National/International: CNI Groups Organize as USMCA Comes into Effect

July 4, 2020


At the end of June, before the imminent entry into effect of the new free trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA), the Metropolitan Anticapitalist and Antipatriarchal Coordination and the Indigenous Council of Government (CIG) of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) called for a series of protest activities that will include: a virtual march “Against USMCA! No to the New Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico!”, On July 1st; a virtual Forum “Analysis and Perspectives: a Comparative Framework of NAFTA-1994 and its Contributions to Social Inequalities”, on July 16th; and a public presentation of the legal resources presented before national and international bodies against megaprojects, on July 30th and 31st.

On July 1st, the day the new trade agreement came into force, the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), also part of the CNI, published a statement denouncing that this type of agreements “cement the legal frameworks to use force by law in the imposition of megaprojects in Mexico, as well as a whole series of policies, laws and reforms that violate the human rights of indigenous peoples and the Mexican people.”

It declared that the wave of violence that plagues the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is “linked to the imposition of megaprojects and extractivist policies of the Mexican government”, in particular the Trans-Systemic/Interoceanic Corridor-Train, “a historic project that since the mid-19th century has been proposing using the geostrategic position of the Mexican Isthmus as a commercial node for global trade, this as part of the expansionist project of the US, which, by not achieving its objective in Mexico, gained control over the Panama Canal, a project that is currently obsolete compared to the demand from this rampant global market.”

It warned about the fact that “the Mexican Isthmus is seen as the primary node in these treaties, and with the discourse of emerging from the economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, national and international pressure is created in our region by capital to streamline the works and construction of this Trans-Systemic/Interoceanic Corridor-Train from the port of Coatzacoalco, Veracruz to the port of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, interconnected with Section 1 of the Maya Train, passing through the new Dos Bocas refinery and extending from Salina Cruz to Tapachula, Chiapas, to consolidate an energy, rail, port and industrial corridor, militarizing and reordering the entire south-southeast of Mexico and placing the new border with the US on the Tehuantepec Isthmus.”

Given this, the APIIDTT made a “call to organization, to resistance and to fight for the life and future of coming generations. The Isthmus is Ours, not the companies, nor the governments, it is of the indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, it is of the Mexican people and of any person who decides to defend it, take care of it, and respect it.”

For more information in Spanish:

Boletín completo (APIIDTT, 1ero de julio de 2020)

Tratados como el T-MEC «cimientan los marcos jurídicos para usar la fuerza» contra los pueblos: comunidades del Istmo (Desinformémonos, 1ero de julio de 2020)

Jornada de lucha contra el T-MEC y los megaproyectos (CNI, 30 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ: 

National/International: USMCA Comes into Effect with Mechanisms for Internet Censorship and Criminalization of Digital Locks Evasion (July 3, 2020)

National/International: United States Formally Approves USMCA Trade Agreement(February 2, 2020)

National/International: Mexican Senate Ratifies US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (July 4, 2019)

National/International: OSC Asks for Suspension of Agreement with US to Convert Mexico into “Migration Filter” in Return for Favors in Renegotiation of NAFTA (June 25, 2018)


National: First Report on Monitoring of Indigenous and Comparable Communities Published in Response to SARS-COV-2 Emergency

June 22, 2020


On June 18th, the first report on monitoring of indigenous and comparable communities in the emergency due to SARS-COV-2 was published, the result of the collaboration of various civil society organizations that documents the situation of 42 indigenous localities of in states of the republic. Based on a compilation of data in recent weeks, CSOs concluded that “the pandemic has exposed a long list of structural conditions that deepen the exclusion of indigenous and comparable peoples to the full exercise of rights.”

The aim of the study was “to identify the living conditions during the pandemic, as well as the effects due to internal and external factors, to coordinate support and solidarity actions” in indigenous communities, focusing on different areas such as the health, economic, and emerging security and conflicts, food security and access to water, as well as the State’s responses.

