sobre defensores/as de derechos humanos en riesgo 2017. 22 de enero de 2018.

[4]CIDH. Criminalización de defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos (OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 49/15). 31 de diciembre de 2015.

Para más información: 

El caso por el homicidio de Berta Cáceres suma un detenido más; activistas acusan que no es suficiente, The New York Times, 5 de marzo de 2018

Advierten que Honduras busca cerrar investigación sobre el crimen de Berta Cáceres, Proceso, 5 de marzo de 2018

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: La caravana por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia llegó a San Cristóbal de las Casas,  8 de abril de 2016

Justicia para Berta Cáceres y Nelson Noé García. Protección para Gustavo Castro Soto (29 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Internacional: Asesinan a defensora hondureña (Berta Cáceres) en presencia de defensor mexicano (Gustavo Castro) (7 de marzo de 2016)


Guerrero: Attorney General to Try to Close Ayotzinapa Case by December

March 25, 2018

AyotziPhoto @ poesía a mano alzada

On March 2nd in Bogota, Colombia, Alfredo Higuera Bernal, Special Prosecutor for the Iguala Case of the Attorney General PGR in its Spanish acronym, announced during a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that the PGR had obtained new information on the kidnapping case and the alleged murder of 43 students from Ayotzinapa.

Mexico News Daily reported that the new information obtained includes evidence of motives and allows charges to be brought against 30 people, including municipal police. Special Prosecutor Higuera said that “criminal action may be taken against them” for kidnapping, but did not offer more details. He hoped to have conclusions before the end of the year.

According to Proceso, Mexican human rights organizations have already sent to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, a file on the Ayotzinapa case that includes the reports of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) on the facts and the evidence that it was a coordinated operation involving criminals and different authorities.

The director of the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, Mario Patron, who was present at the hearing on March 2nd, said, “that it is now appropriate to provide Bensouda with information that proves that the crime against the 43 student teachers is part of a systematic and widespread situation in Mexico: the forced disappearance of people.” After that it is the ICC who will decide who is being investigated, and eventually, if the complaint is successful, which Mexican officials will be charged with criminal charges.

“What we are looking for is for the Ayotzinapa case to be valued among all of the more than 30,000 people who have disappeared in Mexico in the last six years. And what we propose is that Ayotzinapa is a clear example of this phenomenon of macro-criminality in which there is a clear link between organized crime and public power, which becomes one and the same”, Mario Patron said.

For more information in Spanish:

Meade, Peña, Ayotzinapa y el acecho de la Corte Penal Internacional (Proceso, 5 de marzo de 2018)

PGR prepara 30 detenciones por el caso Ayotzinapa (Publi Metro, 3 de marzo de 2018)

Ayotzinapa arrests are imminent: prosecutor (México News Daily, 3 de marzo de 2018)

Mexico ‘Ready to Make Arrests’ in Case of Missing 43 Students (TeleSur TV, 2 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero / México – Nacional: Ayotzinapa: Caravana Rompiendo el Silencio y el Olvido (3 de marzo de 2018)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa: Fallece Minerva Bello sin haber obtenido justicia para su hijo desaparecido (8 de febrero de 2018)

Guerrero : Caso Ayotzinapa: reunión con el Consejo de la Judicatura Federal y 5ta visita oficial del Mecanismo de Seguimiento de la CIDH (8 de febrero de 2018)

Guerrero / Nacional-México: Ayotzinapa a 40 meses de la desaparición de los 43 sigue la “indolencia” del gobierno (30 de enero de 2018)

Guerrero: caso Ayotzinapa: se exige la entrega de vídeos del Palacio de Justicia de Iguala para conocer lo ocurrido (19 de enero de 2018)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa, tercera audiencia de oficio en la CIDH: “el gobierno federal no quiere resolver el caso” (26 de octubre de 2017)

Guerrero/Nacional : A tres años de Ayotzinapa (2 de octubre de 2017)

Guerrero: tercera visita del mecanismo de seguimiento de la CIDH sobre le caso Ayotzinapa a casi tres años de los hechos (7 de septiembre)

Guerrero: Sesión de seguimiento de la CIDH del caso Ayotzinapa : avances nulos (10 de julio de 2017)

Guerrero/ Nacional: Madres y padres de los 43 consideran no acudir a la reunión con la PGR y la CIDH (20 de abril de 2017)


Chiapas: No Progress in the Investigation of the “Extrajudicial Killing” of the Minor Humberto Morales Santiz

March 25, 2018

HumbertoPhoto @ FNLS

On February 26th, two days before the anniversary of the murder of the minor Humberto Morales Santiz, a forensic report on the minor was delivered by members of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF in its Spanish acronym) to the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office.

REgarding the report, the Cerezo Committee and the National Front for the Fight for Socialism (FNLS in its Spanish a acronym) reported that “the results of the EAAF are conclusive in the sense that the death of Humberto Morales was due to the fact that he was shot in the head at close range, for which we ratify that his death must be classified as an extrajudicial execution.”

They also denounced that “there is no line of investigation and that in the investigation file there is not only inconsistency, omissions and contradictions but there is a marked intention on the part of the authorities not to investigate.”

According to La Jornada, the murder of Morales Santiz occurred in the context of the land dispute between members of the Organization Emiliano Zapata Organization (OCEZ in its Spanish acronym)-FNLS and the Los Petules group, which belongs to the Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (ORACO in its Spanish acronym).

