National: 20,390 Forcibly Displaced in 2017 – Over 329,900 in the Last 12 Years

May 11, 2018

Displaced(@CMDPDH)

On May 2nd, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH in its Spanish acronym) published a report on forced internal displacement in Mexico that indicated that in 2017, the climate of violence that prevails in the country caused 25 internal forced mass displacement events in nine states of the Republic, which affected 20,390 people. In the last 12 years at least 329,917 people have had to flee their homes, a figure that is “extremely conservative” as it only includes the cases in which entire communities have had to move. The CMDPDH estimates the figure could exceed one million people, although it affirms that the government has not published figures due to not wanting to “recognize the scale of the problem and the existence of an armed conflict.”

The report states that the states of Guerrero (seven cases), Sinaloa (five), Chihuahua (three), Chiapas (three) and Oaxaca (three) concentrated practically all mass displacement episodes registered in 2017. Chiapas was the entity where the phenomenon affected the largest number of people: 6,090, most of them originating in the municipalities of Altos de Chalchihuitan and Chenalho. 60.44% of the people affected were indigenous and the vast majority lived in rural areas

Of all the factors that led to forced displacement, the majority of them were caused by armed organized groups. Other causes were political violence, social conflict and territorial disputes and, to a lesser extent, the implementation of extractive mining projects.

The CMDPDH regretted that in Mexico the issue of forced internal displacement remains an issue without diagnosis, without public policies or official responses: “Internally displaced people do not have a framework of protection, they are like a kind of legal limbo where nobody confers them rights. The displaced people are left at the mercy of the will of local governments.” In addition, although it acknowledged the existence are two local laws, in Chiapas and in Guerrero, lack of regulations has prevented their proper enforcement to date.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe 2017 : Desplazamiento interno forzado en México (CMDPDH, informe completo, 2 mayo de 2018)

La violencia provocó el desplazamiento forzado de 20 mil 390 personas en 2017: CMDPDH (Proceso, 2 de mayo de 2018)

Más de 20 mil desplazados en México durante 2017; la mayoría, indígenas: Informe (Aristegui Noticias, 2 de mayo de 2018)

En 12 años, 329.9 mil víctimas de desplazamiento forzado en el país (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2018)

Los conflictos territoriales y la violencia llevan al éxodo a más de 12.000 indígenas en México (El País, 3 de mayo de 2018)

Por la violencia, más de 325 mil personas han dejado sus hogares a la fuerza en México (Animal Político, 3 de mayo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Persiste riesgo a la vida de indígenas tsotsiles en Aldama, denuncia el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (26 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: SIPAZ visitó a personas desplazadas de Chalchihuitán (20 de abril de 2018)

Guerrero: De la civilidad truncada a la desaparición de la razón, informe final de la Misión de Observación al Estado de Guerrero (16 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: Plantón desplazados ejido Puebla, Chenalhó (10 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: Otro conflicto agrario en los límites de Chenalhó provoca desplazados en el municipio de Aldama [blog incluye antecedentes] (27 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas: desplazados de Chalchihuitán denuncian condiciones en las que se siguen encontrando(23 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas : sin condiciones de seguridad regresan a casa más de 4000 desplazados en Chalchihuitán (4 de enero de 2018)

SIPAZ: BOLETÍN URGENTE – Reactivación del conflicto agrario entre Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán : violencia generalizada e impunidad (16 de diciembre de 2017)

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National/International: Mexico – First Country to Ratify TPP-11

May 9, 2018

TPP.png(@Convergencia)

On April 24th, the Chamber of Senators ratified in plenary session the Integral and Progressive Treaty of Transpacific Association (TPP-11) with 73 votes in favor, 24 against and four abstentions. With this, Mexico became the first country of those that make up this agreement to ratify it. For the treaty to effectively enter into force, it will be necessary for it to be ratified by at least 5 other countries.

The Mexican business sector greeted this new agreement: “Today, businessmen are convinced that its entry into force will benefit Mexican companies, workers and consumers by generating a more competitive and dynamic economy, for the benefit of Mexican families. The countries that are part of the CPTPP constitute 14% of the annual production of the entire world, with which they become one of the largest free trade zones at an international level. This agreement opens the doors to ten Pacific economies to Mexican producers and entrepreneurs, who will have preferential access to these markets. Therefore, new opportunities are created for the generation of formal and better paid jobs in our country.”

In return, the Convergence of Social Organizations and Citizens “México mejor sin TLCs” (Mexico Better Without FTAs), which brings together 200 social organizations, campesinos, trade unions, human rights organizations and academics, demanded in a statement “that this Treaty not be ratified and negotiated in our name without transparency and without public participation.” It said that it requested an “audience with the Presidency of the Senate Board of Directors to express its appreciations and alternatives to the contents of the Treaty that compromise human rights and the care of the land, unfortunately to date we have not been received which deepens concerns.”

