National: Official Visit to Mexico of UNO Working Group on Business and Human Rights

September 26, 2016

ONU.jpgPavel Sulyandziga and Dante Pesce, United Nations Working Group, during the presentation of their preliminary report. Photo:@Jesús Villaseca.

From August 29 to September 7, two representatives of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights of the UN made an official visit to Mexico: Pavel Sulyandziga, a human rights defender of Russian origin, who currently serves as president of the Working Group, and Chilean Dante Pesce, who has a long history of working with civil organizations both nationally and internationally. The purpose of the visit was, first, to identify cases of damages to individuals, communities and the environment due to business activities. After, to promote respect for human rights on the part of any company implementing the three Guiding Principles of the United Nations on business and human rights. The first principle states that, “the State is responsible to respect, protect and enforce human rights.” The second defines that “companies must comply with the laws made by the state and respect human rights.” The third states that, “Those affected should have access to redress mechanisms.”

Prior to the arrival of the Working Group, more than 100 civil society organizations, groups, communities and academics prepared a report to give an overview of the situation at national level. This coalition documented 68 cases that show serious violations and abuses of human rights by the State and companies from different sectors, and a lack of access to remediation for victims. It shows that the most frequently violated rights are: to land and territory (32 cases), access to information (28 cases) and to a healthy environment (22 cases). The sectors where most abuses were documented were: mining (11 cases), hydrocarbons (9), energy (8), construction (8) and industrial agriculture (6). In addition, more than 50% of cases of intimidation and threats against opponents of business projects were documented.

During their ten-day visit, members of the Working Group went to Mexico City, the States of Mexico, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Sonora, where they held meetings with various actors: officials from the three levels of government; companies like Grupo Bimbo, Grupo Mexico, Cemex, Pemex and CFE; civil society organizations and human rights defenders. They also received 81 testimonies from individuals and representatives of communities affected by various business activities, lack of access to information and consultation and on behalf of victims of violations of labor rights, and victims of serious impact to their health and environment. In Oaxaca, they listened to indigenous communities in the municipalities of El Espinal and Juchitan de Zaragoza affected by wind farm projects, who claim that “the whole consultation process was considered defective, since windmills had already been installed in the region without any prior consultation.” In the State of Mexico, they visited the Otomi-Mexica indigenous community in San Francisco Xochicuautla, opposed to a compulsory purchase order issued in October 2012 without any prior consultation in order to build the Toluca-Naucalpan highway on their land. Despite obtaining a restraining order, the construction of the highway has continued with the approval of state and federal authorities. The representatives of the Working Group reported that the Grupo Higa, builders of the project, never responded to their request for an interview.

On September 7, members of the working group presented a preliminary report on the results of their visit at a press conference. At the conference, Pavel Sulyandziga said: “It became clear that the main concerns about human rights violations linked to business are related to improper exercise of due diligence by the government and companies in the design and implementation of large scale projects. These are mainly projects in the mining, energy, construction and tourism sectors, which often affect indigenous communities. “

Furthermore, the preliminary report addresses challenges regarding labor rights in the country to remedy “the precarious situation of workers hired temporarily, the lack of access to social security, low wages and a minimum wage which is currently below the level [of the cost of] the basic food basket and is not sufficient to allow workers to support themselves and their families”, and “the weak capacity of the labor inspectorate to effectively monitor compliance with labor standards. “

The final report will be submitted in June 2017, at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations Organization. Meanwhile, the Working Group calls on the Mexican Government to “advance transparency, consultation, due diligence and respect for people and the environment” and on companies to “maintain standards of human rights and avoid seeking profit from impunity, corruption and lack of transparency and accountability.” It concluded by saying that there is much to be done to improve the current crisis of human rights in Mexico: “greater efforts are needed to change public policies, practices, mentalities but also to foster a culture of transparency, integrity, ethical behavior and democratic values.”