Monitoring yielded quite troubling conclusions in the vast majority of indigenous communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In managing the pandemic, the organizations questioned that while the measures taken by the authorities “were dictated for the entire population, they did not have a culturally pertinent focus since they did not contemplate the different realities of the country, particularly those experienced by indigenous and comparable peoples.” With this, “information and sanitary protection measures have come late” and that, at first, what affected the communities was disbelief and fear.

The report also emphasized that “this backward situation is not new, in a large part of the indigenous and comparable communities the pandemic has exposed the consequences of the neoliberal model that throughout history has generated inequality and exclusion limiting access to economic, social and cultural rights.”

Another point of concern reflected in the report is that “almost 70% of the communities monitored mention that people who lived outside the community are returning”: temporary workers who have lost their jobs in the United States and in other states of the Republic; students and people who work in other cities and who are no longer able to find work. All this can feed the tendency that “in the following weeks more cases of economic instability will be observed in the communities.”

Another warning signal: it was observed that the levels of violence that existed before the start of the pandemic are still maintained in the midst of the contingency. “These incidents during the contingency speak, on the one hand, of the absence of the State in its security tasks; and on the other, of the intention of actors such as organized crime who take advantage of the confinement of the communities to advance in the control of the territory”, they pointed out.

The most positive news was that “as of the close of this monitoring, there have been no community outbreaks that have led to massive infections.” However, this situation “can change at any time.”

The observatory that prepared this first report is made up of the following organizations: Aura Strategic Research, Training Center in Ecology and Health for Campesinos – Ombudsman for the Right to Health (CCESC), Montaña Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights of the, Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights, Communication and Training Link, Fundar Center for Analysis and Research, Community Health and Decelopment (SADEC), Services for an Alternative Education, (EDUCA), and Services and Advice for Peace, (SERAPAZ).

For more information inn Spanish:

Primer informe de Monitoreo de comunidades indígenas y equiparables ante la emergencia sanitaria por el virus SARS-COV-2 (OSC, 18 de junio de 2020)

Las comunidades indígenas ante la emergencia sanitaria (Desinformémonos, 19 de junio de 2020)

ONG: las comunidades indígenas, más vulnerables en la actual crisis (La Jornada, 19 de junio de 2020)

Falta perspectiva intercultural para atender pandemia en zonas indígenas: Serapaz (Aristegui Noticias, 19 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: CSOs Request Dialogue Spaces “Given the Disturbing Vulnerability of [Indigenous] Peoples and Communities” in Coronavirus Pandemic (May 18, 2020)

National: Cuts for Indigenous Women in Violent Situations (May 15, 2020)

National: CNDH Calls for Protection of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Populations against COVID-19 (April 14, 2020)

National: Organizations Denounce Health Neglect in Open Letter to AMLO (April 16, 2020)

Chiapas: Three Members of FNLS and ORCAO Released after Detentions in Ocosingo

June 16, 2020


On June 14th, it was announced that Carlos Lopez Gomez, Angeliza Santiz Lopez and Enrique Herrera Jimenez, members of the National Front for the Struggle for Socialism (FNLS), were released after being held for several days in Ocosingo, according to their statements, by the paramilitary group “Los Petules”.

They were handed over in San Cristobal de Las Casas thanks to the intervention of the Vicar for Peace and Justice, Jose Luis Vasares Selvas, from the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas and the pastor of Oxchuc. Simultaneously, the FNLS group also handed over a person from the Ocosingo Regional Organization of Coffee Growers (ORCAO) who had been detained in the Río Florido ejido. This occurred in front of a commission of officials composed of Marco Shilon, of the Commission for Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples (CDPI), Marina Patricia Jimenez Ramirez of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH); Martin Longoria Hernandez from the Coordinator of the CNDH exterior office in San Cristobal and Yolanda Castro representing the FNLS.

