Oaxaca: Communities Affected by “San José” Mining Project Occupy SEMARNAT Offices

March 5, 2017

Communities affected by mining project occcupy SEMARNAT Photo @EDUCA

On February 28, commissions from various communities of the Ocotlan Valley United People’s Coordinator (COPUVO) and the Magdalena Ocotlan Defense Committee against Mining, demanded a halt to the work of the Fortuna Silver Mines (FSM) mining company in a demonstration at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). They managed to be received by the SEMARNAT delegate, Tomas Gonzalez Illescas, who assured them that the body that he directs “has not granted any permission to the mining company and that therefore the establishment of an investigation would correspond to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) and, if applicable, sanctions that could lead to the cancellation of the concession.” For their part, a representative of the community of San Martin de los Cansecos warned: “The communities and ejidos are organizing, and we will not allow them to make explorations and expand the mining project.”

It should be noted that since 2014 the mining company FSM, through its subsidiary Cuzcatlan, “carries out illegal exploration for the “San José” mining project, as SEMARNAT has assured that it has not granted permits for these actions.” For this reason, on November 8, 2015, at a regional assembly, their territories were declared free of mining and they decided not to allow any exploration and mining work on their ejidos. In spite of this, on November 24 last, “the WSF company proposed a technical study to SEMARNAT with the objective of conducting direct mining explorations in zones of agricultural use within the mining concession Progreso II.” The area where the mining company intends to conduct explorations is also an area for recharging aquifers, so permitting exploration permits constitutes a serious environmental threat. Faced with such a situation, the affected communities submitted a letter to SEMARNAT on December 1, “demanding that said authority deny authorization … because of the impact that such work would have on our communities”, which has not yet received a response.

 For more information in Spanish:

NIEGAN SEMARNAT Y PROFEPA PROTEGER TERRITORIOS EN OCOTLÁN Y EJUTLA FRENTE A PROYECTO MINERO (EDUCA, 28 de febrero de 2017)

Toman SEMARNAT comunidades afectadas por proyecto minero San José (EDUCA, 28 de febrero de 2017)

Denuncian zapotecos indolencia oficial frente al avance de proyectos mineros en Oaxaca (Proceso, 28 de febrero de 2017)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: A 3 años del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez, Fortuna Silver espera mayores ganancias (26 de mayo de 2015)

Oaxaca: presentan el informe “Justicia para San José del Progreso” (11 de marzo de 2014)

Oaxaca: Misión Civil de Observación a San José del Progreso (Noviembre de 2012)

Oaxaca: Asesinato del vocero de la Coordinadora de los Pueblos Unidos del Valle de Ocotlán (17 de marzo de 2012)

 


Chiapas: FDPS Suspends Dialogue with Government until El Puntal Is Closed and Other Concessions Repealed

March 1, 2017

FDPS.png(@Otros Mundos)

In a communiqué issued on February 16, the Popular Front in Defense of the Soconusco June 20 (FDPS in its Spanish acronym) reported its decision to suspend the working tables maintained with representatives of the government of Chiapas since October 2016 for breach of agreements reached. This will be until the “Casas Viejas” (titanium) mine of El Puntal company is closed and 13 other mining concessions in the municipality are repealed.

For 143 days, members of the FDPS have established a camp in Acacoyagua (where the “Casas Viejas” mine is located) “seeing that the mayor of Acacoyagua, Mr. Patricio Eli Matias, was not complying with the Declaration of the Municipality Free of Mining, which he had signed in August 2015. This document commits him to revoke the “Casas Viejas” license and the two other active mining projects in the municipality, in addition to not granting licenses to the remaining ten mining concessions in Acocayagua.”

On suspending the process, the FDPS denounced that “the role of government institutions is to act in favor of the rights of the inhabitants in the face of their violation; it should not be to promote deterrence techniques for the benefit of companies, nor to find solutions that allow the mining company to evade its responsibilities.” They explained that, “we will not participate in work spaces with the government of Chiapas that foment community division and the defamation of our movement and our members. We will not lend ourselves to political games that dilate the attention of our demands for the violation of our rights by the mining companies and by government institutions, such as SEMARNAT, which through its environmental policy permits the exploration, exploitation And pollution of our natural assets, of water and the land.”

