Chiapas: Zoque Communities Oppose Hydrocarbon Extraction in Northern Chiapas

October 24, 2016

reservesHydrocarbon reserves. Photo @Chiapas Paralelo

According to information published by Chiapas Paralelo, on October 18, the Secretary of Energy began a consultation process with the Zoque people of the municipalities of Francisco Leon, Ixtacomitan and Pichucalco, in the north of the state to open twelve hydrocarbon (oil and gas) wells that are currently up for bid and would cover around 80,000 hectares. According to the same source, the Center for Zoque Language and Culture, the presence of observers and specialists has not been permitted. The Center reported that “first they must report so that the ejidatarios analyze and consult on the impact with trustwortyh people, so they would have a period of internal consultation. Under these conditions a free and informed consultation is not being carried out.”

A week earlier, on October 12, the Movement of Indigenous Peoples in Resistance (MOPOR) said that most communities in the municipalities of Tecpatán and León Francisco oppose such exploitation. They reported that on October 7 a forum was held in Tecpatán, in which presidents of commissions and municipal officers expressed their opposition to the process. They held that in Tecpatán 60% of the communities are against mining and in Francisco León, 90%.

Juan Guerrero Hernandez, a member of MOPOR, demanded respect for the land and the indigenous peoples of Zoque ethnicity, and stressed that they are willing to defend their territory against this new attempt at dispossession.

For more information in Spanish:

Buscan autorización de pueblos zoques para abrir pozos de hidrocarburos en norte de Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de octubre de 2016)

Comunidades se oponen a extracción de petróleo (Cuarto Poder, 13 de octubre de 2016)

Pobladores de 2 municipios de Chiapas se oponen a 12 pozos petroleros (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2015)

Pueblos indígenas de Chiapas denuncian despojos de territorio por licitaciones para la extracción de hidrocarburos (m.x, 12 de octubre de 2016)

 

 


Oaxaca: Front Formed against Mining and Wind Farms on the Tehuantepec Isthmus

October 18, 2016

Tehuantepec.jpgMining in the Isthmus (@Diana Manzo)

At the end of a meeting held in San Pedro Tapanatepec, more than 500 people from seven municipalities of the Tehuantepec Isthmus (Chahuites, Tapanatepec, Ixhuatán, Reforma, Niltepec, San Francisco del Mar and Zanatepec) declared themselves against open pit mining that Canadian companies intend to install in 30,000 hectares of the eastern part of the Isthmus, including 19 thousand hectares of forest in Chimalpas. Given the predicted effects, they unanimously agreed to form a Regional Defense Committee Against Mining. They denounced that the government sold the permits without asking, violating rights.

It should be recalled that between 2005 and 2013 the federal government awarded five grants for a period of 50 years to three Canadian mining companies, including Minaurum Gold Inc., in the municipalities of Zanatepec, Chahuites, San Pedro Tapanatepec and San Miguel Chimalpas .

“It is not only the mines, we should not forget that wind farm company officials have reached the ejidos, from Arriaga to Salina Cruz, who want to convince [people]; there are already companies trying to install their wind farms on our land, but there is also a regional movement of compañeros in resistance,” said one participant.

For more information in Spanish:

No permitiremos minería en nuestro territorio: istmeños (EDUCA, 10 de octubre de 2016)

Integran frente contra mineras y eólicas en el istmo de Tehuantepec (NSS Oaxaca, 12 de octubre de 2016)

Crean movimiento de resistencia contra mineras y eólicas en el istmo de Tehuantepec (Regeneración, 12 de octubre de 2016)

Conforman alianza contra minera canadiense (NVI Noticias, 13 de octubre de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Se llevó a cabo Foro Regional “La minería en Oaxaca. Impactos sociales y ambientales” (29 de abril de 2016)

Oaxaca: Encuentro estatal de comunidades y organizaciones en resistencia a proyectos mineros (4 de febrero de 2016)

Oaxaca: Ejidos y comunidades de Valles Centrales declaran sus territorios libres de minería (4 de diciembre de 2015)

Oaxaca: Presenta ONU publicación sobre derecho a la consulta y megaproyectos (29 de junio de 2011)

 


National: March for Resignation of Enrique Peña Nieto

September 28, 2016

epnCall for march for resignation of Peña Nieto

On September 15, the symbolic commemoration day of “El Grito” – the cry for the Independence of Mexico – thousands of people responded to the call launched on social networks for a march to demand the resignation of Enrique Peña Nieto.

