National/International: Organizations and Defenders Take Urgent Action

June 14, 2017

UN.pngPhoto: https://contactohoy.com.mx/onu-mexico-rechaza-reforma-por-derecho-a-la-vida-desde-concepcion-en-veracruz/

Civil society organizations and environmental advocates called for urgent action to be taken by companies and the State following the report presented by the UN Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations.

The organizations recalled that “companies do not report what they do to detect and prevent the negative consequences of their actions on human rights” and the Government “has not yet set clear guidelines nor set definite expectations for companies in relation to their responsibility to respect human rights in all their activities.” This is exemplified, among others, in the case of Rio Santiago River, which, according to the organizations, the companies “throw whatever they want and in whatever quantities they want” with impunity, complicity and protection of the authorities; they recalled that in the area of ​​Rio Santiago, where around 300 industries operate, more than 600 people have died from industrial pollution.

The UN report demands that the right to prior, free, informed and culturally appropriate consultation, in accordance with ILO Convention 169, be respected, stating that “consultations should be carried out as early as possible in the process of designing the projects and should leave open the possibility that some projects are not viable.” Against this, Civil Society reported that 32 of the 68 documented cases of abuse by companies violated the right to land and territory and in 28 cases, access to information.

The UN Working Group also denounced that, “too often attacks on human rights defenders go unpunished, without investigations or effective sanctions being applied.” From the civil society they denounced that the existence of hired assassins and paramilitary forces on the payroll of companies that harass and fracture communities were ignored. Mario Luna, spokesperson for the Yaqui community of Sonora and opponent to the Independencia aqueduct, explained that, “we, in the exercise of our rights, have been criminalized, demonized.” Facing this, defenders and civil society demanded that both the State and the companies carry out the recommendations of the UN Working Group and that “the highest government officials and CEOs should make it very clear that intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

CSO members and defenders pointed out that the UN report addressed very few cases and that it could talk more about how companies and authorities relate, labor rights, tourism projects, environmental impacts and the rights of indigenous peoples, in most cases defenders and guarantors of the environment.

For more information in Spanish:

Urge que Estado y empresas acaten informe sobre derechos humanos realizado por ONU: OSC (CentroProdh, a 13 de junio de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Visita oficial del Grupo de Trabajo de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos a México

 

 

 

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Chiapas: Hunger Strike by Eight Nurses Continues in Chiapas

April 13, 2017

Nurses.png(Photo@Alerta Chiapas)

On April 10th, five of eight fasting nurses completed eight days on hunger strike, and for the second consecutive day they were gagged in order to avoid drinking liquids for ten hours as part of their protest outside Rafael Pascacio Gamboa Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez. This protest seeks to obtain medical supplies and medicines for the more than one thousand health centers in the state, the reinstatement of several workers unfairly dismissed and the payment of quotas for pensions, insurance, savings fund, housing, etc. This quota was paid by the workers on a monthly basis (a total of 782 million pesos).

On the same day, members of the National Assembly of Social Organizations-Teachers’ and Popular Movement, attended by teachers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), marched in Tuxtla to the outskirts of the Hospital and expressed their support for the struggle of workers in the health sector. Dozens of civil organizations have also expressed their support.

For his part, the Secretary of Government of Chiapas, Juan Carlos Gomez Aranda, said that through dialogue “the three original petitions have been resolved”: immediate resettlement in their jobs of people dismissed, supply of medicines and payment of Labor benefits. He added that, “the resignation of the director and the administrator of the Regional Hospital was requested in lieu of the complaints raised, so in the spirit of honouring the agreements to lift the hunger strike and not put at the health of nurses risk, the state government accepted this approach.” However, he added that “once this additional point was overcome, the negotiation table was again conditioned with the dismissal of the Secretary of Health (Francisco Ortega Farrera), which does not correspond to the original or subsequent demands of the nurses who are still fasting at the Regional Hospital.” Gomez Aranda said that “new requests are expected to be channeled through negotiation and that they should return as soon as possible with their families and their daily activities.”

The Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (FRAYBA) accepted the request of the strikers to accompany them in the process of negotiation with the state government.