They concluded by the same token that, “We will continue to call for the demands of the population: a municipality free of mining, dams and geothermal projects; a territory with free rivers and land, healthy, where we can sow and produce; a territory with families without diseases, without conflicts, without the purchase of consciences and where the project of development and of life is decided by the organization and the self-determination of the peoples.”

 For more information in Spanish:

A 143 días de campamento, el FPDS salimos de las mesas de trabajo con el gobierno por ignorar nuestras exigencias (Comunicado del FPDS, 16 de febrero de 2017)

Sin mesas de trabajo con el gobierno: FPDS (Somoselmedio, 17 de febrero de 2017)

Gobierno de Velasco Coello, protege a empresas mineras y fomenta división comunitaria: FPDS (Revolución 3.0, 18 de febrero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Chiapas : desde hace más de 15 días, habitantes del Soconusco mantienen bloqueo carretero contra proyectos mineros(12 de octubre de 2016)

Chiapas: nueve municipios declaran sus territorios libres de minería e hidroeléctricas (11 de diciembre de 2015)


Chiapas: “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” Declares itself against Presence of Environmental Gendarmerie in Lacandon Jungle

December 16, 2016

Forum.pngForum in Amador Hernandez (Photo@Noe Pineda)

On December 5, the “Forum on Defense of the Earth, Life and Territory” was held in the ejido of Amador Hernandez, in the Municipality of Ocosingo, Lacandon Jungle. About 1,000 people from communities in the region analyzed the problems they are experiencing, including several agrarian conflicts.

In their final declaration, they said: “We are against the introduction of the Environmental Gendarmerie and their entry into our territory. From now on we state that in the case that the corresponding authorities do not take our disagreement into account … we will carry out more actions against the introduction of the Environmental Gendarmerie until we are heard.”

They questioned whether the presence of the Environmental Gendarmerie “for the supposed care and conservation of the environment” responds to other objectives: “We know that the true objective of this security force is a strategy for the destruction of our communities, our cultures and our organizations, it represents the violation of our rights and that its true intention is to guarantee the entry of transnational corporations dedicated to the extraction of natural resources for the benefit of big capital.”

According to the authorities, the Environmental Gendarmerie will “have the mission of preventing administrative crimes and faults in environmental matters, due to its security and police operational model.” It is envisaged that it will be installed in 61 points of the country, among others, the Lacandon Jungle, Montes Azules and the monarch butterfly reserves, Pico de Orizaba, Nevado de Toluca and Tulum.

It should be noted that on the same day, President Enrique Peña Nieto was in the Lacandon Jungle in the framework of an activity, which was part of the COP (Conferences of the Parties) 13 under the heading “Integrating Biodiversity for Wellbeing”. In that context, he instructed the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development to prevent the regularization of irregular settlements; and the Secretariats of Energy and Economy, to ensure that there are no hydrocarbon or mining explorations or holdings in the region.

For more information in Spanish:

Con la amenaza de la instalación de la Gendarmería Ambiental se realiza Foro sobre Defensa de la Tierra en Amador Hernández, Chiapas (Serapaz, 7 de diciembre de 2016)

Pueblos de Chiapas dicen no a la Gendarmería Ambiental (Somos el Medio, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Se pronuncian en contra de la Gendarmería Ambiental comunidades de la Selva Lacandona y Montes Azules (Desinformémonos, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Peña Nieto destaca acciones para preservar la Selva Lacandona (La Jornada, 5 de de diciembre de 2016)

Los de abajo (Artículo de opinión, La Jornada, 10 de diciembre de 2016)

COP 13- Conservación y áreas de salvaguarda, la cara más reciente del modelo extractivo en México (Otros Mundos, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Despliegue de elementos de la División de Gendarmería en 6 estados de México (3 de septiembre de 2014)


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)