Chiapas: Zoque People’s Assembly against extractivism

September 20, 2018

@Padre Marcelo Pérez Pérez

On September 8, around 400 people from 22 communities held a Zoque People’s Assembly against extractivism in the community of Linda Vista, municipality of Ixtacomitán. The priests of Amatan, Simojovel, Rayón, Tapilula and Sta. Catarina (Solosuchiapa) invited by the Movement of the Zoque People of Faith in Defense of Life and Territory (ZODEVITE) were also present.

In the main decisions that were made are the agreements not to participate with Zoque representatives in the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples that Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) plans to create, a document to protest against the recent elected Deputy Humberto Pedrero, considering that he does not represent the Zoque people and to conduct a march against hydrocarbons on September 16 in Guayabal and on September 22, in Rayón.

For more information (in Spanish) :

Chiapas : Asamblea del pueblo zoque contra el extractivismo (Rebelión, 13 de septiembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Zoque People Mobilizing against Mega-projects in Chiapas July 3, 2017

Chiapas: Ejidos and Communities in the Zoque Area March against Mining Projects May 4, 2017


National/International: UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Publishes Report after Visit to Mexico

August 21, 2018


On August 9th, in the framework of International Day of Indigenous Peoples, the Special Rapporteur of the UN, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, published her report on her visit to Mexico in November 2017. This report will be presented to the Council of Human Rights of the United Nations in September 2018.

In the document, the rapporteur presented her main concerns and recommendations. In general terms, she warned that after the visit made by her predecessor in the post and despite the commitments subsequently made by Mexico, indigenous peoples continue to face serious challenges in the exercise of their human rights, which “reflects the considerable existing gap between the legal, political and institutional reality and the international commitments assumed by the country.” This, in “a context of profound inequality, poverty and discrimination of indigenous peoples that limits their access to justice, education, health and other basic services.”

In more specific aspects, she stressed that, “current development policies based on extractive megaprojects, energy, tourism, real estate, agriculture, for example, are a major challenge for the enjoyment of human rights of indigenous peoples.” “The lack of self-determination and prior, free, informed and culturally appropriate consultation, adds territorial conflicts, forced displacements, criminalization and violence against indigenous peoples who defend their rights,” she stressed.

The recommendations to Mexico point to the creation of “a new relationship between indigenous peoples and the State, based on equality, respect and non-discrimination.” “They also urge measures to solve the problems of violence and insecurity, as well as poverty, marginalization and structural discrimination,” the rapporteur said.

For more informaton in Spanish:

MÉXICO. Situación de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas en México. Informe de la Visita al país de la Relatora Especial ONU, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. Conclusiones y Recomendaciones (ONU, 9 de agosto de 2018)

Los pueblos indígenas de Guerrero en el informe de la relatora (CDH Tlachinollan, 9 de agosto de 2018)

Relatora de ONU sobre pueblos indígenas advierte sobre impacto de megaproyectos en México (El País, 8 de agosto de 20018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional/Internacional: Termina visita de la Relatora Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas a México (23 de noviembre de 2017)

Nacional – México: Visita de la Relatora especial de la ONU sobre derechos de los pueblos indígenas (8 de noviembre de 2017)

National: Mexican Alliance against Fracking Urges President Elect to Legally Stop the Activity

August 19, 2018

Fracking(@NO to Fracking Mexico)

In a statement published on August 7th, the Mexican Alliance Against Fracking (AMCF in its Spanish acronym) urged the president elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), and the legislators of the Coalition Together We Will Make History that when assuming their positions they legally prohibit the method of hydraulic fracture, known as fracking, to extract gas and oil in Mexico, which would bring into effect the declaration that AMLO made on July 31st against this extraction method. He stressed that in the near future, “the simple majorities of the Together We Will Make History in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies are enough to reform the Hydrocarbons Law or issue a General Law for the Prohibition of hydraulic fracture, from which the prohibition of this technique in the national territory will be formalized.”

The AMCF also called for a review of the existing contracts (91 were delivered by tender to private companies in the six-year term of office to be completed) and to formulate a moratorium on new contracts as well as an energy transition plan. It demanded that “no more bidding be carried out … until the future government presents an affordable, transparent plan with clear and defined times to gradually achieve the abandonment of all economic activities linked to the exploitation of hydrocarbons.” Finally, it requested “the opening of public negotiation tables on the extractive and energy policy of the next six-year term of office.” Meanwhile, AMLO recently announced in a forum with engineers that none of the contracts awarded during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto will be canceled.