For more information in Spanish:

Muerte de menor en Chiapas, “ejecución extrajudicial”: Comité Cerezo (La Jornada, 28 de febrero de 2018)

A un año de cometerse el crimen de Estado contra el compañero Humberto Morales Sántiz (FNLS, 28 de febrero de 2018)

México: A un año de la ejecución extrajudicial del menor Humberto Morales Sántiz del FNLS, no existe ninguna línea de investigación (Kaosenlared, 28 de febrero de 2018)

Acción Urgente – Ejecución Extrajudicial del niño Humberto Morales Sántiz de 13 años de edad, integrante del Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo en Chiapas. (Comité Cerezo, 4 de Marzo de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

FNLS reporta retraso a la Investigación forense del caso de menor asesinado en Ocosingo (3 de julio de 2017)

Chiapas: Jornada Nacional: “Las víctimas del terrorismo de Estado son del pueblo, no desistiremos ¡hasta encontrarlos!” (14 de marzo de 2017)

Chiapas: “Jornada nacional contra el terrorismo del estado en Chiapas” del FNLS (2 de mayo de 2016)


Guerrero/Mexico–National: Ayotzinapa: Breaking the Silence and Oblivion Caravan

March 25, 2018

Ayotzi

From February 15th to 23rd, the mothers and fathers of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa made the caravan “Breaking the Silence and Oblivion”. The caravan was divided along three routes: to the north of the country, in the center, and in the south. The purpose was to continue demanding the appearance alive of the disappeared students in Iguala and “denounce the atrocities committed by the Mexican State through disappearance, murders, the imprisonment of the dignified voices that come out to fight for better conditions and life”, lawyer Vidulfo Rosales said. The members of the caravan said that this tour also aimed to refresh the collective memory of the forced disappearance of the Guerrero students and reaffirm that they will not surrender until they find justice.

The parents demanded that the case of their children not be used for electoral opportunism, a few months before President Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office. They accused that at the height of the conflict, no presidential candidate spoke out in support of the students. “We are not going to let the case go unpunished, that the PGR [Attorney General] shelve it when Enrique Peña Nieto is about to leave the Presidency, they deserve to be in jail”, they warned.

On September 26th, 41 months after the events, a march was also held in Mexico City to denounce that the four lines of investigation proposed by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) have not been followed up on. “We have strength, faith and hope to find the truth and our children, and for that we must unite and not rest until we achieve it”, Cristina Bautista, mother of Benjamin, one of the missing students, said.

For more information in Spanish:

Ayotzinapa43 | De la Caravana de padres y madres en Nochixtlán (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 20 de febrero de 2018)

La esperanza y el dolor: “Rompiendo el silencio y el olvido” (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 20 de febrero de 2018)

No permitiremos carpetazo de la PGR a investigaciones, advierten padres de los 43 (La Jornada, de febrero de 2018)

“No permitiremos que Peña dé carpetazo antes de irse”, advierten padres de los 43 , (Proceso, 20 de febrero de 2018)

Padres de los 43 marchan a 41 meses de los hechos y previo a la audiencia en la CIDH (Proceso, 20 de febrero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa: Fallece Minerva Bello sin haber obtenido justicia para su hijo desaparecido (8 de febrero de 2018)

Guerrero / Nacional-México: Ayotzinapa a 40 meses de la desaparición de los 43 sigue la “indolencia” del gobierno (30 de enero de 2018)

Guerrero: caso Ayotzinapa: se exige la entrega de vídeos del Palacio de Justicia de Iguala para conocer lo ocurrido (19 de enero de 2018)


National: Amnesty International: Extreme Violence Increased Throughout Mexico

March 1, 2018

AmnestyPhoto @ DesdeAbajo

On February 22nd, Tania Reneaum, Executive Director of Amnesty International (AI), presented her annual report on Mexico and denounced that violence increased throughout the country during 2017. She mentioned that, in the last year of the presidency of President Enrique Peña Nieto, there were 42,583 homicides between January and November, a figure that according to the report could be higher, since some crimes are not reported to the police and not all cases led to official measures.

Amnesty International also indicated that the Mexican authorities failed to clarify the location of 34,656 people reported in the national registry of missing persons. It also lamented the problem of extrajudicial executions and that “the authorities did not publish the number of people killed or injured in clashes with the police and the military.”

Regarding the issue of migrants traveling to the United States, Amnesty expressed great concern, especially about their treatment during their journeys and the policies implemented by President Donald Trump.

The executive director stressed that “2017 has to be remembered as the year in which the Senate of the Republic and the President of the Republic ignored the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and from NGOs, to carefully review the Internal Security Law.”

Despite the serious human rights crisis, the organization also noted that there is “a growing movement of resistance, led by both new and experienced activists, which really allows us to hope to reverse the tendency to oppression and fear.”

For more information in Spanish:

América Latina en alerta por “altos niveles” de violencia: Amnistía Internacional (El Imparcial de Oaxaca, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Se agravó la violencia en México en 2017: Amnistía Internacional (Proceso, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Amnistía Internacional: 2017, año de nuevos récords de violencia en México (Noticieros Televisa, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Surge nueva ola de activismo en AL por crisis de derechos humanos: AI (El Economista, 22 de febrero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: feminicidios a la alza en 2017 (11 de enero de 2018)