 Para más información:


http://www.proceso.com.mx/452190/onu-verificara-respeto-a-derechos-humanos-en-empresas-gobiernos-mexico ( Proceso, a 24 de agosto de 2016)
Visita a México del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Empresas y DDHH: Puntos desde la Sociedad Civil (Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA), a 29 de agosto de 2016)

12 claves sobre la investigación de la ONU a empresas y los derechos laborales en México (Animal político, a 8 de septiembre 2016)
Boletín: El Estado mexicano debe cumplir las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos ( Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, a 08 de septiembre 2016)

Deberá acatar México recomendaciones de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos: ONGs (Aristegui Noticias, a 08 de septiembre 2016)

Declaración del Grupo de trabajo de Naciones Unidas sobre empresas y derechos humanos al final de su visita a México Ciudad de México, 7 de septiembre de 2016 ( Oficina del Alto Comisionada de las Naciones Unidad Derechos Humanos, a 09 de septiembre de 2016)

Concluye visita de grupo de trabajo de la ONU en México ( La Jornada, a 17 de septiembre 2016)

Para más información de Sipaz:

Nacional: Irrupciones en territorios indígenas para la implementación de megaproyectos: San Francisco Xochicuautla y Atenco (4 de abril de 2016)

Nacional: Xochicuautla obtiene cancelación de la autopista (17 de marzo de 2016)

Oaxaca: Indígenas zapotecos se amparan por violaciones graves al derecho a la consulta (21 de agosto de 2015)

 


Chiapas: Tila Ejido Reports Violent Murder of Two Youths in its Territory, Intended to Destabilize its Assertion of Autonomy

September 14, 2016

Tila.pngProtest in Tila (@ Ejido Tila)

In a statement released on September 7, and the ejidatarios of Tila, reported that two brothers (a man aged 20, and a woman aged 19), originally from Tiontiepa Benito Juarez ejido, but whose grandparents are originally from Tila ejido, were attacked with machetes and the young woman raped on August 27.

They suggested that the relatives of the deceased said they did not want the intervention of government authorities “because they never investigate and everything remains unpunished, even more so if you do not have money, because in the courts justice is bought and so they ask that  the autonomous ejido do its work.”

Following this, the assembly of Tila ejido decided to investigate, stating that, “we have reported for many years that during the term of office of the municipal council gang members, drug use, drug dealing, alcoholism increased and they have left all this trouble and the ejido now has to clean up all this trash they left behind.”

At the same time, they warned that a small group of people related to official government tries to exploit such cases to destabilize the process of building autonomy, “They are a tiny group of people who want to impose their way of life in Tila ejido who have lived off the government, from dispossession and exploitation of our people and they are racists who are responsible for misinforming and criticizing our ejido autonomy, but despite this we will continue to advance because no one can stop us.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado sobre el asesinato violento de dos jovenes en territorio ejidal (Ejido Tila, 7 de septiembre de 2016)

Advierten ejidatarios de Tila de intentos de desestabilizar su autonomía (Somosmás99, septiembre de 2016)

Denuncian intento de Grupo institucional de Abrir COBACH 14 en Tila (Reporte Ciudadano, 8 de septiembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Chiapas: Incursión de la Marina en territorio del ejido Tila (4 de agosto de 2016)

Chiapas: Denuncia ejido Tila agresión a uno de sus ejidatarios (10 de junio de 2016)

Chiapas: Organizaciones alertan por posible represión en el ejido Tila (24 de febrero de 2016)

Chiapas: Indígenas Ch´oles toman la alcaldía de Tila tras décadas de no haber sido atendid@s (17 de diciembre de 2016)

 


National: Report Launch “Defending Human Rights in Mexico: Normalization of Political Repression”

September 6, 2016

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On August 24 last, the Mexico Cerezo Committee, the organization Urgent Action for Human Rights Defenders and the National Campaign Against Forced Disappearance presented the report Defending Human Rights in Mexico: Normalization of Political Repression, which covers the period from June 2015 to May 2016. The report indicates that 87 violations of the human rights of defenders which occurred in 2011, increased to 118 in 2012, 160 in 2013, 225 in 2014 and 302 in 2015. Another 35 were documented so far this year.