For more information in Spanish:

Activistas demandan a AMLO prohibir legalmente el ‘fracking’ (La Jornada, 7 de agosto de 2018)

Pronunciamiento de la Alianza Mexicana contra el Fracking con respecto a declaraciones recientes de Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMCF, 7 de agosto de 2018)

Ambientalistas aplauden negativa de AMLO al “fracking”; piden que la prohibición sea permanente (Proceso, 7 de agosto)

AMLO dice que pondrá fin al ‘fracking’ para extraer gas y petróleo (El Financiero, 31 de julio de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : se lleva a cabo el Encuentro “¡Pueblos Vivos! ¡Libres del Extractivismo!” en Acacoyagua (23 de abril de 2018)

Guerrero: Se lleva a cabo el Encuentro Nacional contra el Modelo Extractivo Minero en Malinaltepec (16 de octubre de 2017)

Oaxaca: organizaciones y pueblos indígenas cuestionan las reformas peñistas al considerarlas un “despojo territorial legalizado” (23 de julio de 2014)

National/International: Global Witness Publishes “At What Price? Irresponsible Business and the Murder of Land and Environment Defenders 2017”

August 6, 2018

Global Witness.jpg(@Global Witness)

On July 24th, the international organization Global Witness, based in London, England, published the report “At What Price? Irresponsible Business and the Murder of Land and Environment Defenders 2017.” In reported that in 2017, 207 environmental defenders were killed in the world, making this year the bloodiest for this sector. It stressed that the victims were mostly indigenous and community leaders, as well as environmental defenders, who were killed or subjected to death threats, arrests, cyber attacks, sexual assaults and lawsuits. It acknowledged that the number of murders could be “much higher”. Latin America is the most dangerous region with 60% of cases.

In the case of Mexico, the country that ranks fourth in murders after Brazil, the Philippines and Colombia, the report noted that “collusion between companies and authorities and the presence of organized crime are factors that in Mexico affect the murder of environmental defenders, which multiplied between 2016 and 2017, in that it went from three cases to 15, 13 of them indigenous.” Global Witness also indicated that mining is the activity that generates the greatest number of cases of violence in the Mexican communities, followed by infrastructure projects.

During the presentation of the report in Mexico, in a video message transmitted through the Internet, Ben Leather, head of Advocacy of the organization, warned that, “the defenders who work on issues of land and defense of the environment face risks because they question big economic interests.”

He called on the next federal government headed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his transition government to address the problem “as a matter of priority”, and to guarantee the participation of communities and civil society organizations in decision-making about mega projects. He also asked to end the “impunity that permeates the cases of murdered activists, and that their activities to defend land rights become the main line of investigation to be followed by the courts.”

“We know that (Lopez Obrador) has said that his government will be one of human rights and without corruption, but it will be impossible if those who defend them are in situations of risk, if those who report are suffering assaults and murders and if they do not include them in their decision-making about the future,” Ben Leather noted. Finally, he stressed that it is important for other players to act to stop violence against environmentalists, including companies.

For more information in Spanish:

« ¿A qué precio ? Negocios irresponsables y el asesinato de personas defensoras de la tierra y del medio ambiente en 2017 » (Global Witness, libro completo, 24 de julio de 2017)

2017 es el año con más muertes registradas de personas defensoras de la tierra y el medio ambiente (Global Witness, 24 de julio de 2018)

Se multiplican en México asesinatos de defensores ambientales (La Jornada, 24 de julio de 2017)

Aumenta 400% asesinato de defensores del medio ambiente: Global Witness (Regeneración, 24 de julio de 2018)

En un año aumentaron 400% los asesinatos de defensores de la tierra en México (Animal Político, 24 de julio de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : CEMDA publica informe 2017 que indica incremento de la vulnerabilidad de defensores ambientalistas (7 de marzo de 2018)

Nacional : informes de organizaciones de derechos humanos contrastan con avances señalados en el Quinto Informe de Gobierno (7 de septiembre de 2017)

México: Amnistía Internacional presenta nueva campaña mundial en contra de la ola de ataques a defensores y defensoras (30 de mayo de 2017)

National: 20,390 Forcibly Displaced in 2017 – Over 329,900 in the Last 12 Years

May 11, 2018


On May 2nd, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH in its Spanish acronym) published a report on forced internal displacement in Mexico that indicated that in 2017, the climate of violence that prevails in the country caused 25 internal forced mass displacement events in nine states of the Republic, which affected 20,390 people. In the last 12 years at least 329,917 people have had to flee their homes, a figure that is “extremely conservative” as it only includes the cases in which entire communities have had to move. The CMDPDH estimates the figure could exceed one million people, although it affirms that the government has not published figures due to not wanting to “recognize the scale of the problem and the existence of an armed conflict.”

