Chiapas: denunciation of criminalization against environmental activists in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

January 4, 2019

 

On December 27th, during a press conference that took place at the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, the board of Colonia Maya in the municipality San Cristóbal de Las Casas denounced the existence of arrest warrants against its members and demanded their immediate cancellation.

In June 2016, the construction of a housing estate caused a flooding that affected 20 families in Colonia Maya. As a reaction, various habitants started to organize themselves to defend their rights and the environmental rights.

Since then, the members of Colonia Maya’s board faced various threats and the criminalization of their movement to defend their district.

Three moths ago, the board met with representatives of Manuel Velasco’s government who proposed the construction of a rain drain in the settlement. The board responded that they could not take any decisions without the participation of the the Colonia’s assembly. The arrest warrants were released after that meeting.

In the words of the board about the criminalization: “We are in fear. Fear that justice one more will be bought. During the last days we have affirmed once more that the legal authorities in our country can be bought. We know that some of our members have received arrest warrants without committing any crime. We are being accused of kidnapping, when we only ever acted peacefully, consulting and respecting the settlement’s assembly.”

They solicited “that the hostility and the criminalization against human environmental rights defenders for the land and the territory are eradicated or cease as they are pillars of democracy and with their work they can promote and strengthen the civil participation”.

For more information in Spanish:

Cese la criminalización a defensores de la Madre Tierra (27 de diciembre de 2018, Chiapas Denuncia Publica).

Colonos de la Maya denuncian que les fueron inventados delitos (27 de diciembre de 2018, Noticias Voz e Imagen de Chiapas).

Se defienden activistas demandados (27 de diciembre de 2018, El Heraldo de Chiapas).

Criminalización por la defensa de la Madre Tierra (21 de junio de 2017, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas).

For more information from SIPAZ :

National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office (December 14th, 2018)

Nacional : Se pospone entrega de concesiones de agua vía Internet por seis meses en medio de protestas. (17 de octubre de 2018).

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Chiapas: 21 Years Since the Massacre in Acteal

January 4, 2019

On December 21 and 22, 2018, members of the Civil Society Las Abejas de Acteal and guests commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Acteal massacre, which took place on December 22, 1997, in which 45 Tsotsil indigenous people, mainly women and children, members of Las Abejas, were murdered in Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, by alleged paramilitaries. The massacre “was committed with fury, treachery, and premeditation when they [the victims] were in the second day of fasting and prayer for the end of the violence unleashed in the municipality”, remembered Las Abejas.

Las Abejas denounced that they have “gone through 21 years of darkness that represents the impunity nourished by the PRI and PAN rulers, including the misnamed and corrupt “Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation,” which ordered the release of the perpetrators of the Acteal Massacre, despite the fact that they were directly pointed out by the survivors and that they had confessed to killing in Acteal, for which they had sentences of up to 30 years, now they walk with impunity in Chenalhó and around Acteal. And the intellectual authors [of the massacre] are free, mocking justice and the memory of our massacred brothers and sisters”.

Las Abejas and the Fray Batolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) indicated that they are not seeking dialogue with the current government but announced that they will continue to speak up, so that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) can make a pronouncement on the merits of the case. Pedro Faro Navarro, director of Frayba, indicated that “for a long time the situation has been closed at the national level, since the Mexican State has not only refused to take legal action, but has attributed to impunity with the release of almost all of the perpetrators”. For their part, Las Abejas clarified that “we will not exchange justice for money in any way. The real objective of our petition before the IACHR is for the Mexican State to recognize its responsibility for action and its failure in the Acteal Massacre and to guarantee the non-repetition of acts like Acteal”.

For more information in Spanish:

Nuestro país ha vivido un patrón sistemático de represión, corrupción, colusión, impunidad desde los años 60’, hasta el día de hoy (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Acteal 21 años de impunidad (Frayba, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Insiste Frayba en que CIDH se pronuncie sobre Acteal (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

A 21 años de la matanza de Acteal, familiares y sobrevivientes recuerdan a las 45 víctimas (Sin Embargo, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Conmemoran 21 años de masacre de Acteal, la justicia aún pendiente(Regeneración, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

Abejas de Acteal anuncian que no buscaran diálogo con AMLO; esperan dictamen de la CIDH (AlertaChiapas, 22 de diciembre de 2018)

A once días de la conmemoración de la Masacre de Acteal, les compartimos cartel de dicho evento (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Twentieth Anniversary of Acteal Massacre (January 14, 2018).

Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal “Roots, Memory and Hope” Tour (July 28, 2017).

Chiapas: Launch of Acteal Campaign: Roots, Memory and Hope (March 30, 2017).


Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies

January 4, 2019

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On December 10th, on the International Human Rights Day as part of a political act in front of the Government Palace villages in Oaxaca-City, communities and organizations that participated in the “Popular Community Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca” last October publicly presented the final verdict.

It should be remembered that in the Popular Community Trial participated 52 communities who presented 22 cases of affectations caused by mining in 5 of the state’s regions including – says the verdict- “irreversible affectations to the ecosystem, river contamination, fractures in the social structure and generalized insecurity in the regions, where those mining projects operate through mining companies, shock groups and state authorities”.

The verdict put forward the necessity to rescind the 322 concessions and the 41 valid mining projects within the State “as those were imposed without previous, free and informed consent by the communities and while violating our right to self-determination and autonomy to our cultural integrity, to administrate and control our territories and to maintain the collective property of our lands and communal natural goods”.

Equally, it demanded the immediate suspension of the issue of quarrying rights “until a new legal framework has been elaborated that fully and effectively respects the indigenous people’s rights as they were established in international treaties and the Constitution, until the repeal of the current mining law and others that protect the relations with that industry”. Likewise, it urged the authorities to pass laws and public policies which protect the indigenous people’s rights, which recognize them as subjects to public rights and include the in effective mechanisms of integral reparations for the caused damage.

The legal judgment also put forward the necessity to protect those who defend their territories so that they can do so in “conditions of liberty and security” and it demanded that “the politics of criminalization against the social protest are stopped, that the people responsible for assassinations are punished and that the disappeared territorial activists are presented alive immediately as well as the suspension of arrest warrants issued for the same reasons, individual and collective threats”.

The political act ended proclaiming “Yes to life, no to mining!” and “Neither gold nor silver, mining kills!”.

The report about the civil trial details that until 2017 there haven been registered 42 mining projects by 38 companies from Canada, the United States, Peru, Australia and Mexico. 36 of them in stage of exploration, 2 in development, one was postponed and 2 are already in the phase of commercial exploitation.

For more information in Spanish:

Oaxaca territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de pueblos, comunidades y organizaciones frente al nuevo gobierno federal (Pronunciamiento e Informe, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Juicio Popular Comunitario contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (Vídeo, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Comunidades indígenas de Oaxaca exigen la prohibición total de la minería en el estado (Animal Político, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Demandan pueblos que Oaxaca sea territorio libre de minería (NVI Noticias, 12 de diciembre de 2018)

Oaxaca, territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de comunidades al nuevo gobierno (Desinformémonos, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Repudian proyectos de mineras en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held (October 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held

Oaxaca: Anuncian juicio popular contra empresas mineras. (9 de agosto de 2018)


Guerrero: national and international organizations visit prisoners of the CECOP and the CRAC-PC

October 10, 2018
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Press Conference at the Las Cruces prison (@La Jornada de Guerreo)

On October 5, members of Services and consultancies for peace (Serapaz), in representation of the Space of Civil Society Organizations for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (Espacio OSC), and the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ) visited 16 of the 18 prisoners of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (Cecop) and the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities – Community Police (CRAC PC), held in the prison of Las Cruces, in Acapulco, since January 7. They were accompanied by the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, which has assumed the defense of said prisoners.

