Chiapas: Movement in Defense of Life and Territory 12-Day Pilgrimage Ends in San Cristobal de Las Casas

December 2, 2016

pilgrimsPhoto@SIPAZ

On November 25, after a 12-day walk through 11 indigenous municipalities in the North, Jungle area and Highlands of Chiapas, thousands of pilgrims arrived in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where they denounced the threats and insecurity that they live with in the villages where they come from.

The members of the pilgrimage belong to the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE in its Spanish acronym) and the Believing Peoples of the parishes of Candelaria, Huixtan, Cancuc, Tenejapa, Oxchuc, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Chilon, Sitala, Yajalon and Salto de Agua: “We are the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE), composed of ten parishes from 11 municipalities and 1 ejido. We are located in the high region of Chiapas. We started more than four years ago from the Believing Peoples of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas to stop the clandestine sale of alcohol in our communities but also our struggle stopped for a time the megaproject of government to build the San Cristóbal – Palenque highway. What are we looking for? Our goal is to organize and encourage the indigenous peoples of the area to build our autonomy as indigenous peoples and thus defend our Mother Earth; we want good living from our culture and that is why we say NO to everything that damages the lives of our children and our communities, NO to bad government and NO to the megaprojects that want to take away our territory.”

They declared: “We walk to unite with one voice, to give voice to the earth that calls for respect and protection, which demands from all an attitude of care and gratitude. This pilgrimage has been a moment of grace for us, because we have been able to converse, reflect and dream as one people.” They emphasized that as indigenous peoples they feel that their community belonging to Mother Earth “is our spirituality, so we believe that not only do we have to denounce the destruction of our territory by the ambition of extractivists, but we must take care of it. That is why strengthening our community roots is the way to take care of our common home.” In Oxchuc, a community torn by post-electoral conflict, the pilgrims also spoke of their right as indigenous peoples to govern themselves.

In one of the communiqués published during these days, MODEVITE announced that it will join the proposal of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) to consult its communities on the appointment of an independent indigenous candidate for the next elections: “A change is needed among us and that is why we join the proposal of the National Indigenous Congress to consult our communities about the decision to participate in the next national elections with an independent indigenous candidate. We share the same objective, we believe that it is necessary to strengthen the voice of our indigenous peoples on the political agenda and that is why we want to take this initiative to our communities and municipalities.”

When they entered San Cristobal de Las Casas on November 25, they met with the women’s organizations that were taking part in the International Day against Violence against Women and arrived together to the center of the city: “Today, for example, being International Day against Violence against Women, we remember that women continue to be victims of sexism, alcoholism and the assistance-based government programs. The women  of MODEVITE claim the right to exercise our self-determination as indigenous women to care for Mother Earth and the life of our communities.”

For more information in Spanish:

“Signos de muerte” en territorios indígenas de Chiapas, (Proceso, 25 de noviembre de 2016)

Es tiempo de manifestar nuestras inquietudes, no permitamos que las piedras empezar a gritar, por eso el pueblo de dios está presente ante esta mega peregrinación (Las Abejas de Acteal, 25 de noviembre de 2016)

Se suma MODEVITE a la consulta convocada por el CNI para buscar candidata mujer indígena independiente, Chiapasparalelo, 25 de noviembre de 2016

Movimiento Indígena de Chiapas consultara plan de candidata presidencial, El Universal, 25 de noviembre de 2016

Defender los ejidos, fuerza organizativa de los territorios: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Candelaria, 24 de noviembre de 2016)

En contra de este sistema económico de despojo: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Huixtán, 23 de noviembre de 2016)

No queremos autopistas ni proyectos capitalistas: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Tenejapa, 22 de noviembre de 2016)

Claman indígenas por desterrar a los partidos políticos y formar autogobiernos en Chiapas (Revista Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Por la autonomía y resistencia de nuestros pueblos originarios: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Cancúc, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Tenemos el derecho como pueblos indígenas de autogobernarnos: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Oxchuc, 20 de noviembre de 2016)