Finally, it was reported that negotiations will continue in the coming days between the State Government, representatives of the National and State Commission on Human Rights and the group of indigenous people, since the retentions were due to an agrarian problem.

For more information in Spanish:

Liberan a integrantes del FNLS, Diario de Chiapas, 15 de junio de 2020

Liberan a militantes del FNLS y Orcao que habían retenido en Ocosingo, Contra Poder, 15 de junio de 2020

Después de 6 días, liberan a defensora indígena de Ocosingo, Chiapasparalelo, 14 de junio de 2020

Fueron presentados con vida los indígenas #Tzeltales Carlos López Gómez, Angelina Sántiz López y Enrique Armando Herrera Jiménez, integrantes del #FNLS en el Estado de Chiapas, víctimas de #DesapariciónForzada por el grupo paramilitar los “#Petules”, Comité Cerezo, 14 de junio de 2020

Bloquean e incendian, diario de Chiapas, 12 de junio de 2020

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Denuncian desalojo forzado de 45 personas pertenecientes al FNLS en Socoltenango (11/11/2019)

Chiapas: FNLS Reports Delay in Forensic Investigation into Case of Minor Murdered in Ocosingo (July 5, 2017)


Chiapas: State Will Have 25 National Guard Military Barracks in 2022

June 16, 2020


Two years from now, Chiapas will have eight new National Guard military barracks, of which two have planned construction dates for this year. This is stated in the report on the Public Security Situation in the State in April, prepared by the federal government. The same document adds that by 2022, 24 National Guard military barracks are planned in four security zones in the state.

During the months of 2020, it is intended to build a barracks in Tonala and one more in Las Margaritas; for 2021 others are contemplated in Suchiate, Huehuetan, Comalapa, Chilon, Bochil and Palenque.

The planned construction implies that several places will have two military barracks in the area, as in the case of Tonala, Las Margaritas and Palenque, due to their different functions, described as organized crime, the flow of migration, a symbolic site of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) or to give a secure image in tourist centers, the newspaper Cuarto Poder reported.

Currently, there are National Guard military barracks in Tapachula, Villa Comaltitlan, Acapetahua, Mapastepec, Pijijiapan, Tonala and Arriaga on the Chiapas coast. In the 39th Military Zone, others are located in Marqués de Comillas, Las Margaritas, Comalapa and Ocosingo, and there are also barracks in Palenque and Pichucalco, while in the 31st Military Zone there are barracks in Villaflores, Cintalapa and Chiapa de Corzo.

For more information in Spanish:

Para 2022, Guardia Nacional tendrá 24 cuarteles en Chiapas, (ChiapasParalelo, 9 de junio de 2020)

Construirán 8 cuarteles de la GN en Chiapas, (CuartoPoder, 11 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ. 

Chiapas: National Guard and Police Oppression of Migrants Protesting over COVID-19 Fears (March 30, 2020)


Chiapas/International: Caravan of 4,000 Reaches Southern Border – Stopped by National Guard (January 21, 2020)

National: Four Members of National Guard Die in Guerrero and Chiapas (October 7, 2019)

International/National: UNO Calls for Evaluation of National Guard as Migratory Control in Mexico (September 2, 2019)

National: National Guard Secondary Laws Passed; Concerns over Human Rights Continue (May 28, 2019)

For more information in Spanish:

Para 2022, Guardia Nacional tendrá 24 cuarteles en Chiapas, (ChiapasParalelo, 9 de junio de 2020)

Construirán 8 cuarteles de la GN en Chiapas, (CuartoPoder, 11 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ. 