At a press conference outside the prison after the visit, Alberto Solís Castro, director of Serapaz stated that the struggle that has led the Cecop has been emblematic for the country: they have resisted for more than 12 years the onslaught of different governments and faced unfair situations and repressions. What we are seeing is a new effort to criminalize them, to stop them and attack them, because they fight for the land, because they oppose a dam megaproject that would end the environment and a good part of community life in the region”. He reported that they will issue a recommendation to the state government to release the prisoners and stressed that at least eight cases of torture during detention were documented. The complaints on those case have not been addressed, despite visits by representatives of state and national human rights organizations. He announced that next week they will report this situation to the person that will be in charge of the Institute of Indigenous Peoples, Adelfo Regino; to the next head of the Welfare Ministry, as well as to Senators Félix Salgado Macedonio and Nestora Salgado García.

Tommy Van Straten, member of Sipaz, indicated that as an international organization with a presence in Guerrero since 2005, they are concerned about the mistreatment of the detainees. He said that in this visit they documented the cases of torture inside the jail and the differential treatment the prisonners have received, including the isolation of the rest of the prison population. He also highlighted the situation and traumas of the prisoners’ relatives.

For his part, Rogelio Téliz García, Tlachinollan’s lawyer, said that the defense process is progressing, that there will be a new hearing on October 26 where the prisonners are expected to be released, such as a group of eight community members already was. He pointed out that there are 50 arrest warrants against the same number of community members in Cacahuatepec who, he said, are being persecuted by the government. He said that this happens despite the fact that the Crac-PC is protected by Law 701.

For more information (in Spanish):

Visitan ONG a los presos del Cecop; documentan 8 casos de tortura (El Sur, 5 de octubre de 2018)

Documentan ONG 8 casos de tortura a presos del Cecop en Acapulco (Quadartín, 5 de octubre de 2018)
Visitan activistas a los presos del Cecop en la cárcel de Las Cruces (El Sur, 6 de octubre de 2018)

Visita una ONG internacional a miembros del Cecop y de la Crac (La Jornada de Guerrero, 6 de octubre de 2018)

Visita SIPAZ a los presos del Cecop y la CRAC PC (La Plaza, 6 de octubre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Guerrero: 50 arrest warrants against members of CECOP (September 24, 2018)

Guerrero: 9 of the 25 detainees for a confrontation in La Concepción in January are released September 17, 2018

Guerrero: Judge Orders Guarantees for Rights to Water, Health and Dignified Treatment for 25 CECOP Prisoners April 24, 2018

Guerrero: Extrajudicial Executions and Arrests of Community Police and Members of CECOP January 22, 2018


Chiapas: Humanitarian Aid for Displaced Demanded

December 4, 2017

Chenalho.png(@ Chiapas Paralelo)

On November 27th, Civil Society organizations, including SIPAZ, issued an Urgent Action for the risk to life, security and integrity of communities in the Altos region due to an agrarian conflict between the municipalities of Chenalho and Chalchihuitan, which has been going on for more than 40 years without a solution.

The document reports that there are more than 5000 displaced people today. It details that the displaced communities of Chalchihuitan are: a) Ch’en Mut 700 people, 120 families, 8 pregnant women; b) Pom more than 2000 people, 436 families, 100 pregnant women; c) Tzomolton 800 people, 107 families, 6 pregnant women; d) C’analumtic 600 people, 191 families; e) Bejelton 150 people, 30 families; f) Tulantic 350 people, 50 families; g) Vololch’ojon. 150 people, 40 families; e) Cruz c’ac’al nam 200 people; f) Cruzton 73 people, 20 displaced families. Also affected by the situation of violence are the communities of Balunac’o, Cotolchij, Lobolaltic, Pacanam, Pat C’anteal, Chiquin xulum, Saclum.

From Chenalho, 300 people from Majompepentik and Fraccion Polho moved, in addition to Las Limas and other communities that sleep outside their homes such as Yabteclum, Campo Los Toros, Tsabalho, among others.

In the communique, the organizations urge the Mexican State to respond promptly and expeditiously to this situation of violence that may lead to greater violations of human rights. They request:

“First – The necessary and pertinent precautionary measures are urgently implemented in order to respect, guarantee and protect the life and integrity of the families of Chalchihuitan and Chenalho.