Modevite cumple 7 días de peregrinación por Chiapas, (La Jornada, 20 de noviembre de 2016)

En respeto a la tierra, el territorio, la autonomía y nuestra cultura: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Ocosingo, 19 de noviembre de 2016)

El agua es un derecho, no una mercancia: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Chilón, 18 de noviembre de 2016)

Exigimos la cancelación de concesiones mineras y proyectos hidroeléctricos: Pueblo Creyente en megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Yajalón, 17 de noviembre de 2016)

Nos comprometemos a defender la Madre Tierra: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Tumbalá, 16 de noviembre de 2016)

Indígenas de Chiapas inician peregrinación de 12 días contra megaproyectos, Proceso, 15 de noviembre de 2015

Queremos la buena vida para nuestras comunidades originarias: Pueblo Creyente en Megaperegrinación (Comunicado del MODEVITE en Salto de Agua, 14 de noviembre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Día Internacional de Lucha Contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres (28/11/2016)

 

 


Mexico/Guatemala: International Human Rights Observation Mission on Guatemala-Mexico Border

December 1, 2016

gm1“72” Refuge for Migrant Persons, Tenosique, Mexico. Photo@SIPAZ

An International Human Rights Observation Mission on the Guatemala-Mexico Border (MODH in its Spanish acronym) was held from November 10 to 16 to document and highlight the situation of systematic violations of human rights in the border region between Guatemala and Mexico.

The MODH was made up of 24 human rights defenders from countries such as Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, the United States and Canada, and more than 30 who accompanied them belonging to the member organizations of the Cross-border Migration and Gender Coordination Committee (MTMG in its Spanish acronym) on both the Mexican and Guatemalan sides [of the border].

The MODH divided along two routes, both beginning their journey in the City of Guatemala.

– Route one passed through: Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, La Mesilla and on the Mexican side to Comalapa Border, Tapachula, Suchiate, Acacoyagua, Mapastepec, Tonala and Arriaga.

– Route two passed through: Coban, Sayaxche, Santa Elena and on the Mexican side, Tenosique, Palenque, Salto de Agua and Ocosingo.

They travelled in vehicles to a total of 30 locations and 2,211 kilometers of the cross-border region. Both routes met on November 15 in San Cristobal de Las Casas where they shared their experiences and observations.

GM2.jpgPhoto@SIPAZ

The observers had the opportunity to listen to problems of more than 70 organizations and collectives as well as different ways of combating them. They interviewed approximately 1,600 people affected by dispossession, violence against migrants and refugees, and gender-based violence, including members of the Mam, Quiche, Q’anjobal, Kakchiquel, Tseltal, Tsotsil, Tojolabal, Zoque, Chol and mestizos. The MODH visited places that are directly affected by this violence, and were able to verify and document not only constant situations of injustice but also that, in spite of this, people are still fighting for life and dignity.

Among the observations of the MODH, are:

– Since 2012, the number of Central American people who are arriving at the Guatemala/Mexico border has seen a steady increase.

– The number of women migrants has risen, accounting for almost 20% of the migration phenomenon.

– Although migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are the majority, people from other countries, such as the Congo, are now being registered.

– As a consequence of the implementation of energy, mining, agro-industrial, tourism and infrastructure projects, an accelerated dispossession of territory is happening, due to forced displacement, alteration of ecosystems, pollution of agricultural soils and water sources, as well as damage to health, divisions and impacts on the livelihoods of campesino and indigenous communities.

– There is “a common pattern of criminalization, persecution and repression of migrant women and human rights and territory defenders that can lead to loss of liberty and even murder.”

– Even the MODH was watched and harassed in some places by security and intelligence agents in both countries.

– In general, a lack of access to justice for those affected and the prevalence of impunity in the case of those who dare to report can be seen.

– The testimonies revealed a deep crisis of human rights violations with multiple cases of threats, criminality, trafficking, disappearance, kidnapping, robbery, assault, torture, mass murder, rape and sexual abuse, femicide, and corruption, among others.

GM3.jpgNovember 16: The MODH presents its findings in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, where it also met with the “Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants.”

