Chiapas: Civil Organizations Report on Observation Mission in Tapachula

November 24, 2019

Tapachula@Frayba

On November 21st, members of the Observation Mission of the Humanitarian Crisis of Migrants and Refugees in southeastern Mexico convened a press conference at the facilities of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) in San Cristobal de Las Casas to report on the impacts of Mexico’s migration policy at the southern border.

They pointed out that “the asylum system in Mexico faces a growing collapse” because the immigration authorities fail to give a quick response to all applicants.

“The office of the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR in its Spanish acronym), based in Tapachula, has collapsed, which has caused migrants seeking asylum to have to stay longer in that place without work and in conditions of helplessness.”

According to Brenda Ochoa, director of the Fray Matias de Cordova Human Rights Center, immigration policy is a social criminalization policy. In Tapachula, migrants are subject to detention by the National Guard because they do not have the possibility of leaving the city. They reported abuse and arbitrary detention of both families and minors.

They also mentioned that while they were at the immigration station in Tapachula they experienced harassment from security agents who took the photos and names of members of the Mission.

Another aspect discussed at the press conference is the change in the profile of migrants due to the arrival of many people from several countries in Africa. Angeles Mariscal, also a member of the Mission, highlighted the vulnerability of around 1600 African migrants. “They had their passports confiscated, they have a hard time understanding Spanish,” said the journalist. He said his situation is much more difficult because “they had no way of communicating, they were not allowed to leave.”

The representatives of the Mission reported a very tense climate in the migratory station due on the one hand to temperatures of up to 40 degrees causing dehydration, and on the other, due to the lack of restroom and food services. Another aspect that plays a very harmful role in the context is the participation of media that send xenophobic, racist and discriminatory messages against the migrant population, for example accusing them of being carriers of diseases such as Ebola.

A woman from Nicaragua who was forced to flee her country because of political persecution also attended the press conference. She said that she arrived in Mexico on June 9th together with her husband and 15-year-old son and that she was detained at an immigration checkpoint in Tuxtla Gutierrez. Although COMAR approved her refuge request, she has not received a response to date. “We are unemployed, renting a house and my son without access to education. […], If you don’t have the conditions to house the migrants, don’t stop us and let us continue”, she also asked the Mexican government.

For more information in Spanish:

Sistema de asilo enfrenta colapso (Cuartopoder el 22 de noviembre de 2019)

Conferencia de prensa en vivo (Frayba el 21 de noviembre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Autoridades migratorias frenan a caravana de migrantes en Tapachula (14 de octubre de 2019)

Chiapas: Migrantes africanos chocan con Guardia Nacional en Tapachula (4 de octubre de 2019)

Internacional/Nacional: El Alto Comisionado de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR) termina gira en México, mientras protestan migrantes africanos en Tapachula (1 de octubre de 2019)

Chiapas: Elementos de la Policía Federal Agreden a Migrantes y Periodistas en una Estación Migratoria en Tapachula (28 de agosto de 2019)

Chiapas: Organizaciones de DDHH piden alto a las detenciones de niños, niñas y adolescentes migrantes (23 de mayo de 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: CNDH solicita medidas a favor de personas migrantes (16 de abril de 2019)


Chiapas: EZLN Calls Encounter in Defense of Land and Territory

November 24, 2019

EZLN

“Capitalism, in its current neoliberal stage, takes on increasingly monstrous forms, declaring a open war against humanity and against the earth, our mother. The current economic development, based on a planetary scale in the prominence of financial capital that dominates entire peoples, nations and continents; supported by the large military and extractivist industry; growing through real or fictitious wars, the profusion of organized crime, as well as invasions and coups, is leading, in its insatiable logic of capitalist accumulation and consumption, to a limit that endangers the conditions of human life on the planet.”

In a statement the EZLN convened the FORUM IN DEFENSE OF TERRITORY AND MOTHER EARTH.

It will be held on December 21st and 22nd, 2019 at Caracol JACINTO CANEK (CIDECI of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico).

The four areas to be discussed will be:

  1. Environmental devastation and destruction of Mother Earth in today’s capitalism: a diagnosis.
  2. Dispossession of indigenous, peasant and urban territory, dispossession of common goods, wars of occupation, extractivism and organized crime: growing aggressions.
  3. Capitalism and patriarchy: structural violence against women and mother earth.
  4. Construction of anticapitalist and antipatriarchal alternatives: our struggle is for life.

