International/National/Chiapas: Eighth Anniversary of Banavil Displaced, Seeking International Monitoring of Problem of Internal Forced Displacement

December 5, 2019

banavilVictims of internal forced displacement @SIPAZ

Eight years after their forced internal displacement (FID) and the forced disappearance of Alonso Lopez Luna, a Tseltal family from the Banavil community, Tenejapa, continues to seek solutions to their demands.

It is important to remember that the main demands are in line with Recommendation CEDH / VGEAAI / 003/2017 of the State Commission of Human Rights of the State of Chiapas. This recommendation was approved on April 24th, 2017 by the Secretary General of the State of Chiapas.

The anniversary of the forced displacement of the family is commemorated a few days after the Joint Service of Characterization of Displaced Population (JSCDP) made an exploratory visit to Mexico (including a special visit to Chiapas), with the objective of “strengthening the technical capacities of the players that affect the attention of internal forced displacement; as well as contributing to quantitative and qualitative research work on the phenomenon in the country, in addition to establishing bases for a long-term strategy and joint work on prevention and care policies.” They concluded their visit by presenting recommendations to the Mexican State.

In addition, on November 22nd, organizations, victims of forced internal displacement, members of the academic sector, human rights defenders and journalists requested through a letter addressed to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, “which is included in the agenda for special procedures visits next year 2020, the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, who has requested a visit to Mexico since 2015.”

For more information in Spanish:

Solicitud de visita a México de la Relatora Especial sobre los derechos humanos de los desplazados internos en carácter prioritario (CMDPDH, 22 de noviembre de 2019)

Participa CEAVE en mesa de trabajo para el Desplazamiento Forzado Interno (Fiscalia General del Estado de Chihuahua, 2 de diciembre de 2019)

Recomendación: CEDH/ 03/2017-R. (CEDH)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: A 7 años de los hechos violentos que suscitaron el desplazamiento forzado de familias de Banavil (7 de diciembre de 2018)

Chiapas: displaced families from Banavil return to their home to celebrate the Day of the Dead (November 3, 2018)

Chiapas: Banavil Displaced Families Remember the Death of Antonia Lopez Luna (March 5, 2017)

Chiapas: Desplazados de Banavil siguen exigiendo justicia tras 5 años de desplazamiento forzado (2 de diciembre de 2016)

Chiapas: Banavil Displaced Families Announce Provisional Return to their Community for Day of the Dead. (November 2, 2016)


Chiapas: MODEVITE Receives Recognition for Environmental Defense in Chiapas

December 4, 2019

MODEVITE@Proceso

On November 27th, the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Chiapas environmentalist Mariano Abarca Roblero, who defended the rights of nature in the municipality of Chicomuselo from the year 2007 when he saw the socio-environmental effects of the Canadian mining company BlackFire that extracts the mineral from Barita, was remembered in that same municipality. After several threats by company workers he was killed. Since then, his family has carried out a long process with the support of various organizations demanding justice and punishment for the culprits.

In commemoration of his murder, relatives of the environmentalist as well as 32 national and international organizations convened the “Mariano Abarca” Environmental Defense Forum in Chiapas, which was held on November 27th, 2019 at the Sala de Bellas Artes in San Cristobal de Laa Casas.

In the framework of this event, the “Mariano Abarca Award”, the first recognition of environmental defense in Chiapas, was also given to the indigenous organization Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE in its Spanish acronym) that is present in 11 municipalities of the state populated by Tseltales, Tsotsiles and Ch’oles from the area of ​​Los Altos and La Selva and which is also part of the Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas. The prize that was awarded must recognize “year after year the community, collective or organization of the State of Chiapas, Mexico, that with their struggle for the defense of the rights of nature they defend their peoples, and they defend us all, dignify life, make us not lose hope that Other Worlds are possible” as indicated in the blog dedicated to the “Justice for Mariano Abarca” campaign.