#RenunciaYa, is the hashtag with which this non-partisan demonstration was called for on social networks since September 2, just after the publication of the Government’s fourth report. Led by parents of the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, followed by farmers from Atenco, machete in hand, about 4,000 citizens, mostly young, began the #RenunciaYa protest, according to Animal Politico. The protesters left the Angel of Independence monument with the aim of reaching the Zocalo to face the president. However, at the Palace of Fine Arts, thousands of riot police, deployed by the Ministry of Public Security of Mexico City, blocked their passage. However, in the Zocalo, a small group of protesters who had managed get through started whistling and shouting slogans against the president just as President Enrique Peña Nieto appeared. According to La Jornada, “a young man showed a poster criticizing the federal administration and was immediately surrounded by elements of the Federal and Presidential Police. Some people demanded that the police allow the youth to express himself, to which they responded “we are only following orders.” Federal Police kept the young man surrounded until the fireworks ended, he was photographed and they made video of the youth and finally two policemen said they would accompany him to the exit.”

In Chiapas, the governor, Manuel Velasco Coello, did “El Grito” from an alternative site to the square of Tuxtla Gutierrez, as it was occupied by teachers opposed to the education reform bill.

For their part, the Las Abejas of Acteal Civil Society Organization, in their last statement, give several examples of why, according to them, “there is no longer independence.” They claim that, “this heroic and historic struggle for the independence of Mexico […] has been betrayed by the PRI governments and other political parties in Mexico who have been in power.” Because “The idea of the struggle, independence in 1810, meant that Mexico was independent, sovereign, democratic. […] However, the edge of that independence began to end with the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari with agreements and commercial, political and military treaties with neoliberal and capitalist countries, one of them is: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada.”

In addition, the Xinich’ Coordinator of Social Organizations remembered September 15 with a statement in which it demands the removal of Enrique Peña Nieto as an “incompetent” in addition to “delivering our nation into the hands of foreigners.” It also expressed support for the struggle of the teachers against the so-called educational reform and demanded “the repeal of structural reforms, justice for the people massacred at Viejo Velasco, Acteal, for the 43 disappeared student teachers of Ayotzinapa, for Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, compliance with the San Andrés agreements signed between the federal government and the EZLN…”

 In Oaxaca, in the state capital, the governor, Cué Monteagudo, did his sixth and last “Grito” from the balcony of the government palace amid shouts of “murderer” and “traitor”. According to Educa, “elements of the State Police prevented the entry of teachers from Section 22 into the square to give their alternative ‘Grito’ with teargas, sparking a confrontation”. At least 20 people sustained minor injuries.

For more information in Spanish:

En méxico ya no existe independencia, es por las mal llamadas reformas constitucionales (Las abejas de Acteal, 22 de septembre de 2016)

#Chiapas Xinich’ recordó el “15 de Septiembre” exigiendo la renuncia de EPN, la abrogación de las reformas estructurales y el cumplimientos de los “Acuerdos de San Andrés” (Koman Iles, 20 de septiembre)

Marchan para exigir la renuncia de Peña Nieto (La Jornada, a 16 de septiembre 2016)

15 de septiembre: Policías repliegan marchas en Oaxaca y Chiapas (Educa, a 15 de septiembre 2016)

Miles de personas dan el Grito en el Zócalo (La Jornada, a 15 de septiembre 2016)

Renuncia ya y los acarreados: dos marchas rumbo al Zócalo (Animal político, a 16 de septiembre 2016)

Hay apertura para la crítica, dice presidencia sobre posible rechifla a Peña durante el Grito (Animal político, a 14 de septiembre 2016)

15 razones para marchar y gritar #RenunciaYA (Animal político, a 6 de septiembre 2016)

Ciudadanos convocan a marchar hoy 15 de septiembre para exigir renuncia de Peña (Animal político, a 2 de septiembre 2016)

 For more information from Sipaz:

Nacional : cuarto informe del gobierno de Peña Nieto (12 de septiembre 2016)

 


National: Official Visit to Mexico of UNO Working Group on Business and Human Rights

September 26, 2016

ONU.jpgPavel Sulyandziga and Dante Pesce, United Nations Working Group, during the presentation of their preliminary report. Photo:@Jesús Villaseca.

