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

February 10, 2015

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Photo @ SIPAZ archive

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

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

For more information (in Spanish):

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

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

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

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

February 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

For more information (in Spanish):

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

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

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

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

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


Chiapas: Tensions maintained in San Sebastián Bachajón

February 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information (in Spanish):

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

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

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

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

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

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


Guerrero: IACHR calls on Mexican government to guarantee medical attention to Nestora Salgado, political prisoner from the Communal Police of Olinalá, Guerrero, held in federal prison in Tepic, Nayarit

February 8, 2015

Nestora Salgado (@Desinformémonos)

Nestora Salgado (@Desinformémonos)

On 28 January, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on the Mexican government to guarantee medical attention to the activist Nestora Salgado, a member of the Communal Police from Olinalá, Guerrero, who is at present being held in the federal prison of Tepic, Nayarit.

Nestora Salgado, 41 years of age, was arrested in August 2013 after individuals who had been arrested by the Communal Police that she led claimed to have been kidnapped.  A federal judge dismissed these charges in 2014, but several state-level charges remain against her to date.  In January, Rogelio Ortega Martínez, governor of Guerrero, requested that the state attorney general, Miguel Ángel Godínez Muñoz, suspend the charges against her.  However, the petition was ignored following pressure applied by the anti-kidnapping activists Alejandro Martí and Isabel Miranda de Wallace.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pide la CIDH atención médica para Nestora Salgado (Proceso, 2 de febrero de 2015)

CIDH pide a México garantizar atención médica a Nestora Salgado (La Jornada, 2 de febrero de 2015)

CIDH exige iniciar medidas cautelares para Nestora Salgado (El Universal, 3 de febrero de 2015)

La CIDH ordenó que se proteja a Nestora Salgado (Aristegui Noticias, 3 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Delay in release for Nestora Salgado; her daughter claims to have been threatened by phone (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: Death-threat directed against Nestora Salgado’s daughter and Communal Police commander from Olinalá (25 October 2014)

Guerrero: A year after Nestora Salgado’s arrest, organizations demand her immediate release (2 September 2014)

Guerrero/National: Emergence of Committee of Women for the Liberty of Nestora Salgado (2 September 2014)

Guerrero: Navy kidnaps coordinator of CRAC en Olinalá (13 September 2013)


Chiapas/National: Bishops of southern Mexico pronounce themselves on the “drama of migration”

February 8, 2015

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At the end of January, the Episcopalian Pastoral Commission for Human Mobility, part of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopals (CEM), held a three-day meeting in Tapachula with the participation of nine bishops working in the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Campeche, and Veracruz. At the end of the meeting, in the document entitled “No to Indifference before the Drama of Migration,” the bishops pronounced themselves, declaring that “the Church is not indifferent to this drama.  The constant calls from the Pope and the bishops in light of this reality are a voice for the conscience of Christians and those who should offer efficient responses to society before this situation.  This is a voice that is lamentably not heard, above all by those who with their criminal practices make each day that passes more painful and more insecure for so many of our Central America brothers.”

Furthermore, they emphasized that “to the authorities we want to remind them to address the question of migration with more gravity in all aspects: above all, working decisively to promote dignified sources of work, the only way forward to eradicate poverty, which is a fundamental factor in this human drama.  It is urgent moreover to find and guarantee physical and legal security for those who transit through our territory.  Hospitality and the human values of Mexicans cannot be allowed to continue deteriorating due to external political interests or pressures.  The policy in this country should be defined by the values and principles of solidarity and respect for human life and dignity, as enshrined in our Constitution.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento del CEM No a la indiferencia ante el drama de la migración (30 de enero de 2015)

Piden obispos a México y EU abrir las fronteras (Milenio, 30 de enero de 2015)

Obispos repudian plan Frontera Sur (Proceso, 30 de enero de 2015)

Piden obispos mayor atención y seriedad al tema de migración (Chiapas Paralelo, 31 de enero de 2015)

Infructuoso, el Plan Frontera Sur: obispos (La Jornada, 31 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)


Oaxaca: Third anniversary of movement against wind-energy projects in San Dionisio del Mar

February 8, 2015

© SIPAZ;  Parque eólico en el Istmo de Oaxaca

On 29 January, the Huave people of San Dionisio del Mar commemorated the third anniversary of their wind-energy resistance.  In this sense, there was held a march in which 500 people participated.  During a political act in the municipal auditorium, protestors reiterated their opposition to wind-energy projects in the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  Arturo Lona Reyes, bishop emeritus of the Tehuantepec Isthmus and a representative of the Tepeyac Center for Human Rights, celebrated a mass and affirmed that “the communal assemblies are the light in the darkness.”  Members of the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), the Revolutionary Popular Front (FPR), CIARENA, the Network Organization of Young Indigenous Women, the 21 June Mareños Mototaxi group, and the Mugier Ndyuck Civil Association were present at the action.