 For more information in Spanish:

CONVOCATORIA AL ENCUENTRO EN DEFENSA DEL TERRITORIO Y LA MADRE TIERRA, EZLN, 21 de noviembre de 2019

 

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Nacional/Internacional: EZLN invita a participar en el “Combo por la Vida: Diciembre de Resistencia y Rebeldía” (7/11/2019)

Chiapas: EZLN convoca al Segundo Encuentro Internacional de Mujeres que Luchan (20 de septiembre de 2019)

Chiapas : EZLN anuncia creación de nuevos Caracoles, Municipios autónomos, Centros de Resistencia Autónoma y Rebeldía Zapatista y varias iniciativas más (19/08/2019)


International/National : Un Human Rights Committee Issues 48 Human Rights Recommendations for Mexico

November 12, 2019

UN

On November 7th, at the end of Mexico’s sixth periodic review of the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations (UN) issued 48 recommendations.

Among the main ones, the Committee gave the Mexican State a period of two years to “advance in the process of formation of the National Guard as a civil institution.” It expressed concern “for the militarized nature of law enforcement in general, including the National Guard, and for the lack of a clear timetable on the withdrawal of military force in civic security tasks.”

On the other hand, it lamented the lack of progress in the case of the forced disappearance of the 43 students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa (Iguala, Guerrero, 2014) and urged to “strengthen the research capacity and independence of all the actors involved in the investigation, including prosecutors and experts, as well as ensuring the consolidation of the accusatory system and the autonomy of the institutions of law enforcement.”

A third recommendation, also with a period of two years to assess progress, is the situation of vulnerability of journalists and human rights defenders. The Committee requested that more resources be allocated towards the prevention of aggressions towards these two sectors as well as an exhaustive investigation in case they occur.

Another concern raised is the mistreatment of migrants, including cases of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, enforced disappearances, extortion, trafficking, murder and other crimes, in a context of increased migration flows from Central America to the United States and pressures from US government to the Mexican government to stop them. It expressed concern about the widespread use of detention many times by force. It also said it was concerned about the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols, which require that asylum seekers in the United States remain in Mexican territory during their processing.

On a positive note, it valued the approval of laws such as the Law to Prevent, Investigate and Punish Torture or the Law on the Forced Disappearance of Persons (both from 2017), although it regretted their slow application. In the case of the General Victims Law, it considered its implementation “insufficient” and therefore urged “the State party to provide the bodies responsible for applying the General Victims Law with the necessary resources, adequate training and effective control mechanisms so that victims of human rights violations promptly receive comprehensive reparation… The State party must also ensure, even through legislative reforms, a fast and efficient procedure to achieve legal recognition of the quality of victims.”

For more information in Spanish:

Comité de Derechos Humanos Observaciones finales sobreelsexto informe periódico de México (CCPR, 7 de noviembre de 2019)

Señala ONU violación de derechos de migrantes en México (La Jornada, 7 de noviembre de 2019)

ONU le da dos años a México para desmilitarizar la Guardia Nacional y resolver caso Ayotzinapa (Animal Político, 7 de noviembre de 2019)

La ONU-DDHH pide desde Ginebra a México desmilitarizar la Guardia Nacional y apurar caso de los 43 (Sin Embargo, 7 de noviembre de 2019)

Desmilitarizar la Guardia Nacional y resolver caso Ayotzinapa pide ONU a México (Radio Formula, 8 de noviembre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

Internacional/Nacional: Alta Comisionada de la ONU para Derechos Humanos expresa preocupación ante varios pendientes en derechos humanos en México (5 de septiembre de 2019)

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

National: Consultative Council on Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (April 11, 2019)

National: Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Reviewed (March 31, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Condemns Murders of Defenders and Journalists in Chiapas and Baja California and Questions Efficacy of Government Protection Mechanism (January 31, 2019)


National/Chiapas: INM offers public apology to four indigenous migrants from Chiapas

November 11, 2019
whatsapp-image-2019-11-07-at-13.38.03

@Proceso

On November 7, in the Hall of Fine Arts in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the National Institute of Migration (INM) offered a public apology to four Tzeltal indigenous people from Chiapas who were detained, tortured and almost deported by INM elements. In 2015, the two men and two women were on their way north, looking for work in one of the country’s several industrial crops. Presenting their birth certificates and their electoral identification at a checkpoint in San Juan del Río, Querétaro, “INM agents told them they were false, took them to a migratory station and told them they were Guatemalans; they mistreated them so that they would admit to being from Guatemala”, explained María Fernanda Pincus, director of the Legal Clinic of the University program of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). One of the victims was still a minor at the time of the arrest.