Gustavo Castro of the Other Worlds organization stressed that “the first recognition of the environmental defense in Chiapas 2019 granted to MODEVITE means that we see it, accompany it, make it visible and thank you for your struggle for the good of all peoples.”

The forum was also an important occasion to share experiences of various groups and organizations in defense of land and territory. In the first part, the Movement for the Defense of Life and the Territory (MODEVITE), the Popular Front for the Defense of Soconusco “June 20” (FPDS in its Spanish acronym), Somos La Maya, Zoques in Defense of Life and the Territory (Zodevite), a representative of the Pascacio Gamboa Community, Ixtacomitán and the Regional Council of Agricultural Authorities in Defense of the Territory (CRAADT), an active organization in the Mountains and Costa Chica area of ​​the state of Guerrero participated.

In addition, specialists and panelists from different human rights organizations and institutions were invited. Norma Gonzalez Benitez of Amnesty International attended with an analysis on the criminalization of human rights defenders and the environment in Mexico, Edgar Cortes of the Mexican Institute of Human Rights and Democracy (IMDHD in its Spanish acronym) who spoke on the Mechanism for the Protection of Defenders of Human Rights and Journalists and finally the Swedish Movement for Reconciliation (SweFOR) shared their experiences on the accompaniment work of human rights and environmental defenders and their situation in Chiapas.

For more information in Spanish:

MODEVITE recibirá Reconocimiento a la Defensa Ambiental “Mariano Abarca” (Chiapas Paralelo el 20 de noviembre de 2019)

Exigen justicia a 10 años del asesinato del activista Mariano Abarca; Modevite obtiene premio con su nombre (Proceso el 27 de noviembre de 2019)

PREMIO A LA DEFENSA AMBIENTAL (Justicia para Mariano Abarca el 27 de noviembre de 2019)

Entregarán el primer “Premio Mariano Abarca” al MODEVITE (Educa el 27 de noviembre de 2019)

PRIMER RECONOCIMIENTO A LA DEFENSA AMBIENTAL EN CHIAPAS 2019 “MARIANO ABARCA” (Otros Mundos el 19 de noviembre de 2019)

La minera canadiense Blackfire en Chiapas contra defensores de los territorios y de la vida (REMA el 18 de octubre de 2017)

 

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Megaperegrinación del Movimiento en Defensa de La Vida y del Territorio (MODEVITE) en Tuxtla Gutiérrez (21 de agosto 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: Expresiones de solidaridad y preocupación ante los hostigamientos a integrantes del CEDIAC y de la Misión Jesuita de Bachajón (20 de junio de 2019)

Chiapas: Modevite ratifica su rechazo a la construcción de la super carretera entre San Cristóbal de las Casas y Palenque (2 de mayo de 2019)

Chiapas: realizan foro sobre Libre determinación(10 de agosto de 2018)

Chiapas: MODEVITE Mobilizes in Defense of Mother Earth and Self-Determinationm (November 24, 2017)

Chiapas: Movement in Defense of Life and Territory 12-Day Pilgrimage Ends in San Cristobal de Las Casas (December 2, 2016)


Guerrero: Disappearance of Activist in Tlapa de Comonfort Reported. Member of Regional Council of Agrarian Authorities in Malinaltepec

October 17, 2019

GuerreroPhoto @ Tlachinollan

In the afternoon of October 11th, a member of the Popular Front of La Montaña (FPM in its Spanish acronym) and the Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of the State of Guerrero (MOLPEG in its Spanish acronym), Arnulfo Ceron Soriano, was reported missing in Tlapa de Comonfort.

According to a public complaint from the La Montaña Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, relatives reported that the last information they had about him was when Ceron Soriano “left his home to go to talk at a recovery center for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), located in the Caltitlan neighborhood Tlapa de Comonfort city, Guerrero, where he never arrived.”

