National/International: Two Defenders of Migrant Human Rights Arrested

June 11, 2019

Migrants@La Jornada

On June 5th, Irineo Mujica, director of the organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) and defender of the human rights of migrants for 15 years, and Cristobal Sanchez, the first in Sonora and the second in Mexico City, were arrested for “their probable participation in the commission of possible crimes in the matter of migration”, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic (FGR in its Spanish acronym) reported. Both are accused of human trafficking under Article 159 of the Migration Law, allegedly for having introduced foreigners without documentation in Mexico and profiting from it.

For several years, the organization People Without Borders (PSF in its Spanish acronym), formed by Central American, Mexican and American lawyers and activists, supports migrants trying to reach the United States. It is not the first time that it has denounced an attempt of criminalization. The most recent was in February when the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sanchez Cordero, accused PSF of being one of those that “recruits” Central American migrants to participate in the caravans that have trie to cross Mexico to the United States since October 2018.

Human rights and support organizations for migrants, such as the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center and the Collective for Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights in Southeast Mexico, denounced that these arrests represent “a form of criminalization against defenders of the human rights of migrants persons, who have carried out activities in the context of the migrant Exodus and undermines the right to defend rights. The arrests are added to a series of criminalizing statements made by the federal government against the Caravans, as well as the defenders who accompany them and who have participated in the documentation of human rights violations against migrants, all of which occurred in the context of political and economic pressure that the US government makes against the Mexican government to use all its armed strategies to “stop” migration from Central America.” They demanded respect for the due process rights of the two defenders.

Meanwhile, under pressure from US President Donald Trump, detention and deportation operations continue to stop irregular migration in southern Mexico. In the month of May alone, Mexico arrested 22,694 undocumented migrants, and deported 15,654. This last figure represents an increase of 119% compared to May last year and up to 220% compared to the same month in 2017.

For more information in Spanish:

FGR imputa delitos en materia migratoria a Irineo Mujica y Cristóbal Sánchez (Aristegui Noticias, 6 de junio de 2019)

¿Por qué detuvieron a Irineo y Cristóbal, defensores de derechos de migrantes? (Animal Político, 6 de junio de 2019)

Denunciamos la detención arbitraria de defensores de derechos humanos de personas migrantes

(Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Mexicano, 6 de junio de 2019)

Autoridades federales frenan a nueva caravana de migrantes; detienen a casi 400 personas en Chiapas (Animal Político, 5 de junio de 2019)

Presionado por Trump, México aumenta las detenciones y deportaciones de migrantes (The New York Times, 4 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/National/International: Observation Mission Concludes “Southern Border Is Silent Torture”(June 9, 2019)

Chiapas/National/International: Human Rights Organizations Demand End to Child and Adolescent Migrant Detentions (May 26, 2019)

Chiapas: First Depolyment of National Guard in Chiapas at Siglo XXI Migration Center (May 23, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: OSC presentan el “Informe del monitoreo de derechos humanos del éxodo centroamericano en el sureste mexicano: octubre 2018 – febrero 2019” (May 3, 2019)

National/International: CNDH Requests Special Measures for Migrants (May 8, 2019)

National/International: Contrasting Mexican and US Government Approaches to Central American Migration (April 2, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Secretaria de Gobernación se reúne con funcionarios del gobierno de Donald Trump para abordar el tema Migración (March5, 2019)

International/National: Registration of Humanitarian Visas for Migrants Closes (February 12, 2019)


Oaxaca/International: Oaxaca Consortium Presents Damian Gallardo Case to UN Committee against Torture (CAT)

May 26, 2019


On May 16th, the Oaxacan organization Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity filed a complaint with the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) within the framework of the 66th period of sessions of that body, for torture and serious violations of the guarantees of the defender of human rights, Damian Gallardo Martinez from his detention on May 18th, 2013 until his release on December 28th, 2018. It is worth noting that, since 2002, one of the powers of the CAT is to be able to hear individual complaints.

Consortium explained that by resorting to this mechanism “justice is sought not only in the individual case but to generate a precedent that transcends and ends with the criminalization of social protest and the use of torture in arbitrary arrests of defenders in Oaxaca.” It recalled that “Gallardo Martinez was arbitrarily detained on May 18th, 2013, within the framework of the criminalization of the teachers’ struggle and social protest, deployed during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto against opponents of the “educational reform””; and that “during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, at least 141 arbitrary detentions of defenders in Oaxaca have been documented.”

Consortium also emphasized that “in the case of the state of Oaxaca, there is not a single sentence for torture to date”; and that “at national level, sentences are also very rare.” It indicated that in the case of Gallardo Martinez, after six years of denouncing torture, “progress in the investigations is null and void”, which is why it “decided to seek justice at the international level by filing a complaint with the United Nations.”