For the first time, the number of physical assaults surpassed that of threats and harassment of activists and human rights defenders, and also that Guerrero, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacan and Veracruz account for half of these abuses (293 attacks on activists of a total of 482). The fifth report included 41 death threats, three forced disappearances, 186 physical assaults, 55 evictions, nine cases where shots were fired and an equal number of damage to or theft of property.

The document notes that most of the violations are related to the promotion of various mega-projects, where activists and advocates accompany social movements fighting for their territory, water, forests and natural resources.

Commenting on the report, Jesus Peña Palacios, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, underlined the obligation of the government and its authorities to ensure the work of human rights defenders. Father Miguel Concha stated that “there is always a political intention to commit these violations.” Fernando Rios, Rights for All Network, denounced for his part the existence of a state policy characterized by insults, harassment and attacks against domestic and foreign defenders, as in the case of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) in the Ayotzinapa case.

 For more information in Spanish:

CONSULTA 5° Informe VDH: Defender los derechos humanos en México:- La normalización de la represión política (Junio de 2015 a mayo de 2016). (Comité Cerezo, agosto de 2016)

Concentran cinco entidades casos de agresión contra activistas: ONG (Revista Proceso, 24 de agosto de 2016)

Superan ya las agresiones físicas a las amenazas contra activistas (La Jornada Maya, 25 de agosto de 2016)

Aumentan ataques a defensores de DH debido a protestas contra reformas estructurales y caso Ayotzinapa: Comité Cerezo (Revolución 3.0, 25 de agosto de 2016)

Normalización de la represión política (La Jornada, 27 de agosto de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Nacional/Guerrero: Informes poco favorables sobre corrupción y derechos humanos en México (3 de febrero de 2016)


National/International: First Official Visit of the UNO Working Group on Companies and Human Rights

September 6, 2016

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From August 29 to September 7, the United Nations Working Group on companies and human rights will make its first official visit to Mexico with the purpose of observing that the Mexican government and companies fulfill their obligations on the question of human rights. The group will meet with government officials, companies, human rights defenders, as well as representatives of indigenous peoples and communities in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Sonora.

On the occasion of this visit, more than 100 organizations, movements and civil society networks published a report that outlines the major violations of human rights by businesses. The report covers the involvement of 99 companies: 41 domestic, 50 foreign, and eight public. It highlights that in more than half of the cases there was some kind of intimidation or attacks against human rights defenders and notes that the most frequent violations were of the right to land and territory; the right of access to information; to a healthy environment; negative effects on health and lack of compliance with indigenous rights. The collective of organizations reported that progress of the UN Guiding Principles is impeded due to state complicity with business interests over the protection of the public interest; structural reforms that weaken the protection of human rights, such as energy reform; lack of prior consultation and of prior, free, informed, culturally appropriate agreements made in good faith, among others.

It is worth recalling that the UN established this Working Group in 2011, after unanimously approving the “Guidelines on Companies and Human Rights”, which oblige states to protect their citizens “from abuses of human rights in their territories, including from companies.” These state that governments should “take the necessary steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress” abuses by companies and legislate for them to respect human rights in their operations. This guide also urges companies – “irrespective of their size, sector, operational context, owners or structure” – not to “contribute to negative impacts on human rights through their activities” and identify in advance the effects on the human rights that they could generate.

At the end of their mission, experts will hold a press conference to share the preliminary observations of their visit, which will later serve as the basis for a published report.