On October 12th, the van in which “the activist Ceron Soriano was traveling in the Magisterio neighborhood was found abandoned, even with the keys in it, without any further indication of him. Due to these facts, a complaint was lodged with the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Enforced Disappearance and Search for Missing Persons in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, to which the investigation file number 12022510400165121019 was assigned.”

According to different newspapers 11 social organizations have stressed “that Cerón Soriano accused the mayor of Tlapa of having threatened him because of the defense he made so that street traders were not evicted.”

On October 13th, social and family organizations “took over the town hall of Tlapa to demand the mayor’s presentation of the indigenous leader and demanded that the Ministerial Police, the State, the National Guard begin an operation” to find the missing activist.

For its part, the State of Guerrero Human Rights Commission (CDHEG in its Spanish acronym), urged the corresponding agencies of the state and federal government, to speed up investigations.

During the same weekend, on Friday, Isaias “N”, president of the Commissariat of Paraje Montero Communal Assets, in the municipality of Malinaltepec, was killed, El Sol de Acapulco reported. The victim “had attended meetings in the morning that Friday and in the afternoon on his return he was murdered near the police station.” He was “member of the Regional Council of Agricultural Authorities in Defense of the Territory (CRAADT in its Spanish acronym), which opposes the mining exploitation of the region.”

For more information in Spanish:

ACCIÓN URGENTE: DESAPARECEN AL LUCHADOR SOCIAL DE LA MONTAÑA: ARNULFO CERÓN SORIANO (Tlachinollan, 13 de octubre de 2019)

Exhorta la CDHEG agilizar investigaciones por desaparición de Arnulfo Cerón Soriano (El Sol de Acapulco, 13 de octubre de 2019)

Un defensor de la montaña de Guerrero es asesinado y otro es reportado desaparecido el fin de semana (Sin Embargo, 14 de octubre de 2019)

Identifican a tres hombres asesinados en distintos hechos (El Sol de Acapulco, 14 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Declaran libres de minería los municipios de Malinaltepec y San Luis Acatlán. (October 8, 2019)

Guerrero: Denuncian una “campaña de desprestigio” en contra de una abogada de Tlachinollan y una reportera del El Sur de Acapulco (11 de julio de 2019)


Chiapas: Delimitation Conflict in Lacandon Jungle

October 16, 2019

LacandonPhoto @ Marcela Gonzalez

At a press conference that was held on October 7th, the authorities of Bienes Comunales Zona Lacandona “asked the federal government to resume the work of delimitation so that it is known how many of the 614,321 hectares established in the original decree of 1971 remain,” they said, with the aim of preserving the Lacandon Jungle.

They reported that “there have been three resolutions to date: the one obtained by the Lacandon community on November 26th, 1971, the second on November 23rd, 1982 with 558,037 hectares and the third on July 9th, 1988 where the agrarian body delivered only 501,106 hectares to the Lacandon community.”

The delimitation of the Lacandon Jungle, inside which is the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, “began in 2008, has advanced 444 kilometers and still to be delimited, 34 to close the polygon. More than 40 years have passed and the area has not been defined.”

They also mentioned that “there is also an agreement with the 52 ejidos that border with Bienes Comunales Zona Lacandona so that the lands are delimited, given that “if we do not have a common agreement, the forest cannot be conserved. That is why we seek dialogue with our neighbors, to take care of the interior and exterior (…), so that there is no conflict with the neighbors” and with members of organizations based in the surroundings,” La Jornada reported.

It should be remembered that the Lacandon Area is inhabited by Mayan Lacandones, Tzeltals and Choles and is made up of six locations: Naha, Metzaboc, Lacanja, Ojo de Agua Chankin, Palestine and Corozal Border.

In recent days through another press conference in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Lacandones indigenous people denounced that “there are serious tensions in the Lacandon Jungle, so the government’s intervention is urgently required to avoid a confrontation (…) rights of the Lacandon ethnic minority are at risk; its territory and the conservation of its jungle too.”

