Guerrero/National/International: UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) to evaluate the case of Mexico

February 10, 2015

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Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 2 and 3 February, the UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) evaluated the question of Mexico’s observance of its obligations, as stipulated in the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Forcible Disappearance, for the first time.  Relatives of two of the 43 disappeared students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, accompanied by a dozen Mexican human-rights organizations, arrived to Geneva to represent their peers.  They gave presentations at the United Nations and shared with the international community their profound indignation over the events of late September that took place in Guerrero state.  Bernabé Abraham Gaspar, father of Adán Abraham de la Cruz, one of the victims, emphasized that “for us, our sons are not dead.  They have been disappeared.  It is for that reason that we have come to the United Nations, so that you can help us find them.”

The CED has deeply questioned the Mexican State in relation to the actions and policies supposedly designed to prevent, investigate, and sanction forcible disappearances, as well as to search out the missing and protect their families.  In this sense, the Committee interrogated the State regarding the reasons for the closure of the FEMOSPP, an institution that had been charged with investigating the grave human-rights violations that took place during the “Dirty War” of the 1970’s, as well as the lengthy delay of the federal government in attending to the case of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.  The CED indicated that the Ayotzinapa case represents a serious challenge for the Mexican State, but that it also demonstrates a broader structural problem that has developed due to impunity. Stephanie Erin Brewer, coordinator of International Affairs at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, has indicated that the question of impunity has been present at all moments, given that the members of the Committee have indicated that there are exceedingly few cases in which sentences have been handed down.  She inquired into the reasons behind the closure of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Past Crimes and other events, such as the faulty classification of this type of crime.  The conclusions and recommendations for Mexico will be made public on 13 February.

For more information (in Spanish):

México ante el Comité contra la Desaparición Forzada: la obligación de hacer de la crisis actual un punto de inflexión en la política del Estado(Centro ProDH, 3 de febrero de 2015)

“Que no nos mientan más…que se haga justicia” (Alba TV, 2 de febrero de 2015)

INFORME | La Desaparición Forzada de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa frente al CED (Tlachinollan, 2 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders in México

February 10, 2015

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On 3 February, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a report that evaluates the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human-Rights Defenders, which has existed formally in Mexico for a little over two years.  While the report recognizes the “importance of the Mechanism and the courageous work done by the team that comprises it,” it also identifies a number of areas in which “improvements are needed, using several cases that will serve as examples to illustrate these weaknesses.”

The report details how Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and human-rights defenders: “During the first nine months of 2014, the Mexican section of the international organization Article 19 documented 222 aggressions against journalists; […] and between January 2011 and December 2013, the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Groups documented 27 cases of human-rights defenders being murdered as a result of their labor.”

The report on the Mechanism notes that, “since the beginning, the lack of personnel and funds has limited the capacity of the Mechanism to respond efficiently to urgent petitions it receives from journalists and human-rights defenders.  A large part of the constrained number of personnel who were initially assigned to the Mechanism have not been adequately trained, were insufficiently qualified, and had merely temporary contracts.”  It indicates that “there has been an accumulation of cases for the Mechanism, and the majority of the human-rights defenders and journalists who have submitted petitions to the Mechanism have had to wait many months, and on some occasions longer than a year, with no response.”

According to WOLA and PBI, there was seen “bad communication between the beneficiaries and the personnel of the Mechanism,” as well as a “lack of coordination among the different organizations involved in the process,” leading to “grave failures in the provision of protection.”

Both organizations lamented that the investigations linked to aggressions against journalists and rights-defenders “have not advanced,” thus maintaining a situation of near-total impunity in these cases.  They stressed that, worst of all, the government has deployed forces “to discredit and criminalize the rights-defenders and human-rights organizations,” hence sending the “worrying message that the government neither respects nor recognizes the courageous work of human-rights defenders.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El Mecanismo de Protección para Personas Defensoras de Derechos Humanos y Periodistas en México: desafíos y oportunidades (WOLA y PBI, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Periodistas y activistas están desprotegidos por el gobierno: WOLA y BPI(Proceso, 3 de febrero de 2015)

Gobernación no protege ni a periodistas ni a activistas: ONGs desde Washington (Sin Embargo, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)


National: Promotion of Citizens’ Popular Congress

February 10, 2015

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On 5 February, in observance of the anniversary of the entrance into law of the current Mexican Constitution, parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, together with Raúl Vera, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the priest Alejandro Solalinde, the poet Javier Sicilia, and the artist Francisco Toledo, together with members of human-rights organizations, churches, campesino organizations, and unions participated in the public presentation of the initiative for a Popular Citizens’ Constitution.  The organizational call notes in this sense that “we call on civil society, women and men, without importance to creed, gender diversity, or social class to advance with the refoundation of the nation; to progress toward the creation of a new constitution that bases elections on democracy, ensures that the representatives of a new congress be subject to the will of the people, and forever buries all types of juridical and economic forms of organization that merely make the people into commodities to be plundered.  This constitution must put an end to impunity, racism, and patriarchy.  To serve and to lead by obeying must be the new conditions of those who become representative of civil society.”