From August 29 to September 7, two representatives of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights of the UN made an official visit to Mexico: Pavel Sulyandziga, a human rights defender of Russian origin, who currently serves as president of the Working Group, and Chilean Dante Pesce, who has a long history of working with civil organizations both nationally and internationally. The purpose of the visit was, first, to identify cases of damages to individuals, communities and the environment due to business activities. After, to promote respect for human rights on the part of any company implementing the three Guiding Principles of the United Nations on business and human rights. The first principle states that, “the State is responsible to respect, protect and enforce human rights.” The second defines that “companies must comply with the laws made by the state and respect human rights.” The third states that, “Those affected should have access to redress mechanisms.”

Prior to the arrival of the Working Group, more than 100 civil society organizations, groups, communities and academics prepared a report to give an overview of the situation at national level. This coalition documented 68 cases that show serious violations and abuses of human rights by the State and companies from different sectors, and a lack of access to remediation for victims. It shows that the most frequently violated rights are: to land and territory (32 cases), access to information (28 cases) and to a healthy environment (22 cases). The sectors where most abuses were documented were: mining (11 cases), hydrocarbons (9), energy (8), construction (8) and industrial agriculture (6). In addition, more than 50% of cases of intimidation and threats against opponents of business projects were documented.

During their ten-day visit, members of the Working Group went to Mexico City, the States of Mexico, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Sonora, where they held meetings with various actors: officials from the three levels of government; companies like Grupo Bimbo, Grupo Mexico, Cemex, Pemex and CFE; civil society organizations and human rights defenders. They also received 81 testimonies from individuals and representatives of communities affected by various business activities, lack of access to information and consultation and on behalf of victims of violations of labor rights, and victims of serious impact to their health and environment. In Oaxaca, they listened to indigenous communities in the municipalities of El Espinal and Juchitan de Zaragoza affected by wind farm projects, who claim that “the whole consultation process was considered defective, since windmills had already been installed in the region without any prior consultation.” In the State of Mexico, they visited the Otomi-Mexica indigenous community in San Francisco Xochicuautla, opposed to a compulsory purchase order issued in October 2012 without any prior consultation in order to build the Toluca-Naucalpan highway on their land. Despite obtaining a restraining order, the construction of the highway has continued with the approval of state and federal authorities. The representatives of the Working Group reported that the Grupo Higa, builders of the project, never responded to their request for an interview.

On September 7, members of the working group presented a preliminary report on the results of their visit at a press conference. At the conference, Pavel Sulyandziga said: “It became clear that the main concerns about human rights violations linked to business are related to improper exercise of due diligence by the government and companies in the design and implementation of large scale projects. These are mainly projects in the mining, energy, construction and tourism sectors, which often affect indigenous communities. “

Furthermore, the preliminary report addresses challenges regarding labor rights in the country to remedy “the precarious situation of workers hired temporarily, the lack of access to social security, low wages and a minimum wage which is currently below the level [of the cost of] the basic food basket and is not sufficient to allow workers to support themselves and their families”, and “the weak capacity of the labor inspectorate to effectively monitor compliance with labor standards. “

The final report will be submitted in June 2017, at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations Organization. Meanwhile, the Working Group calls on the Mexican Government to “advance transparency, consultation, due diligence and respect for people and the environment” and on companies to “maintain standards of human rights and avoid seeking profit from impunity, corruption and lack of transparency and accountability.” It concluded by saying that there is much to be done to improve the current crisis of human rights in Mexico: “greater efforts are needed to change public policies, practices, mentalities but also to foster a culture of transparency, integrity, ethical behavior and democratic values.”