Chiapas: National Guard and Police Oppression of Migrants Protesting over COVID-19 Fears (March 30, 2020)

Chiapas/International: Caravan of 4,000 Reaches Southern Border – Stopped by National Guard (January 21, 2020)

National: Four Members of National Guard Die in Guerrero and Chiapas (October 7, 2019)

International/National: UNO Calls for Evaluation of National Guard as Migratory Control in Mexico (September 2, 2019)

National: National Guard Secondary Laws Passed; Concerns over Human Rights Continue (May 28, 2019)


National: FONATUR Declares Maya Train Has Environmental Impact Exemption

June 11, 2020



The National Tourism Promotion Fund (FONATUR) recognized that the Maya Train project does not have the environmental impact assessments that should be a requirement for infrastructure construction according to the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA) that entered in force in 1988.

According to the LGEEPA for the completion of works and infrastructures, the necessary presentation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is established before the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, SEMARNAT.

“The environmental impact assessment is the procedure through which the Ministry establishes the conditions to which the execution of works and activities that may cause ecological imbalance or exceed the limits and conditions established in the applicable provisions to protect the environment and preserve and restore ecosystems, in order to avoid or minimize their negative effects on the environment”, Article 28 of the LGEEPA states.

In an explanatory note, published on June 7th in response to Reforma newspaper after an article that stated that the Maya Train had started without the necessary environmental authorizations, FONATUR denied these statements because it considers that the Maya Train project is maintenance work for the rehabilitation and improvement of railways, which have existed since before 1988, before the LGEEPA came into force, for which they requested and obtained an exemption.

The Maya Train project has produced voices of concern and criticism from various environmental organizations about the environmental impacts that the project could cause, also questioning the lack of information on possible impacts. The Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) highlights risks and impacts such as ecosystem division, depletion and contamination of the aquifer, deforestation and extinction of flora and fauna.

For more information in Spanish:

Nota aclaratoria, (Fonatur, 7 de junio)

Postura del Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental respecto al Proyecto Tren Maya,  (CEMDA, 8 de junio)

Fonatur admite que Tren Maya no tiene evaluación ambiental (Proceso, 8 de junio)

Fonatur reconoce que ha usado antigua ley para Tren Maya y aún falta autorización ambiental (Reporte Indigo, 9 de junio)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: AMLO Inaugurates Trans-Isthmus Corridor; Civil Organizations Say “He’s Taking Advantage of Pandemic”(June 11, 2020)

Chiapas/National: Provisional Suspension of Maya Train Revoked in Pandemic (June 4, 2020)

National: Claims Fracking Continues in 4T; AMLO Denies it (May 20, 2020)

National: CNDH Issues Precautionary Measures for Indigenous Peoples of Yucatan and Requests Halt to Maya Train Works (May 18, 2020)


Oaxaca: AMLO Inaugurates Trans-Isthmus Corridor; Civil Organizations Say “He’s Taking Advantage of Pandemic”

June 11, 2020


From June 5th to 7th, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) made a visit to the south of Veracruz to inaugurate the works of the Trans-Isthmus Corridor in the midst of the health emergency due to the pandemic.

Prior to this, more than 100 civil organizations from Oaxaca and Veracruz released a statement in which they expressed their rejection of the modernization works of the Trans-Isthmus Train tracks and the other projects that the federal government is proposing with the megaproject. Its plans include wind and hydroelectric parks, mining and fracking activities, as well as the installation of ten industrial complexes.

The organizations of the Isthmus emphasized what they have been saying since the announcement of the project in the summer of 2018: “We consider that this project of the interoceanic corridor […] will be the destruction of the great diversity of the original cultures and Afro-descendants that coexist in the region of the Isthmus and that represent a true treasure for the peoples and for all humanity.”

They highlighted that the consultations made in March 2019 did not comply with the international standards established in ILO Convention 169 and therefore cannot be considered valid. In addition, they mentioned that new indigenous consultations had been announced, which were suspended due to the spread of coronavirus in Mexico.

Despite strong criticism, the President of the Republic inaugurated the Trans-Isthmus Corridor on the 7th. “The intention is to contain migration in these communities so that people do not abandon them in search of work in the north. That there is a job offer – I stress – so that whoever wants to leave does so for pleasure”, he said.