Following a series of sessions throughout the country during the past 11 months, the partisans of the Citizens’ Constitution explained the necessity of “refounding the country.”  Toward this end 20 points have been presented, including guarantees for human rights and union organizing, beyond the implementation of a convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

There was also announced a planned meeting on 21 March “to discuss the political reality of the countryin terms of the elections for this year.”  Beyond this, there was made a call for the First National Assembly of the Committee for National Refoundation that will be held on 2 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria Hacia la Constituyente Ciudadana-Popular (Regeneración, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Presentan activistas el “Primer Constituyente Ciudadano Popular”(Proceso, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Activistas y ONG presentan el “primer constituyente ciudadano” (La Jornada, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Solalinde, Raúl Vera y Sicilia presentan primer Constituyente Ciudadana(Vanguardia, 5 de febrero de 2015)


National/International: German activists reject security agreement with Mexico

February 10, 2015

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German activists in front of the Ministry of the Interior. Photo@México Vía Berlín

On 3 February, dozens of persons protested in front of the German Ministry of the Interior against a security agreement that is planned with Mexico.  The activists submitted a list of 7,830 persons who reject the support Berlin provides for police and juridical authorities in Mexico.  These signatures are the results of a campaign promoted by the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico which has repeatedly pronounced itself against this type of agreement given that, as it argues, conditions do not exist in Mexico for a collaboration of this type.  The petition’s website explains that “this agreement would not serve to regulate the police who are systematically torturing their people, killing innocents, and raping women, besides being involved in the forcible disappearances of tens of thousands of people for decades.”  In response to the German government’s argument that corruption is limited to the local and municipal levels, the activists note that “this is a disingenuous argument, to claim that the problems have to do with the local police […].  The impunity of the security forces is the functional reality of all levels of the Mexican government, and only in a very limited set of situations can it be broken using particular tactics.  For the German police to collaborate with these structures would be to legitimate the principle of impunity.”

Present at the protest was a Mexican delegation, which included the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera, and members of the Network in Solidarity Decade against Impunity.  After the protest, close to 40 activists met with officials from the Ministry, including Peter Steck and Siegfried Helmut Mueller. Bishop Vera handed over the list of signatures against the controversial security proposal and expressed the same sort of worry evinced by the other activists: “At this time, as Ayotzinapa has shown, the police, the Army, and organized crime act jointly together against the people of the country.  And the federal government knows that part of civil society disagrees with this, such that they feel insecure.  And this force that you are giving to the police will not be used to fight organized crime but instead people like us.”  For his part, Peter Steck promised the activists that he would transmit the information to be considered in the negotiations regarding the security accord.

For more information (in Spanish):

Campaña “No al acuerdo” de la Coordinación Alemana por los Derechos Humanos en México

Activistas rechazan en Berlín convenio de seguridad con México(LaJornada, 4 de febrero, 2015)

Obispo Vera pide al gobierno alemán evitar firma de acuerdo con México(Proceso, 3 de febrero, 2015)

Acuerdo de seguridad Alemania-México: inminente y poco transparente(Deutsche Welle, 8 de diciembre, 2014)

Los peligros del Acuerdo de Seguridad entre México y Alemania (eltoque, 4 de febrero, 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: update in the Ayotzinapa case (17 December 2014)


Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón

February 10, 2015

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On 29 January, ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón, Chilón municipality, adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, published a communique which reports that they will maintain their posture of defending their lands and that, toward this end, they have installed a regional headquarters for the ejido between the Agua Azul crossroads at the entrance of the waterfalls of the same name and the limits of the Tumbalá municipality.

They denounced furthermore that since the displacement operation they suffered on 9 January 2015, police presence has been constant, such that they have called on Governor Manuel Velasco Coello to immediately order the withdrawal of public security forces and to discontinue intimidation and repression.

They reported as well that the ejidal commissioner, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, together with his security advisor are organizing shock-groups that “fire into the night with high-caliber weapons,” thus frightening local residents.

They noted lastly that “private meetings are being held between the Chilón delegate Francisco Demeza Hernández and Carlos Jiménez Trujillo, a local deputy, to plan for [more] looting, such that our comrades are guarding the regional headquarters and are charging the quotas at the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls.  We hold the three levels of government responsible for any type of attack or confrontation that could develop.”