The report states that the states of Guerrero (seven cases), Sinaloa (five), Chihuahua (three), Chiapas (three) and Oaxaca (three) concentrated practically all mass displacement episodes registered in 2017. Chiapas was the entity where the phenomenon affected the largest number of people: 6,090, most of them originating in the municipalities of Altos de Chalchihuitan and Chenalho. 60.44% of the people affected were indigenous and the vast majority lived in rural areas

Of all the factors that led to forced displacement, the majority of them were caused by armed organized groups. Other causes were political violence, social conflict and territorial disputes and, to a lesser extent, the implementation of extractive mining projects.

The CMDPDH regretted that in Mexico the issue of forced internal displacement remains an issue without diagnosis, without public policies or official responses: “Internally displaced people do not have a framework of protection, they are like a kind of legal limbo where nobody confers them rights. The displaced people are left at the mercy of the will of local governments.” In addition, although it acknowledged the existence are two local laws, in Chiapas and in Guerrero, lack of regulations has prevented their proper enforcement to date.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe 2017 : Desplazamiento interno forzado en México (CMDPDH, informe completo, 2 mayo de 2018)

La violencia provocó el desplazamiento forzado de 20 mil 390 personas en 2017: CMDPDH (Proceso, 2 de mayo de 2018)

Más de 20 mil desplazados en México durante 2017; la mayoría, indígenas: Informe (Aristegui Noticias, 2 de mayo de 2018)

En 12 años, 329.9 mil víctimas de desplazamiento forzado en el país (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2018)

Los conflictos territoriales y la violencia llevan al éxodo a más de 12.000 indígenas en México (El País, 3 de mayo de 2018)

Por la violencia, más de 325 mil personas han dejado sus hogares a la fuerza en México (Animal Político, 3 de mayo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Persiste riesgo a la vida de indígenas tsotsiles en Aldama, denuncia el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (26 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: SIPAZ visitó a personas desplazadas de Chalchihuitán (20 de abril de 2018)

Guerrero: De la civilidad truncada a la desaparición de la razón, informe final de la Misión de Observación al Estado de Guerrero (16 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: Plantón desplazados ejido Puebla, Chenalhó (10 de abril de 2018)

Chiapas: Otro conflicto agrario en los límites de Chenalhó provoca desplazados en el municipio de Aldama [blog incluye antecedentes] (27 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas: desplazados de Chalchihuitán denuncian condiciones en las que se siguen encontrando(23 de marzo de 2018)

Chiapas : sin condiciones de seguridad regresan a casa más de 4000 desplazados en Chalchihuitán (4 de enero de 2018)

SIPAZ: BOLETÍN URGENTE – Reactivación del conflicto agrario entre Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán : violencia generalizada e impunidad (16 de diciembre de 2017)

Oaxaca: Here we say “Yes to Life, No to Mining” – Magdalena Teitipac is still fighting for its territory

April 7, 2018

Photo @SIPAZ

On February 23 and 24, SIPAZ was present at the Second State Meeting of Peoples, Communities and Organizations, “Here we say Yes to Life, No to Mining”, which took place in the Magdalena Teitipac community, Tlacolula, Oaxaca. The event involved 60 communities of the state of Oaxaca, 33 community authorities, and 36 organizations, who according to their declaration are “fighting for the defense of land and territory and against the imposition of the Extractive Model and of different megaprojects that violate the rights of the indigenous peoples and communities under the protection of Mexican laws”.

During the two days of the meeting, several testimonies of peoples in struggle for their territory were shared in order to “continue to strengthen our organizational processes in communities, ejidos, communal lands and municipalities.” Pronouncing themselves in favour of life”, they also inform of “harassments, persecution and murder of human rights defenders, as well as the strategies of violence that companies and the government have used to generate a climate of terror and fear to reduce the struggle of the communities and to control the territory where mining deposits exist through organized crime”. In addition, great concern was expressed about the recent approval of the Internal Security Law, which “clearly seeks to criminalize social protest to control the territory”, according to their final declaration.