For more information in Spanish:

Grupo de Trabajo de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos visitará México (Boletín oficial de la ONU, 24 de agosto de 2016)

ONU verificará respeto a derechos humanos en empresas y gobiernos de México (Revista Proceso, 24 de agosto de 2016)

Verificarán expertos de la ONU que empresas eólicas o mineras no violen DH en Oaxaca (Página3.mx, 24 de agosto de 2016)

BOLETÍN E INFORME: Pide sociedad civil a la ONU documentar violaciones a derechos humanos por parte de empresas (ProDesc, 28 de agosto de 2016)

Empresas ¿versus? Derechos Humanos (Revista Proceso, 29 de agosto de 2016)


National/Oaxaca: World Day Against Opencast Mining

August 2, 2016

Mining.pngPoster for international day of struggle against mega-mining in defense of life and water. (Photo:@OtrosMundos)

In the framework of World Day Against Opencast Mining, which is commemorated on July 22, several events were held in different parts of the country. In Oaxaca, for example, groups in the isthmus region took part in the forum for “Strategies of Struggle for the Defense of Mother Earth and Territory” in the capital of Oaxaca. This event was part of the national campaign in defense of Mother Earth, which gives voice to the experience of hundreds of people preyed upon by mining projects in Mexico. Other collectives, the Lawyers and Defenders of Public Interest Collective, Common Borders and Greenpeace Mexico presented the manual “Protection of Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (PESCER) of Peoples and Communities Against Mining Megaprojects in Mexico” as a tool to address the abuses of mining projects throughout the country.

One day before, in the framework of resistance, communal and agricultural authorities, communities and organizations in Oaxaca and other Mexican states, met in Oaxaca to launch the State Rebellion Against Mining Day. They released a statement in which they expressed their “decision to fight together to stop these abuses and to affirm our own ways of living and governing ourselves.” They were worried “because these violations cause immense damage to Mother Earth and rip apart the social fabric of communities causing divisions and confrontations.”

In accordance with data published in El Universal in 2014, it is currently estimated that at state-level there is a concession of an area for 793,525 hectares for metal mining. As such, a fifth of Mexico has been given over to the mining sector. Marisa Jacott, Common Borders director, explained that “the massive destruction of natural resources caused by mining activities are manifold, such as air, water and soil pollution on a large scale; violent dispossession, repression and crime against forms of territorial defense and community organization; deteriorating health of local residents of mines; as well as the impact suffered by miners for working in high-risk conditions and the intensive use of dangerous materials and chemical substances.”

Due to this, the PESCER manual deals with the relationships and tensions caused by mining, and proposes that it is “from overexploitation, deterioration and allocation of natural resources that the Mexican State favors the profit of private and foreign interests over social [interests] and in this way breaks collective rights.” However, the manual proposes the use of legal and non-legal tools for communities to strengthen their struggle for the defense of their territory, heritage and health from the increase of predator mining in Mexico.

For more information in Spanish

Crean en Oaxaca Día contra la Minería y denuncian saqueo de transnacionales (26 de julio de 2016Ciudadanía Express, 26 de julio de 2016)

Concesiones mineras acaparan 47 mil hectáreas en el istmo (Istmo Press, 23 de julio de 2016)

En México 300 conflictos mineros vulneran derechos de los pueblos (Desinformémonos, 22 de julio de 2016)

Se concesionó a mineras 12.7% del territorio nacional, alerta Greenpeace (Diario contra poder en Chiapas, 21 de julio de 2016)

Presentan manual para la defensa de las comunidades frente a impactos de la minería en México (Greenpeace México, 21 de julio de 2016)

Manual de defensa de derechos económicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales de pueblos y comunidades frente a los megaproyectos mineros en México

Página de la campaña nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio

For more information from SIPAZ

Oaxaca: Se llevó a cabo Foro Regional “La minería en Oaxaca. Impactos sociales y ambientales” (29 de abril de 2016)

Oaxaca: Encuentro estatal de comunidades y organizaciones en resistencia a proyectos mineros (4 de febrero de 2016)

Nacional: Mitin ante Senado en el marco del Día mundial contra la minería toxica (25 de julio de 2013)


National: “Narco Violence” Has Displaced 281,000 People

July 25, 2016

Narco.pngViolence in the country has increased due to the presence of “narcos” (Photo:@Economia hoy)

According to research from the Center of Social Studies and Public Opinion (CESOP) of the Chamber of Deputies, the situation of generalized violence in which various zones of the country find themselves, has led to an increased number of people who have been forced to displace in the country. According to CESOP “the violence generated by drug cartels throughout the country” is one of the most recognized reasons people are forced to flee their lands. Despite discrepancies in the figures and not counting with official statistics, it is estimated that between 2011 and 2015 “281,418 people were forced to escape” from their homes. According to the results of the research, the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, among others, are the states with the highest number of displaced.