The complaint asked the CAT to urge the Mexican State to prosecute, and punish with appropriate penalties all state agents and authorities responsible for violations of the Convention Against Torture as well as to fully compensate for the damage suffered, including “a public acknowledgment of responsibility that impacts on the cessation of the criminalization of social protest in Oaxaca”; among other demands.

For more information in Spanish:

Denuncia ONG a México ante la ONU (Vanguardia, 18 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncia al Estado mexicano por tortura (NVI Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)

Frente a impunidad en el país se denuncia ante la ONU a Estado Mexicano por Tortura en el caso de Damián Gallardo Martínez (Consorcio, 16 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca : Exigen atención para 33 personas defensoras de derechos humanos bajo procesos judiciales (3 de agosto de 2018)

Nacional/Oaxaca: German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico (April 10, 2017)

Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damian Gallardo (December 30, 2014)

Oaxaca: 16 months after the imprisonment of Damian Gallardo, and following call from the UN, there is no response from the Mexican State (October 12, 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Assault on teacher Damian Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco (June 13, 2014)

Chiapas: Indigenous Prisoner Released after 16 Years Awaiting Sentencing and 60 Days Hunger Strike

May 26, 2019

Chiapasparalelo: After 16 years without sentence and 60 days on hunger strike, tortured indigenous prisoner is released

On May 14th, 60 days after starting a hunger strike along with five other companeros, Juan Perez Alvarez was released from the Social Reintegration Center for the Sentenced No.10 (CERSS 10) in Comitan de Dominguez, having spent 16 years in detention. His release was granted for penitentiary benefits of work and conduct.

The indigenous argued that he was arrested in 2003 without an arrest warrant, while moving to his place of work, then, was approached by security authorities to force him to sign blank papers and self-incriminate under torture for a crime he did not commit.

Given the irregularities of his arrest and accusation of kidnapping, Perez Alvarez decided to start a hunger strike, despite being diabetic, which represented a serious risk to his health and life.

The Working Group “No Estamos Todxs”, an organization that accompanies prisoners, warned about the fact that the Public Ministry can appeal the decision to release him, and therefore they ask him to present himself within 20 days, which could lead to his detention again.

“It has been 16 years and two months of life stolen, long years in which our compañero has had to live separately from his family, deprived of seeing his children grow up. Years of confinement and injustice that there is no way to recover, serious damage to his life and integrity, impossible to repair”, the Working Group stated.

They, also spoke about the situation of the prisoners who are still on hunger strike since March 15th to say that Adrian Gomez Jimenez, a hunger striker imprisoned in the CERSS no. 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas, had to be transferred on May 22nd to the Hospital de las Culturas, in the same locality, for a severe infection in the urinary tract due to dehydration and a decrease in his defenses that derive from the lack of food intake.

For more information in Spanish:

Tras 16 años sin sentencia y 60 días en huelga de hambre, liberan a indígena torturado, Chiapasparalelo, 22 de mayo de 2019


For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Six Prisoners Resume Indefinite Hunger Strike in San Cristobal and Comitan Prisons (May 17, 2019)

Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons (May 15, 2019)

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)

Chiapas: Six Prisoners Resume Indefinite Hunger Strike in San Cristobal and Comitan Prisons

May 17, 2019

Hunger strike@SIPAZ

On May 13th, a press conference was held by the organizations The Voice of Indigenous in Resistance (La Voz de Indigenas en Resistencia), The True Voice of Amate (La Voz Verdadera del Amate) and Viniketik in Resistance (Viniketik en Resistencia), their families, the working group No Estamos Todxs and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights to announce the resumption of an indefinite hunger strike by six people “in the absence of an adequate response from the government.” Six indigenous prisoners had begun a hunger strike on March 15th this year, demanding their immediate release and denouncing the conditions of life inside the prison in terms of food, health, security and justice. Shortly after, another seven prisoners joined the strike.

In a subsequent press conference, on April 12th, they announced that their hunger strike became a partial fast while a negotiating table with the government was opened. However, this process did not prosper: “We make public that our relatives and we have been the object of mockery and object of lies on the part of the Government by named: Ismael Brito Mazariegos together with the President of the Reconciliation Table, because last April 15th they asked our relatives to lift the hunger strike in exchange for the review of our files and followed by our freedom, but we gave an “show of trust” demonstrating our trust by making the strike a fast, eating every three days, so that a period of 20 working days was given. The Reconciliation Board emphasized that it would take them ten days, but like any official they do not care about our physical health, but we have not seen satisfactory answers from them.” The prisoners added that “they have faced discrimination and have witnessed that the government did not comply with the necessary measures to guarantee access to justice” and that “they do not have an adequate defense, because they are in a situation of cultural, social and economic marginalization.”

