Chiapas: IEPC Approves Regulations to Deal with Indigenous Consultations in Electoral Matters

March 25, 2020

unnamedPhoto @ Bajo Palabra

On March 20th, the General Council of the Institute of Elections and Citizen Participation (IEPC) of Chiapas announced that they approved the regulation to meet requests that are submitted to their institution that are submitted to their institution for indigenous consultations on electoral matters.

They reported that the regulation establishes the requirements that the citizens interested in requesting a consultation must determine to determine the origin of the change in the electoral system, which may be political parties or internal regulatory systems. “In order to guarantee that the request for consultation has the support of a significant part of the citizens of the municipality, the request must be endorsed by at least 25 percent of the communities that make up the municipality and that, in turn, represent the same percentage of the citizenship registered in the nominal list of the municipal district.”

They consider that the “regulatory attribution guarantees the right to consultation and self-determination of indigenous peoples and communities (…) complies with the principles established in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries: endogenous, free, peaceful, informed, democratic, equitable, socially responsible, self-managed and prior.”

They highlighted that “among the actions carried out to comply with the aforementioned principles, consultation forums were held in the municipalities of Ocosingo and San Cristobal de Las Casas, on November 28th and December 5th, 2019, in which the the opinion of authorities and citizens of indigenous peoples and communities was recorded, to include it in the construction of the regulation.”

For more information in Spanish:

APRUEBA IEPC EL REGLAMENTO PARA ATENDER SOLICITUDES DE CONSULTAS INDÍGENAS EN MATERIA ELECTORAL (IEPC, 20 de marzo de 2020)

REALIZAN IEPC E INPI: FORO DE CONSULTA Y ELABORACIÓN DE LA PROPUESTA DE REGLAMENTO PARA ATENDER SOLICITUDES DE CONSULTAS INDÍGENAS EN MATERIA ELECTORAL (IEPC, 28 de noviembre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Gobiernos Comunitarios de Chilón y Sitalá denuncian obstaculización de su derecho a la libre determinación (21 de noviembre de 2019)

Chiapas: Creciente polarización en Chilón ante posible cambio de modo de elección, del sistema oficial al por usos y costumbres (15 de agosto de 2019

Chiapas: Inicia INAH estudio cultural en Sitalá y Chilón para determinar posibilidad de pasar a elecciones municipales por la vía de los usos y costumbres (11 de mayo de 2019)


National: CEMDA Highlights Continued Danger for Environmental Defenders

March 24, 2020

agresiones-ambientalistas.jpg_1348255499@El Economista

On March 17th, the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) presented a report in which it reiterated the danger that environmental defenders face in Mexico.

Entitled “Report on the Situation of Environmental Human Rights Defenders,” the document highlights that between January 2012 and December 2019, there were 499 attacks against environmental defenders and 83 murders.

According to the report, of the violent actions against defenders, the authorities were responsible for 179 of the attacks – 114 by state governments, 42 by municipal authorities, and 22 by the federal government.

Regarding the role of the State and the conditions of danger, the report stresses that: “Despite the measures that the Mexican State has adopted, it is observed that no progress has been made in the country in a structural change that generates the appropriate and safe conditions for the exercise of the right to defend human rights. Currently, we still find discourses and narratives from the government that disqualify and stigmatize the defense of human rights, which polarizes the perception of society, managing to delegitimize and create a hostile environment so that other attacks can be committed against these people.”

29% of all attacks were related to energy projects. Therefore, it is not surprising that Oaxaca was the state with the highest number of attacks, with 79 cases. Sonora was the second with 49 attacks, and the State of Mexico the third, with 48.

During the year of 2019, the first full year of the Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) government, there were 39 attacks against environmental defenders, 15 of them being murders.

The report includes ten recommendations to guarantee the work of environmental defenders. One of them is to ratify the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Affairs in Latin America (Escazu Agreement), an international treaty that seeks to establish rules for the protection of the environment. 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the agreement, including Mexico, but only 6 have ratified it.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe sobre la situación de las personas defensoras de derechos humanos ambientales CEMDA, marzo de 2020.