The AMLO government is not the first government to propose the industrialization of the Tehuantepec Isthmus area. Alejandro Murat, governor of the state of Oaxaca, stated during the event that “the great difference of this project that the president is leading today is that it goes from the bottom up, and comes from consensus with the indigenous peoples.”

For more information in Spanish:

Generará cortina de empleos el tren transístmico: AMLO (La Jornada el 8 de junio de 2020)

Cierra filas Murat con AMLO en banderazo del Transístmico; no es momento de mezquindades, dice (El Universal el 7 de junio de 2020)

AMLO aprovecha confinamiento para imponer de manera “autoritaria” el corredor interoceánico: ONG (El Proceso el 4 de junio de 2020)

Comunicado de denuncia sobre el proyecto del Corredor Transístmico (el 3 de junio de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca/Nacional: Más de 100 OSC rechazan proyecto del Corredor Transístmico a unos día de visita de AMLO (June 5th, 2020)

Oaxaca: “The Isthmus is Ours” Campaign Rejects Integration of “Tehuantepec Isthmus Interoceanic Corridor Regional Committee for Social Attention” (May 19, 2020)

Oaxaca: Organizations, Communities and Movements Demand Suspension of Trans-Isthmus Project (May 2, 2020)

Oaxaca: Illegal Start on Trans-Isthmus Corridor without EIR Denounced (April 28, 2020)


International: Resistances in Latin America Strengthened on World Environment Day

June 10, 2020

Recondpaz© Eco Caminata

In the framework of World Environment Day, the Latin American and Caribbean Water Forum was held during the COVID-19 emergency, which was held in the online event “Weaving Networks for Life: Defending Territory is Defending Life!”. During this forum, academics, activists, and environmental defenders from countries such as Puerto Rico, Paraguay, and Honduras, spoke of the challenges involved in defending the environment on the American continent during the pandemic.

Historic struggles by indigenous, Afro-American, and mestizo communities in Latin America, especially against extractive and agribusiness companies, continue despite the health emergency and the additional obstacles it represents. As in both Mexico and in other countries such as Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia and Ecuador these activities were considered ‘essential’, community resistance was limited by the confinement measures imposed by governments.

Pedro Landa, a researcher in environmental human rights, expressed the importance of joining local struggles to strengthen resistance at the global level. He did so after explaining the “artificial” separation suffered by the Mesoamerican countries but which today continue to defend the same resources and the same territory. He also emphasized the need to “denounce the responsibility of the extractive industries and complicit governments in human rights violations because they promote these types of industries, encourage and impose them, sometimes at gunpoint, of repression, of criminalization and the imprisonment of many defenders of the environment ”, as well as removing the legal shield with which these companies are protected.

Adriana Muñoz Perez, a Paraguayan activist, spoke of the resistance of women who developed an agri-food model since before the pandemic with the aim of fighting agribusiness that continues to expand and displace communities in this territory; and to reduce the economic impact on families by producing their own food. Even though today they are the protagonists of this fight, the pandemic has increased impunity, political persecution, corruption and social inequality for many sectors of the population.

As described in an Infobae article, the null action of the governments of Mexico and of other countries in Latin America against the protection of human rights to the environment, health and violation by companies has led to Citizen organizations leading the defense of these rights. However, these actions put the lives of human rights defenders at risk as there are no justice mechanisms and regulatory ambiguity, as noted by Benjamin Berlanga, head of the Coordination Unit for Social Participation and Transparency (UCPAST) of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

In this sense, Pedro Landa called for a recognition and a tribute to all the men and women who have died for the defense of the environment rather than a celebration.