 Para más información:


http://www.proceso.com.mx/452190/onu-verificara-respeto-a-derechos-humanos-en-empresas-gobiernos-mexico ( Proceso, a 24 de agosto de 2016)
Visita a México del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Empresas y DDHH: Puntos desde la Sociedad Civil (Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA), a 29 de agosto de 2016)

12 claves sobre la investigación de la ONU a empresas y los derechos laborales en México (Animal político, a 8 de septiembre 2016)
Boletín: El Estado mexicano debe cumplir las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos ( Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, a 08 de septiembre 2016)

Deberá acatar México recomendaciones de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos: ONGs (Aristegui Noticias, a 08 de septiembre 2016)

Declaración del Grupo de trabajo de Naciones Unidas sobre empresas y derechos humanos al final de su visita a México Ciudad de México, 7 de septiembre de 2016 ( Oficina del Alto Comisionada de las Naciones Unidad Derechos Humanos, a 09 de septiembre de 2016)

Concluye visita de grupo de trabajo de la ONU en México ( La Jornada, a 17 de septiembre 2016)

Para más información de Sipaz:

Nacional: Irrupciones en territorios indígenas para la implementación de megaproyectos: San Francisco Xochicuautla y Atenco (4 de abril de 2016)

Nacional: Xochicuautla obtiene cancelación de la autopista (17 de marzo de 2016)

Oaxaca: Indígenas zapotecos se amparan por violaciones graves al derecho a la consulta (21 de agosto de 2015)

 


National: Report Launch “Defending Human Rights in Mexico: Normalization of Political Repression”

September 6, 2016

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On August 24 last, the Mexico Cerezo Committee, the organization Urgent Action for Human Rights Defenders and the National Campaign Against Forced Disappearance presented the report Defending Human Rights in Mexico: Normalization of Political Repression, which covers the period from June 2015 to May 2016. The report indicates that 87 violations of the human rights of defenders which occurred in 2011, increased to 118 in 2012, 160 in 2013, 225 in 2014 and 302 in 2015. Another 35 were documented so far this year.

For the first time, the number of physical assaults surpassed that of threats and harassment of activists and human rights defenders, and also that Guerrero, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacan and Veracruz account for half of these abuses (293 attacks on activists of a total of 482). The fifth report included 41 death threats, three forced disappearances, 186 physical assaults, 55 evictions, nine cases where shots were fired and an equal number of damage to or theft of property.

The document notes that most of the violations are related to the promotion of various mega-projects, where activists and advocates accompany social movements fighting for their territory, water, forests and natural resources.

Commenting on the report, Jesus Peña Palacios, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, underlined the obligation of the government and its authorities to ensure the work of human rights defenders. Father Miguel Concha stated that “there is always a political intention to commit these violations.” Fernando Rios, Rights for All Network, denounced for his part the existence of a state policy characterized by insults, harassment and attacks against domestic and foreign defenders, as in the case of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) in the Ayotzinapa case.

 For more information in Spanish:

CONSULTA 5° Informe VDH: Defender los derechos humanos en México:- La normalización de la represión política (Junio de 2015 a mayo de 2016). (Comité Cerezo, agosto de 2016)

Concentran cinco entidades casos de agresión contra activistas: ONG (Revista Proceso, 24 de agosto de 2016)

Superan ya las agresiones físicas a las amenazas contra activistas (La Jornada Maya, 25 de agosto de 2016)

Aumentan ataques a defensores de DH debido a protestas contra reformas estructurales y caso Ayotzinapa: Comité Cerezo (Revolución 3.0, 25 de agosto de 2016)

Normalización de la represión política (La Jornada, 27 de agosto de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Nacional/Guerrero: Informes poco favorables sobre corrupción y derechos humanos en México (3 de febrero de 2016)


National/Oaxaca: World Day Against Opencast Mining

August 2, 2016

Mining.pngPoster for international day of struggle against mega-mining in defense of life and water. (Photo:@OtrosMundos)

In the framework of World Day Against Opencast Mining, which is commemorated on July 22, several events were held in different parts of the country. In Oaxaca, for example, groups in the isthmus region took part in the forum for “Strategies of Struggle for the Defense of Mother Earth and Territory” in the capital of Oaxaca. This event was part of the national campaign in defense of Mother Earth, which gives voice to the experience of hundreds of people preyed upon by mining projects in Mexico. Other collectives, the Lawyers and Defenders of Public Interest Collective, Common Borders and Greenpeace Mexico presented the manual “Protection of Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (PESCER) of Peoples and Communities Against Mining Megaprojects in Mexico” as a tool to address the abuses of mining projects throughout the country.