They mentioned that the new authorities of communal property are unknown “because, they said they were promoted and imposed with the advice of old corrupt leaders and voted only by the Chol and Tzeltal ethnic community members, without the participation of the Lacandon ethnic group (…) and now intend to draw a new polygon different from that recognized by the community, thus affecting the territorial rights of the Lacandons, without being consulted for such purposes and jeopardizing, by deforestation, the integrity of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve” Proceso magazine reported..

For more information in Spanish:

Lacandones piden intervención de AMLO para rescatar la Reserva de la Biosfera Montes Azules (Proceso, 8 de octubre de 2019)

Autoridades comunales de Zona Lacandona solicitan respeto a DH (La Jornada, 11 de octubre de 2019)

Piden que se delimite área para preservar Selva Lacandona en Chiapas (La Jornada, 7 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Pemex to Provide Resources in Perpetuity to Preserve the Lacandon Jungle (September 16, 2017)

Chiapas: Peace Network calls for “inclusive processes in the use, conservation and management of the Biosphere Reserve of Montes Azules” in the face of the increasing problematic in the Lacandon Jungle (June 10, 2014)

Chiapas: Federal and state governments announce imposition of territorial order in Lacandon Jungle (June 2, 2014)

Chiapas: historic accord in the Lacandon Zone (May 3, 2014)

Chiapas: Residents of the Lacandona Jungle on alert in light of advancing delimitation work (March 16, 2014)


Chiapas: Second Suspected Leader of Armed Gang in Santa Martha, Chenalho Arrested

October 14, 2019

ChenalhoPhoto @ Gaby Coutinho

After the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE in its Spanish acronym) arrested Mr. Efrain Ruiz Alvarez last month, another alleged leader of an armed group of the Santa Martha community, Chenalho was arrested by ministerial policemen, Enrique Lopez Perez, in recent days.

The arrests are related to the old agrarian conflict between residents of the Santa Martha community and the municipality of Aldama. Both alleged leaders are accused “of firing heavy caliber guns against residents of villages in Aldama.” In the case of Lopez Perez, he is accused “of the crime of attacks on peace (…) in October 2015 shooting with a firearm towards the community of Tselejopotoptic, which caused the displacement of families from Aldama.”

It should be remembered that on June 4th, in Tuxtla Gutierrez, constitutional and traditional authorities of Aldama and Chenalho, accompanied by Governor Rutilio Escandon Cadenas and the federal undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas Rodriguez, signed a non-aggression pact that they expected would put an end to an initially agrarian conflict over 60 hectares of territory between both municipalities that has lasted more than four decades, which has caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of displaced families.

Despite signing of the pact, different sources reported that attacks followed by both parties.

According to information from La Jornada residents of Aldama “commented that since Ruiz Alvarez was arrested, firing of high-caliber firearms from Santa Martha to places in that municipality has reduced.” But that the situation remains tense since “after the arrest of the leader, representatives of Santa Martha have threatened to hold their neighbors from Aldama to exchange them for the detainee.”

For more information in Spanish:

Detienen a líder de grupo armado de Santa Martha en Chenalhó  (La Jornada, 6 de octubre de 2019)

Detienen a líder del grupo armado Santa Martha en Chiapas (La Jornada, 13 septiembre de 2019)

Detienen a presunto líder de grupo armado de Chenalhó (Diario de Chiapas, 8 de octubre de 2019)

Detienen a presunto dirigente de grupo armado de Chenalhó, Chiapas (El Universal, 13 de septiembre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Sigue la violencia entre Aldama y Chenalhó a pesar de pacto de no agresión. (8 de junio de 2019)

Chiapas: Firman pacto de no agresión autoridades de Aldama y Chenalhó (5 de junio de 2019)

Chiapas: encuentran cuerpo del síndico de Aldama quien fungía como alcalde de dicho municipio (6 de mayo de 2019)


National: Mexico Sixth Most Dangerous Country for Environmentalists According to Global Witness; 12 Activists Killed in 2019

October 13, 2019

Environment@Cuartoscuro

According to data from the human rights organization Amnesty International, at least 12 environmental activists were killed in Mexico since the beginning of the year to date. Seven of those murders were carried out in the month of January alone. With five attacks in Oaxaca and four in Chiapas, these two states have become the most dangerous regions for environmentalists.