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Mujer de Chiapas (6 de abril de 2017) – Firma en línea

Se amordazan enfermeras en ayuno en Chiapas (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2017)

ONG brindan respaldo a enfermeras en huelga de hambre en Chiapas (Proceso, 10 de abril de 2017)

Gobierno de Chiapas responde a demandas de las enfermeras en huelga de hambre (La Jornada, 10 de abril de 2017)

Emiten medida precautoria para garantizar salud de enfermeras en huelga de hambre (Proceso, 6 de abril de 2016)

Enfermeras de Chiapas en huelga de hambre acusan “arrogancia” de autoridades estatales (Proceso, 5 de abril de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas : Cinco enfermeras inician huelga de hambre en Tuxtla Gutiérrez (3 de abril de 2017)

Chiapas/México: Sector salud entra en paro contra las reformas del sector salud, la falta de medicamentos y equipo (22 de junio de 2016)


Oaxaca: Condemnation of Harassment and Defamation of Human Rights Defender Rubi Jazmin Cortes Salazar

November 9, 2016

rubiProtest in Oaxaca, June 2016. Photo@Front Line Defenders

On October 26, the international organization Front Line Defenders, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the joint program of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT in its Spanish acronym) and the FIDH – Network of Women Activist Defenders of Human Rights of Oaxaca and the Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, Oaxaca AC, made an urgent appeal against the escalation of harassment against Rubi Jasmine Cortes Salazar, human rights defender of the Nuu Savi nation in Mixteca,.

 Rubi is a human rights defender, a feminist of Mixtec origin and member of the Multicultural Alliance of Originary and Radical Women in Tlaxiaco (AMMOR). She was part of the first generation of the Diploma in Women, Feminisms and Decolonization Studies, organized by the Lunas del Sur Civil Association. She is also president of the Committee for the Defense of Public Education, Division 01, Tlaxiaco, and has played a key role in information and coordination with parents of Tlaxiaco in the struggle for conditions and access to education for girls and boys.

 The urgent call reports that Rubi has suffered several attacks in recent months. The last occurred on October 19, when a photomontage was published on social networks in which three bodies, two women and one man, appear in underwear sitting on a bed. On the women’s bodies, pictures of the defender Rubi Cortes and her mother were cut and pasted; on the body of the man, a photo of the mayor of Tlaxiaco, Alejandro Aparicio was used. This photomontage has circulated on Facebook from a “troll” user account. Many of the people who follow this page are from the town of Tlaxiaco, precisely where the defender Rubi lives and conducts her work. The urgent appeal emphasizes that this defamation has a sexist, macho and misogynistic tone generating a strong impact on the safety of Rubi.

 Due to this, the organizations that denounced the events called:

 – For the State Government to publicly acknowledge the importance of the work of human rights defenders in Oaxaca, and in particular the work of human rights defender Rubi Jasmine Cortes Salazar.

– To immediately investigate and punish those found responsible for various attacks against the defender, as well as those responsible for the defamation campaign that seeks to delegitimize her career.

– The immediate implementation of protective measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Rubi Jasmine Cortes Salazar and her family.

For more information n Spanish:

LLAMADO URGENTE: Denuncia de hostigamiento y difamación contra defensora Ñuu Savi Rubí Jazmín Cortés Salazar (Consorcio, a 26 de octubre 2016)

ONG exigen protección para defensora oaxaqueña (CIMAC Noticias, 26 de octubre de 2016)

Denuncian difamación contra defensora Rubí Cortés Salazar (Despertar de Oaxaca, 27 de octubre de 2016)


URGENT RELEASE: REPRESSION OF TEACHERS IN OAXACA

June 22, 2016

logocolor

URGENT RELEASE

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
June 21, 2016

REPRESSION OF TEACHERS IN OAXACA

On June 19, elements of the police in the state of Oaxaca violently repressed teachers and organized civil society in opposition of the education reform of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto. Such events caused the death of at least six people, the apprehension and/or disappearance of 22, and 45 left with gunshot wounds between Nochixtlán and Hacienda Blanca. Their medical attention was not guaranteed, to which the general population responded by building “attention centers” to serve and treat those wounded. In the last few days, planes of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie have arrived to the capital of the state.