En México persiste el riesgo para defensores del medio ambiente: Cemda El Proceso, 17 de marzo de 2020.

Hubo 83 asesinatos a defensores ambientales entre 2012 y 2019: Cemda La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Death Threats against Defenders of Life and Territory in Chicomuselo Denounced (February 9, 2020)

Chiapas/International: Urgent Action – Canadian Embassy before Courts for Undue Intervention in Chicomuselo Mining Conflict (March 27, 2019)

National: 21 Environmental Defenders Murdered in 2018 (CEMDA) (April 1, 2019)


Guerrero: Afro-descendant and Indigenous Inhabitants of Costa Chica Seek Real Recognition of their Rights and Creation of New Municipalities

March 23, 2020

agresiones-ambientalistas.jpg_1348255499Photo @ Sur de Acapulco

On March 14th, in the framework of the Dialogue with the Afro-Mexican People, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador held a public event in Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero.

During the event, indigenous and Afro-Mexican residents of the Costa Chica region expressed, among other things, that they need “real recognition with specific rights according to our needs, as we have stated in the regional and national forums for consultation on the reform of Article 2 of the Constitution.”

It should be remembered that at national and state levels, a process is taking place where indigenous populations converge with the Afro population to promote a law of recognition of their rights where they are considered as political players capable of carrying out social transformations, holding public office and fully exercising their rights.

At the same time, in relation to a parallel process in which the state Congress is being asked to create new municipalities that include a perspective of indigenous and Afro people, participants requested “support for the recognition of San Nicolas Tolentino, Las Vigas, Temalacatzingo and Santa Cruz del Rincon as new autonomous municipalities.”

In this regard, the Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center considers that “the peoples have understood that the fight for new municipalities is strategic to break with political isolation and institutionalized discrimination against peoples settled in rural areas. The dispute over public financing that is denied to indigenous communities only makes sense when a new political configuration is sought through the creation of new municipalities.”

For more information in Spanish:

OPINIÓN | La brisa rebelde de la Costa Chica (Tlachinollan, 16 de marzo de 2020)

Creación de Nuevos Municipios (Congreso del Estado de Guerrero)

Versión estenográfica | Diálogo con el Pueblo Afromexicano (Presidencia de la República, 14 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: CRAC-PC marches in Chilpancingo demanding the reform of the Law 701 (November 11, 2019)

National: Debate on Proposals for New Constitutional Reform on Rights Of Indigenous Peoples Continues (November 9, 2019)

National/Chiapas: Forums on Process of Free, Prior and Informed Consultation for Constitutional and Legal Reform of Rights of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples Go Ahead (July 29, 2019)

National: Process of “Free, Prior and Informed Consultation” on Constitutional and Legal Reform of Rights of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples Begins (June 27, 2019)

Oaxaca: Law on indigenous and Afromexican peoples “tied up” in the state congress (October 1, 2014)


Chiapas/National: Petition in Support of Injunction against Maya Train

March 23, 2020

DSCF5674© Sipaz

On March 16th, a press conference was held by the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), in which members of the Regional Indigenous and Popular Council of Xpujil (CRIPX), the municipal seat of Calakmul, Campeche, were present, as well as members of the Diocese of San Cristobal.

A pronouncement was made whereby they demanded that the federal authorities respect the rights of the Choles, Mayans, Tzotziles and Tzeltal communities affected by the Maya Train megaproject, which have been violated since the informative phase by not complying with international standards and by not presenting a study of the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of the projects.

In this sense, the human rights sector of ​​the diocese of San Cristobal launched an initiative in a show of support and solidarity with which 12,124 signatures were collected from 15 municipalities of Chiapas. When delivering, Virginia Diaz Rojas expressed: “we have become aware of the effects that all these projects bring […] In this way we are joining together to face all these projects that come to destroy our Mother Earth, our territories, to our cultures…”. Faced with this response, Ernesto Martinez Jimenez, member of the CRIPX, was very grateful and happy and affirmed that Chiapas was the first state to support them and made a call to the rest of the peninsular states to join the injunction case.