The meeting, apart from the forum convened with its analysis panel and spaces of debate, was a commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the fight against mining by the community of Magdalena Teitipac, whose hopeful story goes hand in hand with the organization of the women of the town. Avispa Midia reports that after the decision of the assembly in 2013 to expel the mining company from its territory, it was “the determination of the women”, which “strengthened the community organization of Teitipac.” Lately it was the unity of the community that led to the success of their efforts and the withdrawal of the mining company.

For more information (in Spanish):

México: Magdalena Teitipac, un territorio donde las mujeres sostienen su lucha haciendo tortillas (Avispa Midia, 2 de marzo de 2018)


Denuncian que proyectos mineros traen violencia, despojos y desplazamientos forzados (Desinformémonos, 26 de febrero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: REMA Questions Report of UN Working Group on Corporations and Human Rights in Mexico June 28, 2017

National/International: Organizations and Defenders Take Urgent Action June 14, 2017

Oaxaca: COPUVO Denounces Harassment by Municipal Authorities and Mining Company May 15, 2017

National/International: Actions for International Day against Dams and in Defense of Rivers and Water

March 28, 2018

Dam.pngAction in Chenalho for International Day against Dams (@Otros Mundos)

Since 1997, in the framework of the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams held in Curitiba (Brazil), representatives of 20 countries declared March 14th as the Day of Action against Dams to denounce water management projects and demand equitable and sustainable management of rivers.

On March 14th and in this context, Intercultural Dialogue Days for the Territory and in Defense of the Rio Verde in the community of Paso de la Reyna, Jamiltepec, were held. There, a regional territorial organization process has been established since 2006 that brings together Peoples and Communities in the United Peoples Council for the Defense of the Rio Verde (COPUDEVER in its Spanish acronym) to face the Paso de la Reina Multiple Use Hydroelectric Project.

In Chiapas, the Civil Society Organization Las Abejas de Acteal carried out an action within the municipality of Chenalho, making flyers, painting on light poles and on walls along the roads “with the aim of informing and making the population aware of the projects of death that bad governments and capitalist companies introduce without consent in our territories.” In a statement, they ratified “before all the threats of the death projects that the big national and foreign capitalists want to introduce into our lands and territories, we tell them that they will not happen and hope their brain has the capacity to reflect that their ambitions and extractive dreams are mere projects of destruction and that have caused massacres and genocides, in order to forcefully impose their projects, hiring assassins such as: paramilitaries, gunmen, assassins and even soldiers themselves.”

Several organizations in Chiapas and Mexican and Latin American networks also spoke out against “the unlimited multiplication of dams of all sizes, from large scale works to so-called ‘mini-hydroelectric’ [dams], driven by the policies of the World Bank and other alleged “cooperation” and “development” international financial institutions, by the neoliberal structural reforms of the corporatized states, the discourse of “sustainable energy” and the creation of “clean development mechanisms.”” They spoke out against the almost 100 dam projects that exist in the state of Chiapas, including, among others, the expansion of the Chicoasen II and Angostura projects in the Zoque area, 19 mini-hydroelectric projects and the reactivation of the Itzantun project. They also spoke against the new draft General Water Law that “deepens the inequality between the population and the private sector in terms of access to water in the country, by putting the State at the service of [private] companies.”

For more information in Spanish:

Pronunciamiento de Las Abejas de Acteal en Día Internacional de Acción contra las Presas y por los Ríos, el Agua y la Vida (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 14 de marzo de 2018)

Día Internacional de Acción Contra las Represas: Celebramos los ríos de Chiapas y del mundo (OCS de Chiapas y redes mexicanas y latinoamericanas, 14 de marzo de 2018)

Celebran 14 comunidades la vida y la riqueza biocultural del Río Verde en Oaxaca (Vínculo informativo, 15 de marzo de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional : CEMDA publica informe 2017 que indica incremento de la vulnerabilidad de defensores ambientalistas (7 de marzo de 2018)

Oaxaca: Amenazan a la entidad 67 proyectos hidroeléctricos (12 de septiembre de 2016)