Such event is the most recent within the escalating context of the repressive violence in all of the entities where the teachers’ movement has manifested with the support of the civil society (Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, Michoacan, Guerrero, among others) in the last few weeks. All of these mobilizations have been in demand for a dialogue with the federal government about the reform, which has maintained a stern stance of not wanting to modify such reform, and has threatened with the immediate cessation of those on strike.

Background History:

In 2013, the federal government approved the education reform, included in the packet of reforms derived from the “Pact for Mexico” -an agreement between principal political parties planting the construction of a society with human rights and liberties, economic growth, security, justice, transparency, combat of corruption, and democratic governance-. Since its announcement from the President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, the education reform caused inconformity between the teachers. It was presented by the government as an improvement in the education system from the evaluation of teachers; aimed to promote the autonomy of the families of students in terms of maintenance of the schools in practice, involving the covering of expenses of school maintenance. It was interpreted by a wide sector of teachers as a labor reform -more so than educational content- that would permit selective dismissals and the beginning of the privatization of education in the country.

As a result, dissident teachers organized multiple protests in several states in search for a dialogue with the federal government for the repeal of the reform. Various of the mobilizations were repressed by police forces, causing the death of three teachers (one from Chiapas and two from Guerrero in 2015 and 2016).

Organizations of the civil society of Oaxaca denounced the “criminalization of teachers”, with examples such as “mass media campaigns of defamation”, or the detention of at least 75 people -among which are several leaders of the movement-, who find themselves “in a situation of political imprisonment”. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations assessed that several of the arrests were directed against human rights defenders and they were carried out arbitrarily. Furthermore, some of those arrested were transported to high security prisons intended for severe federal crimes.

The civil society of Oaxaca rejected the dozens of arrest warrants issued to members of the Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE, in its Spanish acronyms) -known for demanding the cancellation of the education reform and for being a prominent part of the Oaxacan social movement-, looking to “dismantle the movement”. Before this situation, various rapporteurs of the United Nations emitted “urgent phone calls to Mexican authorities” due to the human rights violations, mainly for arrests without warrants, nor search warrants, and for the use of torture.

Since May 15 of this year, the teachers in opposition declared a labor strike, closing a large part of schools, with percentages above 95% in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Adding to the strike, teachers organized marches, blocked roads, held encampments and symbolic “sit-ins” of city councils and radio stations, among other actions, which have received growing support from the parents of the families of students, as well as the general population. The teachers currently maintain an encampment in the downtown center of the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, which is being guarded by barricades in the historic center of town and by road blockades of strategic points to prevent the entry of police forces.

The Civil Society of Oaxaca published an Urgent Action reporting a Humanitarian Alert issue “for State armed civilian attacks”. They requested the removal of governmental forces and repression against teachers and the general population, a space for dialogue, immediate medical attention, a stop to the criminalization of the teachers, the cancellation of the arrest warrants, the liberation of those detained, as well as the punishment of those responsible of the human rights violations.

As the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), we are highly concerned due to the human rights violations in the context of the teachers’ mobilizations, which is why we invite you all to sign the Urgent Action from the Civil Society of Oaxaca in the web-page of the All Rights for All Network (Red TdT, in its Spanish acronym).

We also assess that the situation of high tension is not only present in Oaxaca, but in Chiapas as well, to which we invite the national and international society remain attentive and aware of the events in the state.

For more information:

AU: Sociedad Civil de Oaxaca emite Alerta Humanitaria por ataque armado del Estado a la población civil


Chiapas: Las Abejas de Acteal Request Collection for Displaced Families

June 15, 2016

Acopio.pngCollection during the displacement of Colonia Puebla in 2013. Photo: @Koman Ilel.

On May 26, a group of 14 families from Las Abejas de Acteal Civil Society, residents of Colonia Puebla, Chenalho municipality, Chiapas, were displaced fleeing the violence caused by the conflict after the elections in that municipality. The displacement happened after violent incidents between sympathizers of the recently dismissed mayor, Rosa Perez Perez of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), and supporters of the new mayor, Miguel Santiz Alvarez, causing the death of two people, one of them a minor, who died from a bullet wound. The Chenalho Pedrano Movement, opponents of Perez Perez, said in a statement that they were attacked with “firearms, sticks, stones and machetes, in an ambush that was orchestrated by sympathizers of the ex-mayor.” Furthermore, there were “two houses burned, two destroyed, three vehicles destroyed and six people wounded”, according to the statement from Las Abejas.