Accompanied by the Municipal President of San Cristóbal, Jerónima Toledo Villalobos, Francisco Garduño Yáñez, commissioner of INM, apologized to the legal representative of the victims, Gretchen Kuhner, for the violation of their human rights and the “damage to the image, honor and dignity“, of the 4 people. “They were not present at the ceremony because they want to maintain a private life, but it was very important that a public apology be made because it is not something that happens only to them; they said we don’t want it to happen to us, but neither to other people”, said María Fernanda Pincus. According to Gretchen Kuhner, the victims accept the apology.

As consequence and in an administrative process, two deputy directors, an agent, a coordinator and two heads of department were punished with suspensions between 15 and 30 days. “Through me, the Institute is committed to guaranteeing measures of non-repetition, so that the acts that violated the human rights of these people do not happen again”, Garduño Yáñez said. He added that the end of non-repetition “translates into prevention through the sensitization of public servants attached to the INM, on issues related to indigenous communities and the urgency of its members to migrate to other parts of the country.” According to María Fernanda Pincus, in addition, there will be “reparation of the damage in economic terms, because they were going to work in the north of the country as agricultural day laborers and they will be paid what they missed earning in those days.”

Mario Peña, also from the Legal Clinic of the UNAM’s University Program on Human Rights, pointed out that “there are no conditions to know who are Mexicans and who are foreigners. We have noticed that people in vulnerable conditions with little command of Spanish are more affected and that they are not provided with an interpreter of their language in migration procedures”.

For more information:

Pide el INM disculpas a indígenas tzeltales por agresión en retén (La Jornada, November 7, 2019)

El INM ofrece disculpa pública a indígenas chipanecos confundidos con migrantes (El Proceso, November 7, 2019)

Ofrece INM disculpa pública a 4 indígenas de Chiapas (El Heraldo de México, November 7, 2019)

Ofrecen disculpa pública a tzeltales torturados en 2015 (EL Universal, November 8, 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: Effort to Protect Migrants “Lasted a Few Months”, UNHCHR (November 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula (October 17, 2019)

National/International: CSOs Denounce Poor Conditions in Provisional Migration Centers in Chiapas (October 13, 2019)

Chiapas: African Migrants Clash with National Guard in Tapachula (October 8, 2019)

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

National/International: Mexico and US Reevaluate Migration Agreement after Three Months; Disagreement over Desired Outcomes (September 23, 2019)

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


Guerrero/National: Obtilia Eugenio Receives National Human Rights Award 2019

November 7, 2019

ObtiliaObtilia Eugenio Manuel (@SIPAZ)

On November 1st, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) reported in a statement that the Ombudsman Obtilia Eugenio Manuel was awarded the 2019 National Human Rights Award, in recognition of her “outstanding track record in effective promotion and defense” of the basic guarantees.

Leader of the Me’phaa Indigenous Peoples’ Organization (OPIM in its Spanish acronym), founded in 2002 to defend the rights of the Tlapaneco peoples of the state of Guerrero, Obtilia has stood out for denouncing abuses committed by Mexican Army personnel against indigenous peoples, in particular in the case of sexual violations committed by military personnel against indigenous women, Valentina Rosendo Cantu and Ines Fernandez Ortega. Being a member of the Community Municipal Council of Ayutla de los Libres, and together with her partner Hilario Cornelio Castro, she was kidnapped in February of this year although both were found alive a few days later. She has denounced that those responsible were people linked to construction companies and organized crime groups, in retaliation for denouncing the implementation of works in an apparently irregular fashion in that municipality.

The CNDH also reported that the awards council gave a posthumous honorary mention to Margarito Diaz Gonzalez, environmentalist, marakame (religious leader) and defender of the sacred sites of the Wixarika people in Nayarit, who was killed on September 8th.