It criticized the fact that in less than a month, the senators intend to approve TPP-11, “since it will affect various productive sectors and the guarantees of Mexicans in different areas, including labor and health, without having held public hearings as provided by the Law on the Approval of Commercial Treaties with all sectors involved.”

It attributed the hurry “to the fear of the current government that with the elections of July the composition of the Legislative Power changes and whoever wins the presidency does not endorse the TTP-11.” In addition, it finally noted with concern that “it is feared that with the same hurry and before the new government and the next legislature take office, they intend to approve the recently concluded modernization of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico as well as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that should end in the first week of May.”

For more information in Spanish:

Piden a CNDH intervenga contra ATP por violar las leyes (La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2018)

México se convierte en el primer país en ratificar el TPP-11 (El Financiero, 24 de abril de 2018)

El sector privado celebra la ratificación en el Senado del Tratado Integral y Progresista de Asociación Transpacífico (CCE, 25 de abril de 2018)

Los pros y contras del TPP11 para México (Expansión, 25 de abril de 2018)

Por un modelo económico que ponga al centro los derechos humanos y el cuidado del medio ambiente (Convergencia “México mejor sin TLC’s”, 25 de abril de 2018)


National/International: Actions for International Day against Dams and in Defense of Rivers and Water

March 28, 2018

Dam.pngAction in Chenalho for International Day against Dams (@Otros Mundos)

Since 1997, in the framework of the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams held in Curitiba (Brazil), representatives of 20 countries declared March 14th as the Day of Action against Dams to denounce water management projects and demand equitable and sustainable management of rivers.

On March 14th and in this context, Intercultural Dialogue Days for the Territory and in Defense of the Rio Verde in the community of Paso de la Reyna, Jamiltepec, were held. There, a regional territorial organization process has been established since 2006 that brings together Peoples and Communities in the United Peoples Council for the Defense of the Rio Verde (COPUDEVER in its Spanish acronym) to face the Paso de la Reina Multiple Use Hydroelectric Project.

In Chiapas, the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal carried out an action within the municipality of Chenalho, making flyers, painting on light poles and on walls along the roads “with the aim of informing and making the population aware of the projects of death that bad governments and capitalist companies introduce without consent in our territories.” In a statement, they ratified “before all the threats of the death projects that the big national and foreign capitalists want to introduce into our lands and territories, we tell them that they will not happen and hope their brain has the capacity to reflect that their ambitions and extractive dreams are mere projects of destruction and that have caused massacres and genocides, in order to forcefully impose their projects, hiring assassins such as: paramilitaries, gunmen, assassins and even soldiers themselves.”

Several organizations in Chiapas and Mexican and Latin American networks also spoke out against “the unlimited multiplication of dams of all sizes, from large scale works to so-called ‘mini-hydroelectric’ [dams], driven by the policies of the World Bank and other alleged “cooperation” and “development” international financial institutions, by the neoliberal structural reforms of the corporatized states, the discourse of “sustainable energy” and the creation of “clean development mechanisms.”” They spoke out against the almost 100 dam projects that exist in the state of Chiapas, including, among others, the expansion of the Chicoasen II and Angostura projects in the Zoque area, 19 mini-hydroelectric projects and the reactivation of the Itzantun project. They also spoke against the new draft General Water Law that “deepens the inequality between the population and the private sector in terms of access to water in the country, by putting the State at the service of [private] companies.”

For more information in Spanish:

Pronunciamiento de Las Abejas de Acteal en Día Internacional de Acción contra las Presas y por los Ríos, el Agua y la Vida (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 14 de marzo de 2018)

Día Internacional de Acción Contra las Represas: Celebramos los ríos de Chiapas y del mundo (OCS de Chiapas y redes mexicanas y latinoamericanas, 14 de marzo de 2018)

Celebran 14 comunidades la vida y la riqueza biocultural del Río Verde en Oaxaca (Vínculo informativo, 15 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : CEMDA publica informe 2017 que indica incremento de la vulnerabilidad de defensores ambientalistas (7 de marzo de 2018)

Oaxaca: Amenazan a la entidad 67 proyectos hidroeléctricos (12 de septiembre de 2016)


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)


Oaxaca: Three Members of CODEDI Ambushed and Murdered

February 26, 2018

CODEDI

On February 12th, three members of the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Peoples (CODEDI) lost their lives and two were injured after an armed attack. One of the injured was the co-founder of CODEDI, Abraham Ramirez Vasquez.