For his part, the “official” ejidal commissioner of San Sebastián Bachajón, Alejandro Moreno Gómez, has told the media that “at present we are being affected by a group of approximately 100 persons, men and women who hail from different municipalities of the state of Chiapas, adherents to an organization called the Other Campaign or the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, who have violently appropriated ejidal lands […].  We demand respect for the autonomy of the ejido and for non-violence.  They must put down their arms and opt for the path of dialogue and social peace.”

The first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth who went to visit San Sebastián Bachajón ein January stresses the attempt made by the ejidal commissioner to “portray these events as an inter-communal conflict that only has to do with the internal politics of the Bachajón community rather than the interests of the government and tourist firms.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado completo de las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón(29 de enero de 2015; incluyendo vídeo)

Piden menos violencia y más diálogo en Bachajón (Noticias.net, 29 de enero de 2015)

Ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón continúan en la defensa de su territorio, ante la amenaza de desalojo del gobierno de Chiapas(Desinformémonos, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: first report of the caravan of adherents to the Sixth to San Sebastían Bachajón after the violent displacement of 9 January (29 January 2015)

Chiapas: Indigenous ejidatarios from San Sebastián Bachajón are forcibly cleared from the entrance of the Agua Azul waterfalls (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatari@s of San Sebastián Bachajón recover control-point at the Agua Azul waterfalls (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón “occupy” control-point in Agua Azul before being displaced (25 June 2012)


Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society expresses solidarity with the relatives and comrades of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa

February 5, 2015


Familiares y compañeros de los estudiantes desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa, diciembre de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Relatives and comrades of the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa, December 2014 (@SIPAZ)

On 22 January, in observance of the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre, Chenalhó municipality, the Las Abejas Civil Society published a communique expressing solidarity with the relatives and comrades of the disappeared students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa in Guerrero.  With respect to the case, Las Abejas asked “how it is possible that the supposed president of Mexico and his collaborators repress the relatives and comrades of the disappeared students instead of engaging in a truthful investigation and applying punishment to those responsible for their disappearance?”  They noted beyond this that, if it was the case that the Army was involved in the atrocity, “why hide or cover this up–why do they fear?”

At the municipal level, the Las Abejas Civil Society denounced that Manuel Ansaldo Meneses, whom it indicates as being one of the “paramilitaries [who was responsible for] the Acteal massacre […] is requesting economic support for the other material authors of the massacre and those released from prison by the supposed ministers of justice of the Supreme Court [sic].”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Las Abejas 22 de enero 2015 (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de enero de 2015)

Las Abejas se solidarizan con Bachajon y Ayotzinapa y anuncian su presencia el 24 por Jtatik Samuel (Espoir Chiapas, 22 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots” (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (2 May 2014)

Chiapas: Case against Zedillo for Acteal massacre is dismissed (21 July 2013)


National: Peace Brigades International (PBI) publishes report, “Mexico at Peace? Security Strategy and Human Rights”

February 5, 2015

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On 21 January, Peace Brigades International, a non-governmental organization with 30 years of experience in international accompaniment and a permanent presence in Mexico since 1999, published its new report, “Mexico at Peace? Security Strategy and Human Rights.”  The document is based on interviews carried out by PBI with human-rights defenders who call into question a number of aspects of the federal government’s security strategy, particularly with regard to the “considerable role still played by the Army in public-security tasks, with no clear end-date [in sight].”

The new report stresses that, despite the official discourse, “PBI has not observed a Mexico at peace during the first two years of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, but rather can speak to the continuity of the problems related to public-security policies and their worrying effects on the respect for human rights in the country.”

The report has been presented publicly at a meeting attended by members of civil organizations who shared their concerns regarding the human-rights situation in the country, as well as diplomatic representatives from the German, Dutch, Canadian, French, Swiss, Norwegian, and European Union embassies.

In its conclusions to the report, PBI manifests its worry for the present context of insecurity and calls on foreign governments and their diplomatic representatives in Mexico to base their relations with Mexico on the state of Mexican human-rights defenders.  In this way, it also called on the Mexican State to recognize the importance and legitimacy of the work carried out by rights-defenders, to assure their physical and psychological integrity, and to implement effective measures of protection, both nationally and internationally.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe completo

Boletín de PBI México destaca consecuencias de la estrategia de seguridad para la defensa de DDHH (PBI, 21 de enero de 2015)

México, sin paz a pesar del discurso oficial: PBI (Centro ProDH, 22 de enero de 2015)

Repite Peña la lucha anticrimen del calderonismo, afirma grupo PBI (La Jornada, 22 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Peace Brigades International presents report on situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico (23 April 2013)


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