The agency indicated that “the Award Council unanimously approved the opinion of the Jury by means of an agreement adopted at its second ordinary session on October 30th of this year, and also provided that said agreement be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, in the Official Gazette, on its website and be disseminated in the mass media.”

As for the award ceremony, it said that the ceremony “will be held on the day determined by the federal Executive.”

For more information in Spanish:

Premio Nacional de DH, para la activista indígena Obtilia Eugenio (La Jornada, 1ero de noviembre de 2019)

A Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, el Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2019 (Proceso, 1ero de noviembre de 2019)

Reconoce CNDH a Obtilia Eugenio con el Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Ahora Guerrero, 1ero de noviembre de 2019)

La CNDH reconoce a Obtilia Eugenio con el Premio Nacional (El Informador, 1ero de noviembre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero/Internacional: CIDH llama a investigar la desaparición de los defensores de derechos humanos Obtilia Eugenio Manuel e Hilario Cornelio Castro (February 28th, 2019)

Guerrero: Fueron liberados Obtilia Eugenio Manuel e Hilario Cornelio Castro (February 18th, 2019)

Guerrero: OPIM Inició una Caravana Solidaria de Busqueda para Obtilia Eugenio Manuel e Hilario Cornelio Castro. (February 15th, 2019)

Guerrero: Disappearance of Obtilia Eugenio Manuel and Hilario Cornelio Castro Indigenous Activists and Members of OPIM Reported (February 14, 2019)


Chiapas/Mexico: Mexican Offers Public Apology to Indigenous Women Raped and Tortured by Military in Chiapas in 1994

October 22, 2019

ApologyPhoto: chiapasparalelo

On October 18th, a public apology was given in the central square of Ocosingo by the Mexican government to the Gonzalez Perez sisters for sexual torture 25 years ago.

On June 4th, 1994, soldiers deprived Ana, Beatriz, and Celia Gonzalez Perez, and their mother Delia Perez of their freedom when they tried to cross a Mexican Army checkpoint in Jalisco ejido, municipality of Altamirano. The military accused them of being members of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish acronym), and punished them for this, raping them.

They were arrested and for two hours, through sexual torture, they tried to force them to declare themselves members of the armed group and to betray other people. They resisted and, when released, criminally denounced the facts, were subjected to examinations showing evidence of gang rape, but the case was taken over by martial law and closed, denying access to justice.

In 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) declared the responsibility of the Mexican State, demanding punishment for those responsible and reparation for the damage to the victims.

After 25 years, in the public square of the municipality of Ocosingo, through the voice of the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, and the undersecretary of Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, the Mexican government apologized to the Gonzalez Perez sisters, before some five hundred people, including public officials and inhabitants of the region.

During the event, the great absentee was the Mexican Army, the institution to which the men whom the sisters identified as their torturers belonged. Ana, Beatriz, Celia and their mother Delia, demanded during all these years, that they be military commanders who recognize the facts, who apologize and who are brought to justice. In Ana’s words: “This act of public apology is not really an act of public apology because we clearly said that we wanted representatives of the SEDENA to be present for them to ask us for a public apology, because they were the ones who committed the grievances. This public apology is not complete.”

In the indigenous normative system, it is the person responsible for the crime who must ask for forgiveness, because it is their identification before the community. Ana insisted that they reject the presence of military personnel in indigenous areas. “We do not want the military in our villages, because the government says they are the ones who protect us, but on the contrary, they are the ones who hurt us.”

Among the agreements that Olga Sanchez Cordero, Alejandro Encinas and the indigenous women signed, is to continue the investigation to bring to trial the soldiers involved. However, they insisted that this process not be individualized, and assume that the rape was not an independent or autonomous act committed by the soldiers, but an institutional action that obeyed a war strategy against the EZLN.