Las Abejas noted that “until now, there are no conditions to return”, so that the displaced are currently in the headquarters of the organization. In another letter they outlined that, “the displaced from the colony are living through suffering. Therefore we ask you the favor of helping with supplies.” To this end, they have opened two collection centers for clothes in San Cristobal de Las Casas and they ask for financial support to be deposited in a bank account. According to La Jornada, the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) “requested the government of Chiapas to apply cautionary measures and guarantee the rights of the people who have been displaced.” The measures are aimed at guaranteeing rights to food, health, a home, physical integrity and the lives of the displaced.

It is worth noting that the disagreement following the result of the municipal elections in Chenalho, with the victory of PVEM, gave rise to the Chenalho Pedrano Movement in rejection of the elected mayor, accusing her of “corruption, abuse of power and diverting resources.” This group organized a takeover of the town hall and a number of government offices, it took over the State Congress for some hours, and it kidnapped three civil servants who were negotiating a solution to the disagreement, among them the President of the State Congress and a deputy. Having put them on public show, one dressed as a woman, Congress accepted the resignation of the mayor.

It is also worth mentioning that 17 families of Colonia Puebla were displaced by in August 2013 in the conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals in dispute over the land where Catholic hermitage was located. Almost 100 displaced people returned after eight months off their lands, denouncing the lack of law enforcement for their aggressors.

For more information in Spanish:

Los desplazados y desplazadas de la colonia puebla están viviendo bajo el sufrimientos. Entonces le pedimos un gran favor a que nos puedan colaborar en las despensas. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 7 de junio de 2016)

Hace apenas 8 días, jueves 26 de mayo, los miembros de la organización de la sociedad civil de las abejas de Acteal, en la colonia puebla se desplazaron 14 familias un total de 81 personas porque en esa misma colonia surgió nuevamente una gran violencia y balaceras a las 13:45pm hora normal. (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal, 3 de junio de 2016)

Piden proteger a desplazados de Chenalhó (La Jornada, 31 de mayo de 2016)

For more information in SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Riesgo de más violencia en Chenalhó después de secuestro y cambio de alcalde (31 de mayo de 2016)

Chiapas : jóvenes denuncian violencia, impunidad y ausencia de justicia para Puebla (30 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas: regresan a su comunidad los desplazados de Ejido Puebla (15 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas:Incremento de la violencia en Colonia Puebla, Chenalhó (22 de julio de 2013)


Chiapas/National: Enforced Disappearance of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez by INM Agents Denounced

May 30, 2016

Maximiliano.png

In a [call to] Urgent Action on May 18, 2016, the civil organizations Mesoamerican Voices, Action with Migrant Peoples A.C., the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (CDHFBC, also known as Frayba), and The 72 Hogar Refuge for Migrants, denounced the enforced disappearance of Maximiliano Martinez Gordillo, an 18-year-old native of Tzinil community, Socoltenango municipality, Chiapas.

On 7 May, he was detained by people who presented themselves as agents of the National Migration Institute (INM) and unidentified elements of the police, on the road from Comitan de Domínguez, Chiapas, to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, to where he was travelling to look for work. Six or seven people who did not have official voter identification were taken off the vehicle, including Maximilian. Realizing that he was being accused of being an undocumented migrant, he showed his original birth certificate and CURP as proof of his Mexican nationality, as he had no voter identification. However the agents claimed that they were false documents. The last time Maximiliano was seen was in the migration office, where there were between 15 to 20 more people detained by the INM.

The INM has denied registration of Maximilian in the national system of INM, and has not provided more information to assist in his search. A complaint was filed with the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), a body that reported the INM denial that there was any detention of migrants on the date referred to along the entire said route. A complaint was filed with the District Attorney’s office of the Highlands, Chiapas.