For more information in Spanish: 

Evento virtual: Tejiendo redes para la vida (Caminata ecológica, 5 de junio 2020)

Débiles mecanismos de justicia perpetúan agresiones a defensores ambientales (Contralínea, 1 de junio, 2020)

Suma México 499 agresiones a ecologistas en 7 años (QS Noticias, 5 de junio 2020)

La ciudadanía lidera defensa de derecho al medioambiente en América Latina (Infobae, 5 de junio 2020)

Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente, nada que celebrar (Excelsior, 4 de junio 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ: 

Nacional: Organizaciones ambientales denuncian recorte presupuestal de un 75% de la CONANP; “paralizará sus actividades fundamentales”

Nacional: Da AMLO banderazo del Tren Maya entre la pandemia y la inconformidad de la sociedad civil.

Oaxaca/Nacional: Más de 100 OSC rechazan proyecto del Corredor Transístmico a unos día de visita de AMLO

Nacional: fracking sigue en la 4T, denuncian; AMLO desmiente que así sea

Nacional: debaten iniciativa que reformaría la Ley para la Protección de Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en un contexto de mayor vulnerabilidad para estos sectores debido a la pandemia

Chiapas: Comunicado por la defensa del agua en San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Chiapas : La empresa minera El Puntal S.A. de C.V y el Gobierno de Chiapas amenazan a defensores de Acacoyagua, denuncian

Nacional: CEMDA destaca que continua el riesgo para defensores del medio ambiente

Chiapas: Food Crisis in Displaced Communities; Over Three Thousand at Risk of Hunger

June 4, 2020


At a press conference on May 26th, the Trust for the Health of Indigenous Children of Mexico (FISANIM) and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, (Frayba) warned of the risk of famine for more than 3,000 displaced people in the Highlands of Chiapas.

They documented that based on direct information received from the population of the Maya Tsotsil People from the municipality of Aldama, Chalchihuitan and from the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal in Chenalho, people displaced in said municipalities face a food emergency situation that could lead to famine if prolonged. Being in itself one of the most marginalized municipalities in the country, the lives of 3304 displaced persons are also at high risk of contagion by COVID-19 when they are “in overcrowded conditions: in borrowed, rented houses and in critical situations, when armed violence begins they take refuge in the mountains. Several of the families have had their houses burned, destroyed and/or been shot, without access to their farms to cultivate their land and without being able to plant and harvest their corn, beans, fruits and vegetables. Up to now, they do not have the possibility of going somewhere to work, they have not been able to harvest their coffee, being one of the sources of economic income to complete their livelihood throughout the year.”

“In all three cases, the omission of the Mexican State and the lack of compliance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of the United Nations (UN) prevail,” they also denounced. This is due to “the constant lack of food, medical attention and emotional damage due to the permanent fear and despair of being attacked, girls, boys, women and the elderly women/men are the most vulnerable victims.”

Faced with this situation, they demanded from the authorities: the implementation of a Food Emergency Plan; the efficient action of the State Council for Comprehensive Attention to Internal Displacement of Persons in the State of Chiapas; the intervention of the International Red Cross to contribute to humanitarian aid; and to deactivate “the violence in these territories caused by armed paramilitary civilian groups that comes from decades of impunity, since today we are in the previous scenarios of what was the Acteal Massacre”, among others.

The two organizations also called for solidarity actions from national and international civil society, including the possibility of financial support to address the food emergency: Trust for the Health of Indigenous Children in Mexico. Scotiabank bank. Account: 00107853564 Interbank password: 044180001078535644.

For more information in Spanish:

Alertamos posible hambruna de Pueblos Mayas en desplazamiento forzado (Frayba, 26 de mayo de 2020)

En riesgo de hambruna más de 3 mil indígenas desplazados de Chiapas; coronavirus agravó su situación (Aristegui Noticias, 26 de mayo de 2020)

Más de 3 mil 300 desplazados en el umbral de la hambruna en Chiapas, alerta el Frayba(Proceso, 27 de mayo de 2020)

Centro Frayba alerta de un “desastre humanitario” en los Altos de Chiapas (La Jornada, 27 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Injunction Granted to Protect Life, Integrity and Security of Displaced Tsotsil Communities in Aldama (May 4, 2020)