The MODH warned: “In most cases of human rights violations heard by the Mission, a direct responsibility of public authorities is identified, in collusion with organized crime and national and transnational corporations, which act through co-optation and corruption of the justice system, supported by the presence of private security companies and groups of armed civilians.”

For more information in Spanish:

Denuncian persecución a migrantes, mujeres y defensores en frontera sur (Desinformémonos, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Patrón en la frontera sur, criminalización y persecución a mujeres, migrantes y defensores (Proceso, 17 de noviembre de 2016)

Comunicado final de la MODH (Voces mesoamericanas, a 16 de noviembre de 2016)

Plan Frontera Sur potencia deportaciones, acusan ONG (La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2016)

Inicia Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Guatemala-México (MODH) (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de derechos Humanos, Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas, a 10 de noviembre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional/Internacional: anuncian Misión Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos en la frontera Guatemala-México (4 de noviembre de 2016)

 

 


Chiapas: International Day to Combat Violence against Women

November 29, 2016

Mujeres1.jpgBeginning of the march in Plaza de La Resistencia. Photo@SIPAZ

November 25 is International Day to Combat Violence against Women. In Chiapas, many activities were organized in this framework. From the 21st to 24th of the month the First National Feminist Congress was held in San Cristobal de Las Casas. At a press conference on the first day, activists and organizations questioned the Declaration of a Gender Violence Alert (GVA) issued on November 18 by the federal government for seven municipalities in the state (San Cristobal de Las Casas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Comitan  de Dominguez, Villaflores, Tonala, Chiapa de Corzo and Tapachula), calling it “incomplete, discriminatory and insufficient.” For this reason, the Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas declared itself “in a permanent and civic alert to continue to carry out short, medium and long-term actions to prevent femicidal violence.” It should be remembered that women’s organizations in the state have been requesting a GVA for three years.

On November 23 and 24, the Third Assembly of the Movement for Defense of the Earth, Territory and for the Participation of Women in Decision-making was also held in San Cristobal de Las Casas in order to “share information and denunciations, but also proposals and alternatives to defend our lands, territories and organize as women, as we face the same neoliberal and patriarchal system.”

 In a statement, participants in the Assembly demanded, among other things, from the government, the ejido and community authorities, and society in general:

– “To respect women’s rights fully, to live free of violence, to really have land, to be sure that we will not be deprived of our territories, and to participate in decision-making in our communities.”

– “Cessation of femicide, femicidal violence; to release indigenous and non-indigenous women who have been unjustly imprisoned “

– That the government respects and enforces the self-determination and autonomy of the people, and stops nourishing community division, co-opting and buying leaders.”

-“The government and transnational corporations stop persecuting, intimidating, and murdering those who defend our lands and territories.”

– “To the government and the private media, stop criminalizing social protest. We are not criminals, we are women and men defending our rights, our lands and territories, which is where we live and want to continue living with respect for Mother Earth. “

Mujeres2.png

On November 25, both groups met to march, coinciding also with the pilgrimage of thousands of indigenous people from the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE). In a joint communiqué, they reaffirmed: “We are firmly hopeful that with our struggles the situation of violence will not be prolonged or intensified. That is why, women and men, we raise our voices calling to all the peoples of Mexico and the World to defeat the capitalist, neoliberal, heterosexual, racist state and to build another world of PEACE WITH JUSTICE AND DIGNITY where there is room for EVERYONE.”

For more information in Spanish:

Declaratoria de AVG en Chiapas es “discriminatoria e insuficiente”: activistas (Revista Proceso, 21 de noviembre de 2016)

Declaración conjunta en el Día Internacional de Lucha Contra la Violencia Hacia la Mujer (Video, a 25 de noviembre de 2016)

Declaración conjunta en el Día Internacional de lucha Contra la Violencia Hacia las Mujeres (25 de noviembre de 2016)

Comunicado del Movimiento de Mujeres, Pueblos y Organizaciones en Defensa del Territorio (Movimiento en defensa de la Tierra, el Territorio y por la participación y el reconocimiento de las mujeres en las decisiones, a 26 de noviembre de 2016)