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente Desaparición Forzada de Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez por agentes del INM (18 de mayo de 2016)

Denuncian desaparición forzada de joven chiapaneco en retén de Migración (Desinformémonos, 20 de mayo de 2016)

La extraña desaparición de Maximiliano Gordillo (La Opinión, 19 de mayo de 2016)


Justice for Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia. Protection for Gustavo Castro Soto

March 30, 2016

Berta y Gustavo.png

Berta Caceres and Gustavo Castro

DECLARATION

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Mexico

March 23, 2016

The organizations of the International Network of Accompaniment and Observation (Red de Organizaciones de Acompañamiento y Observación Internacional) condemn the murder of the human rights defender Berta Isabel Caceres, Lenca indigenous, general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – COPINH) and winner of the Goldman Prize for the environment (2015).

Likewise, we repudiate the murder of the leader Nelson Noe Garcia, member of COPINH, that occurred only 12 days later, despite the global indignation that the violent death of an emblematic and inspiring defender has provoked.

On the night of March 2, 2016, in La Esperanza, the main town of the department of Intibuca, Honduras, armed persons entered the home of Berta Caceres and murdered her, despite having protective measures granted by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).

Berta Caceres and other leaders of the organization have been systematically targeted for murders, death threats and violence for their defense of human rights. The main threats to COPINH and to Berta Caceres derive from her struggle against the “Agua Zarca” hydro-electric project, promoted by the company Desarollos Energeticos S.A. (DESA) on the river Gualcaraque. Berta Caceres was criminalized and tried for her defense of the river and the Lenca communities of Rio Blanco.

Gustavo Castro Soto, Mexican and member of Other Worlds Chiapas, of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining, and of the Meso-American Movement against the Extractive Mining Model (M4), who was in Honduras to take part in the COPINH Forum on the Indigenous Vision on Alternative Energies, was at the scene of the murder. Gustavo Castro was wounded in the attack but managed to survive. We are concerned that, to this date, he has been denied the possibility of leaving Honduras although he has collaborated as a witness in the crime investigations and he could continue to do so from Mexico, in this way avoiding the situation of risk to his person that he is exposed to while he remains in Honduras.

In the context of the violent eviction carried out by state forces, another member of COPINH, Nelson Noe Garcia, leader of the Rio Chiquito community in the municipality of Rio Lindo, department of Cortes, Honduras, was murdered on March 15. We unite to the pain of the families of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia and to the call for solidarity with COPINH.

We highlight the psycho-social impact that these events are causing in the community of human rights defenders in the region. We recall the multiple alerts previously sent out by social organizations and international bodies and the worrying discovery, according to the 2015 Global Witness Report, that 75% of environmental activists murdered in the world work in Latin America, Honduras being the most dangerous country.

In the countries where we operate as organizations of international accompaniment, we observe a critical situation for persons who defend land and territory, who are often confronted with criminalization, intimidation, harassment, defamation, threats and even murders.

Consequently:

  • We ask the Government of Honduras and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), within the framework of fulfilling measures of protection, for the immediate signing of an agreement of technical assistance, for the purposes of nominating a commission of persons who are experts, independent and have the trust of COPINH and of the family, with the aim that they supervise, support and participate in the investigations of the murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia, which are currently being carried by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
  • We ask the international community in accordance with the declarations released in the framework of the murder, to vigilate the situation of defenders in the Latin American region and to urge the governments of the countries of the region to guarantee the protection of defenders of land and territory.
  • We ask the Government of Honduras to carry out a speedy, deep and independent investigation of the murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Noe Garcia, that those guilty be brought to justice and that the lives and personal integrity of members are guaranteed.
  • We ask the Governments of Honduras and Mexico to take the necessary measures to guarantee the life, integrity and personal security of Gustavo Castro Soto.

International Network Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation

ACOGUATE; Guatemala

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Colombia

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Guatemala

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Honduras

International Peace Brigades (IPB) Mexico

Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, A.C. (Frayba); Mexico

FOR – Present for Peace; Colombia

Social Thought and Action (PAS); Colombia

PROAH; Honduras

Protection Desk; Colombia

International Service for Peace (SIPAZ); Mexico

Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR); Mexico