One day before, in the framework of resistance, communal and agricultural authorities, communities and organizations in Oaxaca and other Mexican states, met in Oaxaca to launch the State Rebellion Against Mining Day. They released a statement in which they expressed their “decision to fight together to stop these abuses and to affirm our own ways of living and governing ourselves.” They were worried “because these violations cause immense damage to Mother Earth and rip apart the social fabric of communities causing divisions and confrontations.”

In accordance with data published in El Universal in 2014, it is currently estimated that at state-level there is a concession of an area for 793,525 hectares for metal mining. As such, a fifth of Mexico has been given over to the mining sector. Marisa Jacott, Common Borders director, explained that “the massive destruction of natural resources caused by mining activities are manifold, such as air, water and soil pollution on a large scale; violent dispossession, repression and crime against forms of territorial defense and community organization; deteriorating health of local residents of mines; as well as the impact suffered by miners for working in high-risk conditions and the intensive use of dangerous materials and chemical substances.”

Due to this, the PESCER manual deals with the relationships and tensions caused by mining, and proposes that it is “from overexploitation, deterioration and allocation of natural resources that the Mexican State favors the profit of private and foreign interests over social [interests] and in this way breaks collective rights.” However, the manual proposes the use of legal and non-legal tools for communities to strengthen their struggle for the defense of their territory, heritage and health from the increase of predator mining in Mexico.

For more information in Spanish

Crean en Oaxaca Día contra la Minería y denuncian saqueo de transnacionales (26 de julio de 2016Ciudadanía Express, 26 de julio de 2016)

Concesiones mineras acaparan 47 mil hectáreas en el istmo (Istmo Press, 23 de julio de 2016)

En México 300 conflictos mineros vulneran derechos de los pueblos (Desinformémonos, 22 de julio de 2016)

Se concesionó a mineras 12.7% del territorio nacional, alerta Greenpeace (Diario contra poder en Chiapas, 21 de julio de 2016)

Presentan manual para la defensa de las comunidades frente a impactos de la minería en México (Greenpeace México, 21 de julio de 2016)

Manual de defensa de derechos económicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales de pueblos y comunidades frente a los megaproyectos mineros en México

Página de la campaña nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio

For more information from SIPAZ

Oaxaca: Se llevó a cabo Foro Regional “La minería en Oaxaca. Impactos sociales y ambientales” (29 de abril de 2016)

Oaxaca: Encuentro estatal de comunidades y organizaciones en resistencia a proyectos mineros (4 de febrero de 2016)

Nacional: Mitin ante Senado en el marco del Día mundial contra la minería toxica (25 de julio de 2013)


National: Head of Special Economic Zones Appointed

July 18, 2016

SEZMap of zones affected by SEZ. Photo: @EDUCA Oaxaca

On July 8, “while public attention was focused on the teachers’ problem and its political and social consequences, Enrique Peña Nieto openly confirmed the intention to privatize much of the ‘backward’ south on appointing Gerardo Gutierrez Candiani head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic zones (AFDZEE).” The new official presided over the Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) from 2009 to 2011 and the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) from 2012 to 2015. Julio Hernández López ffom La Jornada said that Gutierrez Candiani “ran a pre-campaign for the title citizen seeking Los Pinos [the presidency] and that the PRI made him candidate for governor of his native Oaxaca (which failed)”. He also said that “the handing over of the delicate project of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to a representative of businessmen means an open conflict of interest and a threat to the legitimate interest of the nation, especially if you take into account that the plan may make domestic and foreign businesses virtual executive authorities in certain regions, politically above state and municipal governments. “

Gustavo Castro de Otros Mundos, Chiapas, explains in an interview the owrkings of the so-called of SEZ, which are “like a country within a country, breaking and crumbling national sovereignty”. The purpose of the SEZ, according to Castro, is “to ensure the transnational of everything they need for extraction, for example, from Mexico, a special visa will be required to enter the SEZ, they will have their own structure, their own laws, their own autonomy.”

For more information in Spanish:

Privatizar el sur: Nombran a Gutierrez Candiani titular de Zonas Económicas Especiales (EDUCA, 11 de julio de 2016)

Astillero (La Jornada, 11 de julio de 2016)

Gutiérrez Candiani liderará Zonas Económicas Especiales (El financiero, 8 de julio de 2016)

Zonas Económicas Especiales resquebrajan soberanía: Gustavo Castro (Educa, 1 de julio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: El Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)