For more inforation from Sipaz:

Chiapas: Mujeres marchan contra las feminicidios

Chiapas: Encuentro “Corazones Unidos por la defensa de la Vida y el Territorio”

Chiapas: Eventos en el marco del Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra las Mujeres

Chiapas: Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas denuncia amenazas

 


Chiapas: Commemoration of 20 Years of Crimes against Humanity in Northern Zone

November 10, 2016

Norte.jpgVictims’ relatives continue to seek justice 20 years later. Photo@SIPAZ

On October 22, victims’ relatives and survivors of the “counterinsurgency strategy operated in the northern zone of Chiapas” met in the community of Susuclumil, Tila municipality, to denounce “the lack of justice for crimes against humanity Committed by the paramilitary group Peace and Justice (Paz y Justicia), with the complicity and responsibility of the Mexican State.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, (CDHFBC, also known as Frayba) recalls in its press bulletin No. 21 that with the emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), on January 1, 1994, violence increased in the northern zone. It explains that the Mexican State implemented a strategy of counterinsurgency war against the civilian population, through the Chiapas Campaign ’94 plan, with the objective of eliminating support bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. From 1995 to 1999, paramilitary groups responsible for crimes against humanity were formed: “In the north of Chiapas, paramilitary groups such as the Peace and Justice Development Organization (Paz y Justicia) appeared, with the training and protection of different levels of government, and who between 1995 and 1999 systematically committed serious human rights violations. “

The CDHFBC recorded a total of “22 cases of serious human rights violations in the north, of which 37 were forced disappearances and 85 extrajudicial executions and more than 4,500 people were forcefully displaced, followed by arbitrary detention, torture, sexual torture, harassment, intimidation, destruction of property, among others, committed by the paramilitary group Peace and Justice.”

Victims’ relatives and survivors continue to denounce, “constant harassment, intimidation and persecution with unjust arrest warrants and subpoenas, with threats of fines, by the justice administration system in Chiapas.” They request that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) continue its monitoring and determine the responsibility of the Mexican State for human rights violations committed in the context of the Internal Armed Conflict.

For more information in Spanish:

Sucuclumil conmemoración de la memoria ( Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, a 21 de octubre de 2016)

Estado mexicano responsable de crímenes de lesa humanidad (Chiapas Denuncia, a 26 de octubre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Amenazas de muerte a defensor comunitario (23 de septiembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Conmemoración por las y los asesinados y desaparecidos durante conflicto en la zona baja de Tila (22 de septiembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Evento “Corazón de memoria, sembrando en nuestro territorio” en Masoja Shucjá, Tila (03 de noviembre de 2014)


Chiapas: La Sexta in San Sebastian Bachajon Receive New Threats

November 8, 2016

bachajon

Ejidatarios from San Sebastian Bachajon at a press conference in El Paliacate, October 27, 2016. Photo@SIPAZ

At a press conference on October 27 last, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN, denounced the threats that its authorities have recently been receiving, “including compañero Domingo Perez Alvaro, human rights promoter of La Sexta, ejido Bachajón, and other authorities.” They explained that there are threats of arrest or abduction  the ejidal commissariat C. Manuel Guzman Alvaro’s people, and were informed by third aprties that, “compañero Domingo Perez Alvaro is first on the list of threats and then the other authorities of La Sexta”.

The San Sebastian Bachajon ejidatarios blamed the ejidal commissariat Manuel Guzman Alvaro for these threats. They pointed out that while Guzman Alvaro, as a candidate, had announced that he would defend the village lands and would respect the organization of  La Sexta in Bachajón, “so far [he] has not fulfilled and respected his word, because his actions are the complete opposite.”