 Second – The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of the United Nations Organization will be applied to protect the hundreds of families who have fled from the generalized violence and who are in total vulnerability, as well as the affected families who are living in a situation of terror due to the armed actions in the region that are also at risk of increasing the number of forced displacements.

 Third – Free transit and social peace in the communities of Chalchihuitan and Chenalho municipalities are guaranteed, prioritizing the dialogue between the parties under the essential respect of human rights.

Fourth – The murder of Samuel Perez Luna is investigated, those responsible are punished, and armed groups that act with impunity under the permissiveness of the government of Chiapas are disarmed.

 Fifth – In the face of the humanitarian crisis, international and national solidarity is necessary, due to the inefficiency and inability to address this emergency situation on the part of the federal and state governments. Humanitarian aid is urgent for the displaced communities: Food, medicines, blankets, cold clothes, doctors. Contact Caritas de La Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas at the telephone number: 9671203722.”

For its part, the diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas issued a statement on November 28 where it expressed its surprise “at the impunity with which the armed groups act to the extent that neither the police nor the Army have been able to be present to prevent the violence, nor to disarm those who impose their control oon the territory and the population through fear.” It also requested actions from the State and called for solidarity to address the humanitarian crisis in which the displaced are.

For more infoemation in Spanish:

Alto al Fuego: Organizaciones urgen ayuda humanitaria para personas desplazadas (CDHFBC, 27 de noviembre de 2017)

Acción Urgente: Violencia generalizada en los municipios de Chalchihuitán y Chenalhó (CDHFBC, 21 de noviembre de 2017)

Acusan a Velasco de encubrir a alcaldesa de Chenalhó y proteger a grupo armado que provocó desplazamiento (Proceso, 28 de noviembre de 2017)

Escalan violencia y desplazados por conflicto agrario en Chiapas (Proceso, 27 de noviembre de 2017)

Entran comuneros de Chenalhó a terreno en disputa con vecinos de Chalchihuitán (La Jornada, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Pronunciamiento de la diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas (28 de noviembre de 2017)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Otra vez resurgió el conflicto agrario entre los municipios de Chenalhó y Chalchihuitán (14 de noviembre de 2017)

Chiapas: Resurgimiento del conflicto agrario entre los vecinos municipios de Chalchihuitán y Chenalhó (29 de mayo de 2014)


October 18, 2017

SIPAZFrayba

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, October 12th, 2017.

Joint communiqué.

International accompaniment and observation of human rights

The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, (Frayba) and the International Peace Service (SIPAZ) report that they will be accompanying the caravan organized in the framework of the tour of the National Indigenous Congress and the Indigenous Council of Government, which will take place from October 13th to 19th of this year in the state of Chiapas according to the following announced program:

Friday, October 13th, 2017.- Start of caravan to Las Margaritas.

Saturday, October 14th, 2017.- Village of Guadalupe Tepeyac.

Sunday, October 15th, 2017.- Morelia Caracol.

Monday, October 16th, 2017.- La Garrucha Caracol.

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 .- Roberto Barrios Caracol.

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017.- Palenque.

Thursday October 19th, 2017.- Oventik Caracol.

The objective of the accompaniment will be to provide a presence for observation and documentation for the respect of human rights in the course of the caravan and in the planned events. Regrettably, in the face of the denunciations made by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI in its Spanish acronym) in recent months, which have included threats, attacks and aggressions, we see this deterrent presence as necessary. We consider it important that these activities be carried out with peace of mind, as part of a peaceful organizational effort aimed at defending the rights of indigenous peoples in the country.

The present communiqué is to inform the Mexican authorities and international human rights bodies, so that in their area of ​​competence, they provide guarantees of protection to the caravan, which we reiterate, is a civil and peaceful action.

In the same way, we ask for guarantees of respect and protection of the integrity and safety of the members of the caravan, the right to life, and individual and collective rights and freedoms, guaranteeing in the immediate future the necessary conditions to carry out the caravan, without police accompaniment being considered in the activities.

The members of SIPAZ will be present in the activities wearing vests with the organization logo and the text ‘international observer’.