The “criminal organizations not only fight over drug trafficking routes now, but also aspire to control more and more territory in general.” According to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of the UNO, forced displacement happens when “persons or groups of persons have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as result of or to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural disasters or [those] caused by humans, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.” In most cases, the families have been displaced within Mexico. While internationally there are extensive regulations and a legal basis for the protection of displaced persons in the area of forced internal displacement, there are no equivalent legal instruments.

For this reason, and in order to continue adding to the analysis of this problem, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) published the “Special Report on Forced Internal Displacement (FID) in Mexico” in May of this year. It says that, “the Federal Government recognized that among the factors that most influenced the increase in violence, disputes in and between criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking stand out.” “However the importance of the protection of human rights and displaced persons stands out,” the research concludes. Having recognized that there is no global figure for internal displacement generated by the violence of the drug cartels, it warns that “the Mexican authorities have downplayed or ignored the problem” to date. The CESOP document stresses that as happens with the information included in reports of kidnapping of migrants, the Mexican State has discredited figures on internal displacement.

For more information in Spanish

Violencia del narco ha desplazado a 281 mil (Milenio, 18 de julio de 2016)

El gobierno minimiza el creciente problema de las personas desplazadas, afirma el Legislativo (La Jornada, 18 de julio de 2016)

Los desplazados del narco (Vanguardia, 15 de julio de 2016)

El Estado mexicano se contradice ante el desplazamiento interno forzado (Animal Político, 4 de julio de 2016)

Informe Especial sobre Desplazamiento Forzado Interno (DFI) en México (CNDH, 1 de mayo de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Nacional: CNDH lamenta más de 35 mil víctimas de desplazamiento forzado interno en el país (16 de mayo de 2016)


National: Head of Special Economic Zones Appointed

July 18, 2016

SEZMap of zones affected by SEZ. Photo: @EDUCA Oaxaca

On July 8, “while public attention was focused on the teachers’ problem and its political and social consequences, Enrique Peña Nieto openly confirmed the intention to privatize much of the ‘backward’ south on appointing Gerardo Gutierrez Candiani head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic zones (AFDZEE).” The new official presided over the Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) from 2009 to 2011 and the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) from 2012 to 2015. Julio Hernández López ffom La Jornada said that Gutierrez Candiani “ran a pre-campaign for the title citizen seeking Los Pinos [the presidency] and that the PRI made him candidate for governor of his native Oaxaca (which failed)”. He also said that “the handing over of the delicate project of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to a representative of businessmen means an open conflict of interest and a threat to the legitimate interest of the nation, especially if you take into account that the plan may make domestic and foreign businesses virtual executive authorities in certain regions, politically above state and municipal governments. “

Gustavo Castro de Otros Mundos, Chiapas, explains in an interview the owrkings of the so-called of SEZ, which are “like a country within a country, breaking and crumbling national sovereignty”. The purpose of the SEZ, according to Castro, is “to ensure the transnational of everything they need for extraction, for example, from Mexico, a special visa will be required to enter the SEZ, they will have their own structure, their own laws, their own autonomy.”

For more information in Spanish:

Privatizar el sur: Nombran a Gutierrez Candiani titular de Zonas Económicas Especiales (EDUCA, 11 de julio de 2016)

Astillero (La Jornada, 11 de julio de 2016)

Gutiérrez Candiani liderará Zonas Económicas Especiales (El financiero, 8 de julio de 2016)

Zonas Económicas Especiales resquebrajan soberanía: Gustavo Castro (Educa, 1 de julio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: El Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)