For more information in Spanish:

Comunidades Mayas rechazan megaproyectos que amenazan la Vida(CDH Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 16 de marzo de 2020)

Entregan firmas en solidaridad para juicio de amparo del Tren Maya (La Jornada, 16 de marzo de 2020)

Respaldan chiapanecos suspensión del Tren Maya (Diario de Chiapas, 17 de marzo de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ :

National: Huge Contrast between Study of Maya Train Commissioned by National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and Discourse of AMLO Government (March 19, 2020)

National/International: Consultation on Maya Train did not Meet International Standards (January 4, 2020)

National: Indigenous Consultation Participants Accept Maya Train Project; Convention 169 of ILO not Respected (January 4, 2020)

National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples (May 10, 2019)

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13th, 2018)

National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14th, 2018)


National: Huge Contrast between Study of Maya Train Commissioned by National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and Discourse of AMLO Government

March 19, 2020

N-A14-EU090320-11_DrupalMainImagennuevo.var_1583746322@El Universal

On March 9th, the findings of a study commissioned by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) on the social, economic, and environmental effects of the Maya Train project that were published raised conclusions that are quite different from what AMLO and his administration have expressed on the megaproject.

Titled “Mayan Territories in the Passage of the Train: Current Situation and Foreseeable Risks”, the 26-page document was sent in February to several members of the Federal and state governments involved in the implementation of the Train. On March 9th, the newspaper El Universal published it.

The study concludes among other things that the Mexican government did not comply with international rules regarding indigenous consultation, and that it did not share with the public the impacts that the Maya Train would have. The study also questions the quality of the jobs that the Maya Train will generate, and expresses concern that it could increase illegal activities that often go hand in hand with tourism – such as human trafficking and drug trafficking.

Regarding the government’s proposal to build cities at train stations, or “development centers”, the study states that this plan will generate dispossession of local populations. The research goes further, noting that the project represents a “commitment to the commercial use of the culture of the Maya peoples as an engine for the tourism industry.”

According to collaborators in the elaboration of the document, the study was to be delivered to federal government workers from December 2019, but that the date was delayed several times, until February 28th when they shared it.

Regarding the environment, the collaborators declared that “These ecosystems have been recognized for safeguarding high biodiversity (flora and fauna), having the state, national and international recognition that has allowed the creation of different conservation areas that will suffer alterations (degradation, fragmentation and deforestation) associated with the construction, circulation and development proposed by the Maya Train Project.”

For more information in Spanish:

Contrasta informe de Conacyt sobre Tren Maya con discurso gubernamental El Proceso, 9 de marzo de 2020.

Ocultaron estudio que revela riesgos del Tren Maya para áreas naturales El Universal, 9 de marzo de 2020.

El informe del Conacyt sobre el Tren Maya que el Gobierno intentó ocultar Libre Noticias, 10 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: Consultation on Maya Train did not Meet International Standards (January 4, 2020)

National: Indigenous Consultation Participants Accept Maya Train Project; Convention 169 of ILO not Respected (January 4, 2020)

National: Bidding Process Begins for Maya Train without Previous Consultation with Indigenous Peoples (May 10, 2019)

Mexico: Consultations on Maya Train and Nine “Priority” Projects of New Government (December 13th, 2018)

National: AMLO Announces Consultation for the Construction of the Maya Train (November 14th, 2018)


National: Federal Judge Halts Indefinitely Construction of Maya Train in Calakmul, Campeche

March 9, 2020

calakmul@ElEconomista

A federal judge has suspended the construction of any new works in Calakmul, Campeche, including the Maya Train project.

Behind the decision is an injunction presented by the Regional and Popular Council of Xpujil (CRIPX), which represents the interests of the indigenous communities of the Peninsular Mayan people and Ch’ol, in the municipality of Calakmul. The suspension only has jurisdiction in Calakmul, which affects the section of the Maya Train between Bacalar and Escarcega, Campeche.

In her ruling, the judge noted that the suspension will be limited in scope: “it does not prevent the authorities from carrying out administrative acts aimed at carrying out the work, such as: tenders, obtaining environmental permits and any other item; preparation of budgets and projects, etc., because such acts do not entail any imminent damage to the claimant community.”