The members of the Frayba will be accompanying the Caravan as human rights observers.

See: https://www.congresonacionalindigena.org/

We call for permanent accompaniment by international human rights organizations.

We call for national and international solidarity to demand the Mexican State in its three levels of government:

1.- Guarantee the work of human rights defenders in Mexico.

2.- Immediately adopt appropriate measures to guarantee the safety and physical integrity of the members of the Caravan of the National Indigenous Congress as well as the Indigenous Council of Government.

3.- Ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9th, 1998.

4.- In general, ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards ratified by Mexico.

We declare that we will be attentive at all points of the tour, with the aim of ensuring respect for human rights and documenting any security incident.

This communiqué has been sent to the authorities of the Mexican State, as well as to international human rights bodies.

For more information:

Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI)

Este sábado se registra Marichuy, la aspirante presidencial zapatista (El Proceso, 6 de octubre de 2017)

La aspirante indígena a la presidencia de México rechaza dinero público para su campaña (El País, 9 de octubre de 2017)

Para más información en ingles:

Mexico’s Indigenous Congress: Decolonising politics (Al Jazeera, 27 de septiembre de 2017)

Zapatista-Backed Indigenous Woman Registers to Run for Mexican Presidency (teleSUR, 7 de octubre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Nacional : Candidata presidencial “no es decisión de una persona” (Subcomandante Moíses) (15 de noviembre de 2016)

Chiapas / Nacional : CNI y EZLN realizarán consulta para nombrar a una candidata indígena hacia las elecciones presidenciales de 2018 (15 de octubre de 2016)


International/National: Over 100 Guatemalan Campesina Families Take Refuge at Mexican Border

June 11, 2017

GuateDisplaced from Laguna Larga, Guatemala in Campeche (Photo @Radio Pozol)

Since June 2nd, some 120 families of Guatemalan campesinos (between 500 and 700 people) have fled the Laguna Larga community in the Peten area of ​​Guatemala to the Mexican border, where they set up an improvised camp near the El Desengano ejido, Municipality of Candelaria, Campeche on the border line between Guatemala and Mexico. Their forced displacement occurred after the announcement of a massive eviction and the mobilization of more than a thousand members of the National Civil Police (PNC in its Spanish acronym) and the Guatemalan army.

On the Government of Guatemala’s part, according to a Prensa Libre article, the eviction is based on “an eviction order issued by a court in Peten, (where) the National Council of Protected Areas CONAP argues for the conservation of Biosphere as a pretext, but denies and hinders any process or alternative that resolves the recognition of the population that lives within Laguna Larga, Sierra Lacandona and Laguna del Tigre. “

On June 7th, civil organizations conducted an observation and documentation visit and reported “the critical conditions of the camp and the nearly 100 families housed there, and that a preliminary census counts about 450 people. They are conditions that allow us to speak of a humanitarian emergency, which endangers the lives and integrity of children and, in general, of women and all the people settled there.”

They denounced “the grave breaches of the Guatemalan and Mexican governments in the face of a situation of forced displacement and the evident violation of human rights committed by the Guatemalan Army and its government against the population of Laguna Larga, evicted and besieged by security forces of both countries.” They also questioned that “the Mexican government is not responding to the gravity of the situation. Certain food and medical aid, which has been provided by the civilian population rather than by the government, is far from addressing the emergency, to overcome the risk conditions for the vulnerable population under their responsibility.”

For more information in Spanish:

Cientos de campesinos guatemaltecos se instalan en municipio de Campeche (La Jornada,5 de junio de 2017)

Activistas reportan éxodo de 700 guatemaltecos a México (Proceso, 5 de junio de 2017)

Desplazados guatemaltecos quedan varados en línea fronteriza de Campeche (Desinformémonos, 5 de junio de 2017)

Alarma y preocupación ante condiciones de la comunidad Laguna Larga, Petén desplazada forzadamente en la frontera con México (Red TdT, 8 de junio de 2017)

Organizaciones documentan negativa del gobierno a brindar recursos a los desplazados de Guatemala (Desinformémonos, 9 de junio de 2017)