Chiapas: Authorities in Santa Martha and Aldama Denounce New Attacks (March 5, 2020)

Chiapas: Death of Displaced Baby Girl from Rio Jordan, Chenalho (February 28, 2020)



National: Reform Of Law for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Debated in Context of Greater Vulnerability in Pandemic

May 26, 2020


On May 20th, a controversial initiative was proposed to the Permanent Commission by the MORENA deputies that proposes to abolish 44 trusts, related to support for the Mexican film industry, agriculture, science and technology, national sports, and energy sector contractors and suppliers among others. It proposes to modify 14 legal systems, among them the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.

Given this, former members of the Governing Board and the Advisory Council of the Protection Mechanism for both sectors warned of the fact that “it intends to disappear all those measures and locks that allow the management of resources through the trust to be transparent, with supervision of a collegiate body and with the active participation of a representative of civil society or academia.” “The Protection Mechanism (…) must be strengthened not weakened,” they declared. “Legislative measures to modify the regulatory framework that regulates the Mechanism are not necessary. What is urgent is the generation of a comprehensive public policy of protection that coordinates ordinary state scaffolding, until now ignored, which should guarantee that journalists and defenders can do their daily work in safety”, they stressed. “Although the operation of the Mechanism has had great vicissitudes, the trust has guaranteed that the lives of hundreds of defenders and journalists were protected in the last seven years,” they recalled.

Shortly before, activists, organizations and networks justly denounced that “in the current context of the health emergency caused by COVID-19, the risk situation experienced by human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico has worsened, without an adequate response from the authorities.” Espacio OSC (SCO Space) noted that “since March 15th, the date on which the health emergency was decreed, according to official figures from the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (…) at least 44 attacks against human rights defenders and journalists have been identified and the murder of two journalists and four human rights defenders, with the state of Guerrero presenting the greatest increase in risk situations for journalists.”

Putting these figures in context, it indicated that “according to the annual report of the Mechanism, in 2019 a total of 295 attacks were registered, on average 24.5 attacks per month, which implies that in the context of a health crisis the attacks have doubled.”

The CSOs expressed their concern about the fact that “the Head of the Executive continues to use a discourse that discredits the role of the media and journalistic work. These statements contribute to creating a hostile environment against those who practice journalism and the media, and to that extent can undermine freedom of expression.” They noted that in several states the imposition of measures that restrict and hinder freedom of transit and association, such as curfews, “have a negative impact on the work of defense of human rights and freedom of expression.” They called to “strengthen the work of the Mechanism.”

For its part, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todas (Red TdT – Rights for All Network)) also stressed that in the case of the homicides of defenders, “two of these murders were in the homes of human rights defenders, which shows the increase in vulnerability to the health crisis due to COVID-19.” It also highlighted that of the four, “the work of three of these people was linked to the defense of land and territory, which is consistent with the trend that has been pointed out by the Red TdT and other organizations. With these four murders, there would already be 30 defenders killed during the six-year term of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.”

They also warned about the fact that “in the framework of the health contingency, it is clear that the work of defending human rights does not stop, but becomes especially relevant at a time when institutional absences become multiple windows of opportunity for the commission of crimes and human rights violations.”

For more information in Spanish:

Las ocurrencias legislativas ponen en riesgo a periodistas y personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Animal Político, 22 de mayo de 2020)

Propuesta de eliminar fideicomisos tambien toca a periodistas (La Jornada, 21 de mayo de 2020)

Espacio OSC, personas defensoras y periodistas llaman a respetar el derecho a defender derechos humanos y el ejercicio de la libertad de expresión durante la pandemia provocada por el Covid-19 (Espacio OSC, 20 de mayo de 2020)

Lista de personas defensoras y periodistas asesinados en México en 2020 (Educa, 20 de mayo de 2020)

