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)


National: Launch of National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory

April 15, 2016

EarthNational Campaign in Defense of Mother earth and Territory. @defensamadretierra

On April 10, the National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and Territory was launched in Mexico City to defend territory and combat the disinformation that exists in the country as regards dispossession. This campaign, made up of 179 organizations, collectives and associations, has three objectives for November 20 of this year: share struggles and stories of defense of Mother Earth to show how it is being destroyed and the importance of defending it; denounce how the destruction “is giving profits to the men of money, Mexican and foreign, and they call this predatory profit development and progress”; and also to make known alternative ways of life and government to show that “another way of life in society respecting Mother earth and our brothers” is possible.

The members of the campaign call on all towns, communities, neighborhoods and suburbs that suffer dispossession, destruction of Mother Earth caused by mining, petrol, and forestry projects, or that make water a merchandise; that struggle against agrochemicals, mono-cultivation, and preserve native seeds; that are being affected by pollution; that struggle against the privatization of beaches, mangrove swamps, lakes, forests and protected natural areas, to carry out actions as part of this campaign.

For more information in Spanish:

En defensa de la madre tierra (La jornada, 14 de abril 2016)
Invitan a sumarse a la Campaña Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra (Regeneración, 12 de abril 2016)
Convocatoria Campaña en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio (Serapaz, 11 de abril de 2016)
Alistan campaña en defensa de la tierra; realizarán acto en el Monumento a la Revolución (Proceso, 8 de abril 2016)


Justice for Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia. Protection for Gustavo Castro Soto

March 30, 2016

Berta y Gustavo.png

Berta Caceres and Gustavo Castro

DECLARATION

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Mexico

March 23, 2016

The organizations of the International Network of Accompaniment and Observation (Red de Organizaciones de Acompañamiento y Observación Internacional) condemn the murder of the human rights defender Berta Isabel Caceres, Lenca indigenous, general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – COPINH) and winner of the Goldman Prize for the environment (2015).

Likewise, we repudiate the murder of the leader Nelson Noe Garcia, member of COPINH, that occurred only 12 days later, despite the global indignation that the violent death of an emblematic and inspiring defender has provoked.

On the night of March 2, 2016, in La Esperanza, the main town of the department of Intibuca, Honduras, armed persons entered the home of Berta Caceres and murdered her, despite having protective measures granted by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).

Berta Caceres and other leaders of the organization have been systematically targeted for murders, death threats and violence for their defense of human rights. The main threats to COPINH and to Berta Caceres derive from her struggle against the “Agua Zarca” hydro-electric project, promoted by the company Desarollos Energeticos S.A. (DESA) on the river Gualcaraque. Berta Caceres was criminalized and tried for her defense of the river and the Lenca communities of Rio Blanco.

Gustavo Castro Soto, Mexican and member of Other Worlds Chiapas, of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining, and of the Meso-American Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4), who was in Honduras to take part in the COPINH Forum on the Indigenous Vision on Alternative Energies, was at the scene of the murder. Gustavo Castro was wounded in the attack but managed to survive. We are concerned that, to this date, he has been denied the possibility of leaving Honduras although he has collaborated as a witness in the crime investigations and he could continue to do so from Mexico, in this way avoiding the situation of risk to his person that he is exposed to while he remains in Honduras.

In the context of the violent eviction carried out by state forces, another member of COPINH, Nelson Noe Garcia, leader of the Rio Chiquito community in the municipality of Rio Lindo, department of Cortes, Honduras, was murdered on March 15. We unite to the pain of the families of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia and to the call for solidarity with COPINH.

We highlight the psycho-social impact that these events are causing in the community of human rights defenders in the region. We recall the multiple alerts previously sent out by social organizations and international bodies and the worrying discovery, according to the 2015 Global Witness Report, that 75% of environmental activists murdered in the world work in Latin America, Honduras being the most dangerous country.

In the countries where we operate as organizations of international accompaniment, we observe a critical situation for persons who defend land and territory, who are often confronted with criminalization, intimidation, harassment, defamation, threats and even murders.

Consequently:

  • We ask the Government of Honduras and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), within the framework of fulfilling measures of protection, for the immediate signing of an agreement of technical assistance, for the purposes of nominating a commission of persons who are experts, independent and have the trust of COPINH and of the family, with the aim that they supervise, support and participate in the investigations of the murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia, which are currently being carried by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
  • We ask the international community in accordance with the declarations released in the framework of the murder, to vigilate the situation of defenders in the Latin American region and to urge the governments of the countries of the region to guarantee the protection of defenders of land and territory.
  • We ask the Government of Honduras to carry out a speedy, deep and independent investigation of the murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia, that those guilty be brought to justice and that the lives and personal integrity of members are guaranteed.
  • We ask the Governments of Honduras and Mexico to take the necessary measures to guarantee the life, integrity and personal security of Gustavo Castro Soto.

International Network Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation

ACOGUATE; Guatemala

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Colombia

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Guatemala

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Honduras

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Mexico

Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, A.C. (Frayba); Mexico

FOR – Present for Peace; Colombia

Social Thought and Action (PAS); Colombia

PROAH; Honduras

Protection Desk; Colombia

International Service for Peace (SIPAZ); Mexico

Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR); Mexico