For more information in Spanish:

El Estado mexicano ofrece disculpa pública a indígenas torturadas y violadas por militares en Chiapas, Proceso, 18 de octubre de 2019

Ofrece el Estado Mexicano disculpas a indígenas violadas, La Jornada, 18 de octubre de 2019

Gobierno mexicano ofrece disculpa a indígenas violadas por el Ejército en 1994; “¿dónde está Sedena?”, preguntan ellas, Aristegui noticas, 18 de octubre de 2019

Video: Disculpa Publica Y Reconocimiento De Responsabilidad Que Ofrece El Estado Mexicano Ocosingo Chiapas, Youtube, 18 de octubre de 2019

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Public Act of Recognition of State Responsibility in Gonzalez Sisters Case Announced (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas: Tzeltal Women Tortured and Raped by Military in 1994 Denounce Total Impunity (June 9, 2019)

Chiapas: Indigenous Tzeltal women raped by the Mexican Army accept “compensation” with conditions (October 25, 2010)


Chiapas: Migration Authorities Stop Migrant Caravan in Tapachula

October 17, 2019

Migrants@Daniel Zacarias

On October 13th, 2019, elements of the National Migration Institute (INM in its Spanish acronym) as well as the Chiapas State Police and the National Guard launched an operation to stop a caravan of migrants, which started early in the evening.

Around five o’clock in the morning between 1,500 and 3,000 Central American, Caribbean and African migrants, including young people and children, left the “Miguel Hidalgo” central park of Tapachula, Chiapas, heading to Tijuana. They intended to make a stop in Mexico City and organize a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to ask for his help and accelerate their migration processes.

To date, the National Institute of Migration and the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR in its Spanish acronym) have not responded to their requests: they ask that they be granted an Office of Departure or regularize their stay one way or another. That is why thousands of migrants have been stranded for several months in the Tapachula immigration stations without employment and basic services.

The caravan moved rapidly along the state’s coastal highway that leads to the southern state of Oaxaca towards Huixtla, its first planned stop. It crossed two checkpoints guarded by State Police and the National Guard, one of them being the Viva Mexico bridge where they shouted “Goodbye, Tapachula!” in front of the public forces.

Around 4:30 p.m. 30 kilometers from the point of departure, at Xochiltepec community, the caravan was stopped by elements of the INM, the State Police and the National Guard. Migrants were surrounded by the authorities, causing them to flee among the bushes, pastures and agricultural crops. Before that, about 150 had been assured that they were behind the caravan and were transferred to the Siglo XXI Migration Station in Tapachula.

Luis Garcia Villagran, lawyer and activist for the rights of migrants, who accompanied the caravan said: “They came on us like there was a war, rather there is a sordid war here. I was with my wife and about 200 agents arrived, between Migration and National Guard. We showed them that they all brought documentation, that they were all shelter applicants. Then the pulling began, the pulling changed to beatings. They even took children to the hospital.”

However, the official INM statement states that its officials “convinced” foreigners to return to Tapachula using trucks provided by the authorities, or on foot along the road. It says that “with full respect for human rights [the INM] carried out actions to invite foreign people who made up the contingent that left the city of Tapachula to go to the Institute to know the options to regularize their stay in the country.”

It also said that all the migrants who participated in the caravan were transferred to the Siglo XXI Migration Station while the activist Irineo Mujica, president of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, said that about 300 were locked in Siglo XXI, another 280 in Tuxtla Gutierrez and a small Group of 90 in Huixtla. Cases of family separation were also recorded.

This caravan was the first mass migration movement since Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ratified an agreement with Donald Trump, president of the United States, which aims to contain illegal migration and occurred after numerous protests made by migrants in Tapachula, demanding that the authorities expedite their paperwork so that they can continue their journey to the United States.

For more information in Spanish:

Nueva caravana de migrantes sale de Tapachula, Chiapas (Multimedios, el 12 de octubre de 2019)

Frenan autoridades caravanas de migrantes (Cuarto Poder, el 13 de octubre de 2019)

Las autoridades mexicanas paran una caravana de casi 3.000 migrantes, incluyendo cubanos (14 y medio,l 13 de octubre de 2019)

Guardia Nacional bloquea caravana de migrantes africanos en Chiapas (Animal Político, 13 de octubre de 2019)

Migración detiene y encierra a solicitantes de refugio pese a tener papeles (Animal Político, el 14 de octubre de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: African Migrants Clash with National Guard in Tapachula (October 8, 2019)

International/National: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ends Mexican Visit while African Migrants Protest in Tapachula (October 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Federal Police Attack Migrants and Journalists at Migration Center in Tapachula (September 2, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)