The legal advisor of the Indigenous and Popular Regional Council of Xpujil, Elisa Cruz Rueda, stressed that, although the resolution is a positive step, its geographical limitations would not allow the protection of indigenous peoples: with this, “it limits the suspension to Calakmul, with that ruling violates the rights of indigenous peoples to the integrity of their territories, their habitat and the exercise of their autonomy and self-determination.”

Regarding the case, on March 5th, the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Indigenous Government Council (CIG) denounced “harassment, intimidation, and aggressions by MORENA members towards fellow CRIPX members.”

At the state level, since February 27th, a Collegiate Court of Campeche prevented the federal government from executing the works of the Maya Train in the municipality of Calakmul, for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, and also for environmental reasons.

The injunction was filed on January 14th, when, according to the CRIPZ, the Federal Judicial Branch granted them a provisional suspension of the construction of the “Maya Train Development Project”, which was quickly challenged by the government.

For more information in Spanish:

Revés judicial al Tren Maya en Calakmul La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2020.

Jueza federal concedió suspensión que frena por tiempo indefinido el Tren Maya en Calakmul, Campeche Infobae, 5 de marzo de 2020.

Conceden suspensión definitiva del Tren Maya en Xpujil, Calakmul El Economista, 4 de marzo de 2020.

Denuncian “acoso y agresiones” de Morena, hacia el CNI en Calakmul, Campeche Pozol Colectivo, 5 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/Campeche: Injunction against Maya Train Limited to Municipality Calakmul (March 2, 2020)

National/Campeche: Government Denies Reports of Suspension of Maya Train (January 31, 2020)

National/International: Consultation on Maya Train did not Meet International Standards (January 4, 2020)


Chiapas: Kidnapping of Permanent Deacon San Cristobal de Las Casas Denounced

March 9, 2020

339722_294568090559367_11244267_oPhoto @ Archivo Misión de Guadalupe

We share a statement from the Guadalupe Mission, Comitan de Dominguez:

GUADALUPE MISSION.

FOR THE RELEASE OF THE DEACON ARSENIO VELASCO RODRIGUEZ

To the general public

To the Diocese of San Cristobal

To the parishes and communities of the Southeastern Team of the Diocese of San Cristobal

To federal, state and municipal authorities

To the media

We are against any arbitrary detention!

Yes to dialogue, no to violence!

We denounce the kidnapping of Brother Arsenio Velasco Rodriguez, Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, from Saltillo community, municipality of Las Margaritas; who was beaten and kidnapped by hooded and armed men about 600 meters from his community, on the road to Nuevo San Juan Chamula, at approximately 6:30 on the morning on March 4th, 2020; hooded and armed men intercepted the red motorcycle with rope, throwing him onto the road, and taking him to San Jose Zapotal community. He was accompanied by his 14-year-old grandson, Osmar Rodriguez Velasco, who was taking him to work on the plot; The minor was also beaten, his cell phone and motorcycle keys were taken away so that he did not immediately raise he alarm, the young man is a witness to what happened, identifying that they are people from the San Jose Zapotal community.

We demand that the inhabitants of San Jose Zapotal release Deacon Arsenio Velasco Rodriguez, as he is not responsible for any crime.

We request the immediate intervention of the Chiapas State and Las Margaritas municipal governments and corresponding institutions, as the population of Saltillo is at risk of being attacked, by the inhabitants of San Jose Zapotal, to avoid a confrontation.

We demand that all agencies of the Chiapas state and Las Margaritas municipal governments investigate the facts as soon as possible and release the Deacon and that they solve the problem of this conflict that has been going on for many years.

We thank all the people of good will who have expressed their solidarity for the cause of truth and justice and for the liberation of the brother deacon Arsenio Velasco Rodriguez

Comitan de Dominguez, Chiapas March 5th, 2020

Sincerely

The two Missions and the 12 parishes of the Southeastern Team of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

For more information in Spanish:

Por conflicto de tierras, pobladores detienen a diácono en Chiapas (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2020)