In addition, they questioned the absence of an “in-depth investigation” of the accusations of torture and fabrication of files that is “an everyday practice” and “habitual with which it locks people up and that immediately dismantles all that discourse of ‘Rule of Law’ with which fill the mouth and bags (sic.).”” The State seeks to perpetuate torture with its denial,” they denounced.

The conference took place 18 days after the presentation of the “Alternative Report of Civil Society Organizations of Mexico” before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) on torture in Mexico. This report confirms that “there are structural causes, scale and specific characteristics of torture committed against indigenous people and peoples.” The UNCAT will present its conclusions on May 17th.

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado de regreso a la huelga de hambre ante la falta de respuesta adecuada del gobierno (Grupo de trabajo No estamos Todxs el 14 de mayo de 2019)

Inician presos huelga de hambre en Chiapas (El Universal el 13 de mayo de 2019)

Reos indígenas reinician huelga de hambre; alegan detención ilegal y tortura (El Proceso el 14 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncias por tortura no se investigan en Chiapas (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas el 13 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons (May 15, 2019)

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)

Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons

May 15, 2019

Hunger strikePrisoners’ relatives (@“No estamos todxs” Working Group)

On May 7th, the “No estamos todxs” Working Group published a statement on the situation of prisoners on hunger strike almost 60 days after starting it.

It recalled that on March 6th, six prisoners in different prisons of the State of Chiapas initiated this action demanding “justice and immediate and unconditional release,” with seven more inmates initiating an indefinite strike three days later. At the same time, relatives and friends, ex-prisoners and different civil and social organizations began “dissemination, accompaniment and denunciation activities, adding to the same demands.”

The Working Group again denounced that “the legal processes of these people are plagued by irregularities and serious violations of their human rights. Arbitrary arrests without arrest warrants, humiliation of dignity, fabrication of crimes, statements extracted under torture, lack of translator, loss of files, violation of the right to an adequate defense, delays of up to 14 years in obtaining a sentence, lack of presence of the accusatory party, among others.”

Before the strike, the state government opened a dialogue process between March 20th and 29th to address the following issues: review and study of the files and files; improvements in the conditions of the strikers (ending isolation, degrading treatment, threats and coercion); as well as investigation and immediate, effective and adequate documentation of the cases of allegations of torture. The relatives left the negotiating table after that, noting in a press conference “the discrimination they felt on the part of government interlocutors and the lack of real interest in solving the demand for freedom.” They demanded the state and federal government to create a “suitable space, with competent authorities and decision-making capacity that could fully meet the demands of this process of struggle”

On April 10th, a new process of dialogue began in which the state government asked to review the files without additional “pressure” from the strikers. By that time, 20 people were participating in the process, and “symbolically” agreed to give the authorities 20 days to show progress, a deadline that ends on May 13th. Meanwhile the strikers decided to eat food every third day “so that their agency has the capacity to return to the hunger strike in case their demands are not heard.”

The Working Group affirmed that to date “beyond the administrative management of the conflict itself, there has been no progress in concrete responses. Alluding to the workload, the holiday period, the difficulty of the agenda and communication problems with other agents necessary for progress, they have been delaying the processes and avoiding giving concrete answers about the real situation of the evolution of the procedures to find a solution to the conflict.”

It is worried that, “there is nothing to suggest an exit other than the extreme action of a hunger strike demanding justice and freedom. Everything points to the integrity, health, safety, life of these people, as well as their freedom, it is not something that is on the agenda of the government. The changes, of which they boast so much in their speeches, do not seem to coincide with the reality of their actions and that the only alternative in the search for justice is to risk life to try to achieve it.”

For more information in Spanish:

A casi 60 días del inicio de la huelga de hambre en los penales del Estado de Chiapas y sin respuestas concretas en la resolución del conflicto (Grupo de Trabajo “No estamos todxs”, 7 de mayo de 2019)

Sin respuesta, presos indígenas se mantienen en huelga de hambre (Sie7e de Chiapas, 8 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike

May 7, 2019

Hunger strike.png@SIPAZ

On April 12th, 30 days after the beginning of the hunger strike by 13 prisoners in several prisons in Chiapas, a press conference took place in the cathedral square of San Cristobal de Las Casas, which was convened by the working group “No Estamos Todxs”, the relatives of the prisoners and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights.