Organizaciones denuncian que durante contingencia sanitaria se han recrudecido agresiones contra personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Red Tdt, 14 de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: ONU-DH condena asesinato de un defensor ambiental (Oaxaca) y un periodista (Sonora); sexta persona defensora y el segundo periodista asesinados en 2020 (May 21, 2020)

National: CNDH Demands Clarification of Crimes against Journalists in Mexico – 90% Remain in Impunity (November 8, 2019)

National/International: UNO Presents Diagnostic of Protection Mechanism of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (September 2, 2019)



Oaxaca: “The Isthmus is Ours” Campaign Rejects Integration of “Tehuantepec Isthmus Interoceanic Corridor Regional Committee for Social Attention”

May 19, 2020


In a statement published on May 15th, the organizations that are part of the “The Isthmus is Ours” campaign rejected the integration of the ” Isthmus of Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor Regional Committee for Social Attention” initiated at the beginning of the month, an act that they called “a stab in the back to their own peoples.”

“A supposed regional committee [was formed] to guarantee the installation of the set of mega-death projects called the Program for the Integral Development of the Isthmus-Interoceanic Corridor. Municipal presidents, the Oaxaca state government and the federal government are offering our lands and invaluable natural assets to large companies. and transnational corporations, without informing and, much less, consulting their councils, communities, neighborhoods, colonies and inhabitants of the Tehuantepec Isthmus region”,they denounced.

They considered the fact “a mockery and a flagrant violation of the collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples”. They affirmed that it is “highly negative for our peoples that, abusing the context of a health emergency, the imposition of this neoliberal project continues, which, if implemented, would mean billions of dollars for private and multinational benefits, at the expense of nature, the culture and ways of life of the peoples. This, when there are not even basic supplies for patient care and for the protection of workers in hospitals and health centers in the area. In addition, the installation of this Committee continues to ignore the observations and complaints of various communities and organizations in the region and the country, regarding the Environmental Impact Statement for the modernization of the current railroad, instead extending said EIR, for the section La Mata – Salina Cruz.”

They confirmed their position: “All these megaprojects have only generated belts of misery; have forced populations to migrate out of the region, polluting and degrading the environment as well as local ecosystems, seriously affected the health of the local population, induced social pathology (alcoholism, drug addiction, intra-family violence, femi-homicides) destroying the tissue social-community. On the other hand, they have only created precarious, temporary jobs, without job benefits, through companies that subcontract our countrymen to avoid responsibilities. In addition, it is noteworthy that, with regard to the increasingly intense wave of poor migrant families, with this “Integral Development Program”, the 4T government plans to build a “green” wall without partitions, to contain the migrant advance towards the United States and make the region a militarized barrier to hyper-precarious employment, with over-exploited migrant labor.”

It should be noted that in the event in which the Committee was formed, Rafael Marin Mollinedo, general director of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT), asked the councilors present to see to the demands of the citizens, having learned of “some situations adverse to the project”: “If people show disagreement this work will not be done; Everyone’s participation is important and you have to be and have leaders who help minimize complaints; unfortunately old demands are coming to light, they are taking advantage of the moment to be seen to, so I ask for your support.”

For more information in Spanish:

Organizaciones indígenas y comunitarias, rechazamos la integración del llamado Comité Regional para la Atención Social del Corredor Interoceánico del Istmo de Tehuantepec (OSC, 15 de mayo de 2020)

Instalan Comité Regional de Atención Social del Corredor Interoceánico (La Jornada, 2 de mayo de 2020)

Instalan Comité Regional para la Atención Social del Corredor interoceánico del Istmo de Tehuantepec (Istmopress, 1ero de mayo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Organizations, Communities and Movements Demand Suspension of Trans-Isthmus Project (May 2, 2020)

Oaxaca: Illegal Start on Trans-Isthmus Corridor without EIR Denounced (April 28, 2020)

Oaxaca: Assembly of Isthmus Peoples in Resistance to Megaprojects Formed (March 19, 2020) (March, 2020)