A similar process can be observed worldwide. After the Philippines (30 defenders killed in 2018), Colombia (24), India (23), Brazil (20) and Guatemala (16), Mexico with 12 is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders, according to Global Witness NGO reports. In 2017, 15 defenders were killed and in 2018 another 14.

The first victim of the year was Sinar Corzo Esquinca, a water, housing and health rights activist, who also defended the victims of the 2017 earthquake in Oaxaca and Chiapas. He died on January 3rd from gunshot wounds in Arriaga, Chiapas, after he was shot.

Among the other victims were the environmentalists Noe Jimenez Pablo, Jose Santiago Lopez, Rafael Murua Manriquez, Gustavo Cruz Mendoza, Samir Flores, Eulalia Lilia Diaz, Luis Armando Fuentes, Telosforo Santiago Enriquez, Jose Luis Alvarez Flores and the human rights lawyer Juan Quintanar Gomez, who was killed in the center of the city of Oaxaca on the way to his office.

“These attacks (against indigenous people) are almost 80% of the cases. In the case of Oaxaca, Puebla and Michoacan, 100% of those attacked are indigenous,” said Gustavo Sanchez, the director of the Mexican Network of Forest Farmers Organizations (MOCAF in its Spanish acronym).

Of the 14 activists killed in 2018, eleven were people from native villages according to Antonio Medina, representative of the Indigenous Tourism Network of Mexico (RITA in its Spanish acronym), given that 50% of Mexican territory belongs to indigenous peoples, meaning that a large part of the mines, material banks, water reserves and biodiversity of the country are part of their heritage and they are particularly affected by the megaprojects of the Mexican State.

In the face of the great aggression against environmentalists, the NGO Amnesty International recently launched the “No More Murders: Raise your Voice for Environmentalists in Mexico” campaign. According to its website, “it will be based on petitions, events and the dissemination of information and audiovisual materials through social networks, to denounce the murders of environmental defenders in Mexico.”

“This campaign is our way of highlighting the violence faced by environmental defenders in Mexico and recognizing their invaluable contribution to the health of the planet and the wellbeing of its inhabitants given the the disastrous effects of extractive exploitation, industrial pollution and climate change,” explained Erika Guevara Rosas, Director for the Americas of Amnesty International.

For more information in Spanish:

12 ambientalistas y defensores han sido asesinados este año; Oaxaca y Chiapas, los estados más peligrosos (Animal Político el 7 de octubre de 2019)

El 80 % de los activistas ambientales asesinados en México son indígenas (Infobae el 1 de agosto de 2019)

México, el sexto país más peligroso para defensores del medio ambiente; hubo 14 asesinatos en 2018 (Animal Político el 29 de julio de 2019)

México: Amnistía Internacional lanza campaña para urgir al Estado que proteja a las personas defensoras del medio ambiente (Amnistía Internacional el 1 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Environmentalist Nora Lopez Murdered in Palenque (August 27, 2019)

Chiapas: denunciation of criminalization against environmental activists in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (January 4, 2019)

Chiapas/Tabasco: Ecologist Jose Luis Alvarez Flores Murdered (June 17, 2019)

Chiapas: Denuncian ataque contra defensor de los derechos humanos en San Cristóbal de las Casas (10 de junio de 2019)

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

National: CEMDA 2017 Report Shows Increase in Vulnerability of Environmental Defenders (March 26, 2018)


Oaxaca: Conflict in Mixe Region between Inhabitants of San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla and Tamazulapam del Espiritu Santo Continues

July 31, 2019

MixePhoto @ Red TdT

Last June, in the framework of the commemoration of the second anniversary of the armed attack, perpetrated against residents of San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla, the Gobixha Human Rights Integral Defense Committee (Codigo DH in its Spanish acronym) and the National Network of Civil Organizations All Rights for Everyone (Red TdT in its Spanish acronym) visited the affected area.