The armed attack occurred when the members of the Committee traveled on the federal highway that connects the City of Oaxaca de Juarez with Puerto Angel after a meeting between CODEDI and government authorities in the capital.

The CODEDI blamed the state and federal government and the next day held a protest in Huatulco with a march and taking control of federal highway 200.

More than 100 social and civil organizations condemned the murder of the three indigenous defenders and demanded guarantees for Abraham Ramirez Vasquez. In addition, they called on the national and international community so that human rights defenders can carry out their work in conditions of security and equality. They also asked civil society to join the collective demand for the immediate clarification of these extrajudicial executions and to punish the material and intellectual authors.

For more information in Spanish:

CODEDI denuncia ataque armado, fallecen 3 jóvenes indígenas (Educa, 13 de febrero de 2018)

Denuncia sobre asesinatos a compañeros de CODEDI (CNI, 13 de febrero de 2018)

Marchan en Huatulco por asesinato de tres activistas (Quadratin, 14 de febrero de 2018)

Organizaciones sociales y civiles condenan la ejecución de 3 defensores indígenas en Oaxaca (Educa, 14 de febrero de 2018)

Matan a un hombre y dos niños en emboscada a comitiva indígena tras reunión con colaboradores de Murat (Proceso, 13 de febrero de 2018)

 


Guerrero: Conflict at Mine of Canadian Company Torex Gold Resources

February 17, 2018

GoldPhoto @ Proceso

Since November 3rd, 2017, according to information from Proceso, a group of workers of the Media Luna mining company, part of the Canadian company Torex Gold Resources, have been on strike to “demand the change of ownership of their collective work contract, which is currently held by the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM in its Spanish acronym).” The dissatisfied workers would like to join “the Napoleon Gomez Urrutia Union.”

Several newspapers reported that due to the problem that exists between the quarry workers and the mining company, three murders of employees of the mining company Media Luna have occurred to date. First on November 18, 2017 “Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla were murdered and on January 24, Quintin Salgado, one of the leaders of the strike against the mining company Media Luna, was assassinated when he left his house in Nuevo Balsas, municipality of Cocula in Guerrero.”

According to the newspaper La Jornada de Guerrero, the national leaders of the National Mining Union, Sergio Beltran Reyes and Benito Melo Gonzalez, later denounced Salgado’s murder; “Comrade Quintin Salgado of the Media Luna mine, was cowardly murdered by the CTM of Guerrero and organized crime and we hope that the government of Canada, which is more interested in solving this situation, can put a stop to this company which, in addition to allowing them to take away our wealth, our authorities also allow you to assault, murder and violate the rule of law in our country, our workers and our organization Miners of Mexico.”

On January 27th, state and federal agents as well as soldiers took control of the facilities of the Canadian mining company Media Luna and practically broke the strike that the workers held. The military operation resulted in “the release of the security chief of the mining company Media Luna and seven workers who had allegedly been retained by the workers,” Proceso reported.

In a statement, the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) mentioned that “this problem has a framework, and it is the current federal and state policy of delivery of resources and unrestricted and servile support to domestic and foreign companies that impose this type of exploitation, affecting the territories irreversibly in environmental, social and health terms. Once installed, the companies, as part of the multiple devastation they generate, place their local workers in conditions of intensive exploitation, violating their rights with government support. It is important to point out that the above once again highlights:

  1. The clear link between these companies and the criminal groups’ “gunmen” that they finance for their protection, and
  2. That at the request of a transnational company, the state sends its army and its police not to put the project at risk with greater direct foreign investment in the state of Guerrero.”

It should be recalled that, since March 2016, “Proceso warned about the risk of mining projects promoted by the government of Hector Astudillo in a strip of the state where the narcos [drug cartels] control everything.”

For more information in Spanish:

Quintín Salgado Salgado fue ultimado a balazos en las inmediaciones de su casa en Cocula, Guerrero. (Regeneración, 24 de enero de 2018)

Empleados de firma canadiense, hermanos asesinados en Guerrero: Sindicato Minero (La Jornada, 23 de noviembre de 2017)

Asesinan a prestador de servicios de Media Luna que simpatizaba con los paristas (La Jornada de Guerrero, 25 de enero de 2018)

Rescatan 8 personas privada de su libertad en Minera Media Luna (Debate, 27 de enero de 2018)

Ejército y agentes toman el control de minera Media Luna en Guerrero (Proceso, 27 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: ONG emite Acción Urgente para proteger Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito y Félix Rodríguez Navarrete (10 de agosto de 2015)

Guerrero/México/América Latina: Graves cuestionamientos a Goldcorp y empresas mineras canadienses (29 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas/México/América Latina: Violación de derechos por empresas mineras (25 de abril de 2012)