After a month of consuming only water and honey, the state of the health of the participants on the strike is getting worse. To date, all have lost “between seven and 12 kilos”, some suffering from “prolonged diarrhea” for the quality of honey “at least questionable” according to the families of the prisoners. “We have witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional deterioration of our colleagues. (…) How their faces was transformed, their expression, how their skin was losing color and each time they felt colder due to lack of calories and how each time the fatigue was stronger and more devastating”, informs the working group “No estamos todxs”

They also report several repressive measures suffered by the prisoners. The detainees in the CERSS # 14 are in “semi-isolation” that “does not allow them access to the internal visits of other prisoners, or go out to the patio to take the sun or walk.” In addition to denouncing the lack of attention to several health problems, they also pointed out that several attempts have been made to “persuade prisoners on hunger strike to give up their action, even with repression and beatings, as on March 30th, when the striking prisoners Marcelino Ruiz Gomez and Valdemar Gomez Hernandez of CERSS # 10 suffered an aggression after sewing their mouth.”

Regarding their demands, the prisoners have proposed “to have direct and effective dialogue with a resolutive capacity that could meet the demand for immediate freedom that our colleagues request (…) And it is 20 days that our colleagues want to give so that this negotiating table can carry out the task of studyig the case files.” For the moment, “they are going to turn the hunger strike into a partial fast while waiting for the results, staying even firmer, if that is possible, in the struggle for their freedom”, but “they will return, if needed, with all the strength and determination that is necessary (…) they will not stop, they will not give up, they will not surrender.”

For more information in Spanish:

Palabras de la conferencia de prensa (No estamos todxs, 12 de abril de 2019)

Trece indígenas presos en Chiapas suman 26 días en huelga de hambre (Animal Político, 10 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Presos en Chiapas cumplen tres semanas en huelga de hambre (El 5 de abril de 2019)

Chiapas: Ya suman 13 los presos en huelga de hambre, 21/3/2019

Chiapas : seis presos indígenas inician huelga de hambre (16 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Liberan a Diego López Méndez, preso de la organización Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (13 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike

April 8, 2019


The 13 prisoners on hunger strike in different prisons in Chiapas have now entered their fourth week on this protest. Their health situation is deteriorating: “German Lopez Montejo, a prisoner on hunger strike, is suffering from fainting due to low blood glucose levels. The Working Group No Estamos Todxs claims that in the CERSS # 14 (Amate Prison) the prisoners are not ingesting the minimum amount of honey for survival because the prison authorities have retained it [their supply].”

On April 4th, SIPAZ visited the inmates of The Voice of Indigenous in Resistance (La Voz de Indigenas en Resistencia) and Supporters of the Voice of Amate (Solidarios de La Voz de Amate). Both are located in CERRS # 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

The reasons for their protest are that they declare themselves innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, and that they were forced to plead guilty under torture. They began their hunger strike to demand their freedom.

Furthermore, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights published a document on March 22nd denouncing that “the 13 people deprived of their liberty began a hunger strike inside prisons to denounce human rights violations they live daily in the penitentiary centers where they are held, as well as to proclaim their innocence given the unfair trials in which they are being prosecuted. It is important to point out that they have denounced torture and cruel inhuman and/or degrading treatment since the moment of their arrest, 12 of them are indigenous Tsotsiles.

The 13 prisoners on hunger strike have indicated that they constantly receive threats and harassment from the prison authorities to give up their protest.

We request that the personal integrity of the 13 persons deprived of their liberty who are on hunger strike be respected and that they be treated in accordance with their dignity and that due respect for fundamental rights be respected.

We urge the authorities of the state of Chiapas to immediately cease acts of threats and intimidation, as well as acts of punishment that constitute torture and cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment. “

The people who are on hunger strike are: Abraham Lopez Montejo and German Lopez Montejo, in the Social Rehabilitation Center for Sentences No. 14 El Amate (CERSS No. 14 El Amate), in Cintalapa; Adrian Gomez Jimenez, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, Mariano Gomez Lopez, Marcos Gomez Lopez, Martin Gomez Lopez, Mariano Perez Velasco, Mario Diaz Rodriguez, Felipe Diaz Mendez and Juan Castellanos Gomez in CERSS No. 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas; as well as Marcelino Ruiz Gomez and Baldemar Gomez Hernandez in CERSS No. 10 in Comitan de Dominguez.

For more information in Spanish:

Presos indígenas, 18 días en huelga de hambre, 2 de abril de 2019, Chiapasparalelo

Riesgo grave a la salud de nuestros compañeros en huelga de hambre en el CERSS#14,, 4 de abril de 2019

Reos indígenas de Chiapas se cosen los labios para exigir su libertad,  Proceso, 29 de marzo de 2019

Cese de amenazas y hostigamientos a presos en huelga de hambre en Chiapas, CDHFBLC, 22 de marzo de 2019

Trece presos indígenas cumplen 18 días en huelga en Chiapas; acusan tortura y exigen su liberación, Sinembargo 2 de abril de 2019

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike  (March 24, 2019)

Chiapas : seis presos indígenas inician huelga de hambre (16 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (March 15, 2019)

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Prisoners in San Cristóbal carry out fast to demand respect for their rights (January 4, 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)