It should be recalled that in January 2012, following debate regarding the conditions under which a contract had been signed with the Preneal firm in November 2004, the communal assembly agreed to censure the mayor Miguel López Castellano after it was revealed that he had received 20 million pesos from the firm in exchange for an authorization of change in land use.  For the same reason, protestors decided to occupy the municipal palace.

An Ikjoot communard said in an interview with La Jornada that “the threat against our territory persists because the concession for the wind-energy park has no end-date.  Beyond this, now the PRI would like to open the door to more mining.  We know that there are six mining concessions for gold, salt, and other metals in San Dionisio, in the La Riqueza park, where they are attempting to build an open-pit mine.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pueblos impulsan su autonomía tras evitar construcción de parque eólico en Oaxaca (La Jornada 28 de enero de 2015)

Lucha por la autonomía en San Dionisio del Mar (Video Subversiones, 28 de enero de 2015)

Frente al extractivismo capitalista, San Dionisio del Mar lucha por la autonomía (Subversiones, 29 de enero de 2015)

Las asambleas comunitarias son esperanza en el Istmo: Lona Reyes(Quadratin Oaxaca, 29 de enero de 2015)

Cumple San Dionisio tres años de resistencia (Noticiasnet.mx, 29 de enero de 2015)

Huaves conmemoran tres años de “resistencia eólica” en el Istmo de Tehuantepec (La Jornada, 30 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Conflicts over extraordinary elections in San Dionisio del Mar (30 December 2014)

Oaxaca: Mareña Renewables to cancel wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (15 January 2014)

Oaxaca: Meeting of Peoples in Resistance for the Defense of Territory in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: Confrontation over supposed “approval” of wind-energy park in San Dionisio del Mar (8 January 2013)

Oaxaca: judge concedes motion against wind-energy project in San Dionisio del Mar (21 December 2012)


Guerrero: Marco Antonio Suastegui, opponent to the La Parota dam, is ordered to return to a Guerrero prison

February 8, 2015

Conferencia de prensa del 29 de enero de 2015 (@Tlachinollan)

Press conference, 29 January 2015 (@Tlachinollan)

In a press-conference on 29 January, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights reported that on 26 January, the third judge of the Acapulco district concluded that the penal authorities had no justification for the reasons provided for the transfer of Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, spokesperson of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota Dam (CECOP), to a maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit.  As such, the judge in question ordered Muñoz’s return to the Unión jail in the Isidoro de Montes de Oca municipality, Guerrero State.

It should be recalled that, on 17 June 2014, the CECOP spokesperson was arrested by ministerial police and transferred to Tepic, Nayarit, on the orders of the Guerrero State Secretary for Public Security.

Tlachinollan had solicited a motion in the case “considering that there is a systematic pattern in the employment of maximum-security prisons to punish and silence social activists and communal defenders who protect the exercise of their rights.”  The Center denounced that “the decision of the State Government implied an act that sought to repress and punish Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz due to his opposition to the construction of the La Parota hydroelectric dam and for defending his land.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín informativo del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (Tlachinollan, 29 de enero de 2015)

Ordena una juez trasladar a Marco Antonio Suástegui al penal de La Unión (29 de enero de 2015, La Jornada de Guerrero)

Exigen inmediato regreso de opositor de La Parota (El Universal, 29 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: The Navy has tried to arrest him, denounces brother of CECOP spokesperson (30 December 2014)

Guerrero: Attack on CECOP members leaves 5 dead (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Arrest of María de la Cruz Dorantes, CECOP member (25 October 2014)

Guerrero: demand for release of political prisoners in observance of the eleventh anniversary of CECOP (2 September 2014)

Guerrero: soldiers and policemen burst into the La Concepción Commmunity after a Cecop assembly in which the case of Marco Antonio Muñoz Suástegui was reported on (29 August 2014)

Guerrero: Arrest of a leader of the opposition to the La Parota Dam (23 June 2014)


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