The “attack” occurred on June 5th, 2017, the result of an agrarian conflict between the people of San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla and Tamazulapam del Espiritu Santo. During the conflict “Luis Juan Guadalupe lost his life. In addition, six people were injured by gunfire and four women were held and tortured by local authorities.”

Through a statement, the organizations announced that: “Two years after these events, we found that Ayutla Mixes do not have a connection to their spring (Jënanyëëj), because their water and pipe system was destroyed, causing lack of the vital fluid, mainly affecting children and older adults, who have consistently presented profiles of gastrointestinal diseases.” According to the statement, also, “attacks and disqualifications against defenders have been present, including Elena Gil, academic and defender of the Ayuuk language and culture, who has repeatedly received death threats, as well as other people in  the community who have been victims of aggressions and intimidation in order to silence them, details of which we reserve because of the fear they show.”

They mentioned that according to official documents “27 families of the community have been stripped of their homes and land by an agrarian invasion of more than 200 hectares that seeks to cross the boundaries recognized by both communities.”

In addition, they informed that, in the disputed spring “an installation has been built unilaterally by the state authorities, according to the complaint of the local authorities, to replace the one that was allegedly dynamited on August 25th, 2017 by Tamazupalam and that may collate with archive photos. Given these facts, the state authorities such as the Secretary General of Government (SEGEGO) and the Attorney General of the State of Oaxaca, have ignored and progress is unknown on the complaints filed, violating the right to security and physical integrity of the residents of Ayutla, and her access to justice, with investigations related to the law.”

Currently, Ayutla is still without water despite more than 30 meetings and a “historic agreement” between the two communities [which was denied by the Ayutla authorities]. Also, it should be remembered that recently, the General Secretary of Government (SEGEGO) sent the State Water Commission (CEA in its Spanish acronym) to reconnect the water to Ayutla.

Codigo DH and the Red TdT called:

  • “To the State Government to give priority to the solution to the agrarian conflict and guarantee at all times access to justice for victims, security against the risk of violence and new dispossession, as well as respect for the history and documents that keep the memory of the boundaries between both communities.
  • To the General Secretary of Government, we demand that you adhere to the agreements signed and recognized by both communities, including May 2018, to avoid new acts of violence and dispossession towards settlers who have suffered repeated violations of their human rights. We also demand the cessation of attacks and disqualifications against defenders.
  • To the State Water Commission to guarantee the completion of water reconnection works for Ayutla. It has been more than two years without a drinking water service that violates their human right to water and health, mainly for children and the elderly.
  • To the Attorney General of the State of Oaxaca, to continue with the investigations for the clarification and punishment of those responsible for the acts perpetrated on June 5th, 2017, guaranteeing at all times free access to their victims’ information.
  • To the Secretary of Public Security of the State of Oaxaca, to guarantee the security and help the population of San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla given the risk of future aggressions.
  • To national and international Human Rights organizations to be aware of the events that may arise in the following weeks.”

For more information in Spanish:

Para Ayutla no hay fiesta, ni agua; solo duelo, injusticia y riesgo de más violencia ante la inacción gubernamental (Codigo DH, 18 de julio de 2019)

Sin solución conflicto por agua en zona mixe (Imparcial Oaxaca, 26 de julio de 2019)

Justicia y agua, para Ayutla (NVI Noticias, 26 de julio de 2019)

Denuncian inacción gubernamental en Ayutla (Red TdT, 18 de julio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Enfrentamiento entre pobladores en la región Mixe. (June 8, 2017)