For more information in Spanish:

COMUNICADO: EJIDO SAN SEBASTIAN BACHAJON ADHERENTES A LA SEXTA DECLARACION DE LA SELVA LACANDONA. CHIAPAS, MEXICO. A 20 DE OCTUBRE 2016. (Koman Ilel, 21 de octubre de 2016)

San Sebastián Bachajón: La Lucha contra el despojo (Desinformémonos, a 29 de octubre 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón denuncian agresiones a uno de sus integrantes y nuevas amenazas

Chiapas: Homenaje a Juan Vázquez Guzmán a tres años de su asesinato

Chiapas: Conmemoran 2 años desde el asesinato de Juan Vázquez Guzmán en San Sebastián Bachajón


Chiapas: Eviction Threat to Las Brisas Community, La Trinitaria Municipality

November 4, 2016

brisasRecuperated property in Las Brisas that serves as a meeting space. Photo@SIPAZ

On October 17 the members of Las Brisas community, in the municipality of La Trinitaria, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, announced in a public statement threats of eviction they have received in recent months. “Since last June our representatives have received phone calls from Mr. Oscar Aranda, with the support and advice of Mr. Jose Alfredo Espinosa Lopez, who was part of our community, to intimidate us. Mr. Aranda is asking us to hand over the land for which we have fought for over 11 years. He tells us that if we do not hand over and negotiate the land, they will come to evict us and we will also lose our harvest.”

The current residents of the community Las Brisas, indigenous Tzeltal, are recognized “as the descendants of the indentured laborers who were exploited by the owners of La Palestina ranch, later called Esmeralda and then called La Yuria.” In 2005, they recovered the lands where their relatives were workers of local landowners for several generations. Since then they have received several threats of eviction but maintain their strong position stating that will not leave these lands nor will they give any payment to keep them – “the land is not negotiated, it is not for sale and we will keep it with us for our families.”

In their statement the community calls,to be “aware of what could happen” to their safety.

It concludes announcing they will join and support “the initiative of the V National Indigenous Congress because we believe that an indigenous woman candidate for president would have the voice needed to represent us.”

 

For more information in Spanish:

Comunidad Las Brisas en defensa del territorio denuncia amenazas (Chiapas denuncia, a 18 de octubre de 2016)

 


Chiapas: Banavil Displaced Families Announce Provisional Return to their Community for Day of the Dead.

November 2, 2016

banavilProvisional return of displaced Banavil families at their homes. Photo@SIPAZ

On October 28, the families displaced from Banavil provisionally returned to their lands in the framework of the Day of the Dead. In a statement, they reported that “our customs, as we were taught by our grandmothers and grandfathers, is to remember and bring to mind our dead, such as Antonia Lopez Mendez, who died in the forced displacement, and her little sisters Petrona and Maria, surnamed Lopez Mendez, who are buried in the lands of their grandfather Alonso Lopez Luna, forcibly disappeared by PRI supporters from the same location of Banavil since December 4, 2011.”

In the same statement, they again demanded that the Mexican government have an investigation into the forced disappearance of Alonso López Luna. They denounced that “so far the Mexican state has not done investigations, nor has it asked or questioned Mr. Alonso Lopez Ramirez, who is being held at the State Center for Social Reinsertion No. 5, the alleged perpetrator” of that enforced disappearance.

They concluded their statement by saying they sympathized “with the families of the north of Masojá Shucjá, the massacre of Viejo Velasco and families of the martyrs of Acteal, still unpunished, like our family they also seek truth and justice” and demanding “the presentation with life of our 43 student compañeros from the normal rural [school] of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.”

For more information in Spanish:

Chiapas: Familias desplazadas de Banavil anuncian retorno provisional a su comunidad (Pozol, a 28 de octubre de 2016)

Desplazados retornan de manera provisional (Cuatro poder, a 30 de octobre de 2016)

Documental “Justicia, verdad y retorno para las familias desplazadas de Banavil “ (YouTube, 17 abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Inauguración de exposición fotográfica de familias desplazadas de Banavil ( a 8 de julio de 2016)

Chiapas: Desplazados y desplazadas de Banavil, 4 años de impunidad (9 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Retorno provisional de las familias desplazadas de Banavil para Día de MuertosTumba de Antonia López Méndez (9 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Desplazados de Banavil retornan temporalmente a su comunidad (12 de agosto de 2015)