National: UNO Special Rapporteur Visits Mexico to Evaluate Human Rights Situation

February 5, 2017

UNO.pngMichael Forst, UNO Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Photo@MuralChiapas

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, visited Mexico from January 16 to 24 with the aim of assessing the situation of human rights defenders and evaluating the efforts made by the Mexican authorities for their protection. After traveling the country from Mexico City to the states of Chihuahua, Guerrero, Oaxaca and the State of Mexico, and meeting more than 800 defenders from 24 states, 60% of whom were women, the UNO Rapporteur noted “high levels of insecurity and violence faced by defenders in the country” in a “complex context marked by organized crime, corruption and state repression.”

Based on his observations, Forst points out that, “the situation of human rights defenders is marked by the criminalization of their activities through the undue and deliberate use of criminal law and manipulation of punitive power by both state and non-state players, to prevent and even avoid the legitimate activities of defenders to promote and protect human rights.” He also added that “the use of arbitrary arrests and detentions as an instrument to silence dissident voices and to curb social movements is also worrying (…) in many cases, those who defend human rights by reporting violations committed by the authorities are criminalized and face indirect reprisals through attacks or criminal proceedings directed against their families or people close to them.”

The Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the fact that “98% of crimes in Mexico are not solved”: “The low rate of successful investigations and solution of crimes committed against human rights defenders has generated a generalized sense of impunity.” He continued and warned that, “The lack of investigation and sanction of the aggressors sends a dangerous message that there are no consequences for committing such crimes. This creates an environment conducive to the repetition of violations.”

“Impunity has become the cause and effect of the general insecurity of human rights defenders in Mexico,” the Special Rapporteur warned at the close of his official visit to the country and presented a preliminary report with a series of recommendations to the authorities and other players to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders and facilitate their important work. Forst concluded by reaffirming his willingness to provide assistance to all players interested in combating impunity and ensuring the protection of defenders in Mexico.

For more information in Spanish

México / Defensores de DD HH: “La mejor forma de protegerlos es luchando contra la impunidad” – Experto de la ONU (Naciones Unidas, 25 de enero de 2017)

Relator de la ONU concluye visita en México (El Financiero, 24 de enero de 2017)

DEFENSORAS Y DEFENSORES DEL TERRITORIO DENUNCIAN AGRESIONES ANTE RELATOR DE LA ONU (23 de febrero de 2017)

Repudian ONU y ONG asesinato del ambientalista Isidro Baldenegro (19 de enero de 2017)

Relator de la ONU evalúa violación de DD.HH. en México (TeleSUR, 17 de enero de 2017)

Viene a México relator especial de ONU para defensores de DH (La Jornada, 11 de enero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Visita no oficial del relator especial de la ONU sobre la Situación de las y los defensores de Derechos Humanos (13 de mayo de 2016)

Nacional: Gobierno rechazó visita del relator para la tortura de la ONU (13 de mayo de 2016) Nacional: Relator especial de la ONU sobre la tortura finaliza visita oficial a México (6 de mayo de 2014)


Guerrero: The PGR Denies Concealing Information from the IGIE in Ayotzinapa Case

January 28, 2017

ayotziRelatives continue to demand justice, Photo@: Ronaldo Schemidt

Alfredo Higuera Bernal, head of the investigation office of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR in its Spanish acronym) in the Iguala case, denied concealing information from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) and the relatives of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa in 2014 in an interview with La Jornada.

 One of IGIE’s hypotheses to explain the attack on the students was that they took buses used by an organized crime cartel, Guerreros Unidos, to smuggle drugs into the United States. According to La Jornada, the PGR was aware of the use of buses by the cartel for its trafficking. Two months before the disappearance of the 43, in July 2014, the Army and the PGR detained Gonzalo Martin Souza Neves and Jose Bahena Salgado, members of Guerreros Unidos, in possession of about 250,000 dollars in cash, three vehicles and 24 kilos of heroin. On the day of the arrest, the Ministry of the Interior reported through bulletin 351/14 that Gonzalo Martin Souza Neves had “taken control of the criminal group […] and was in charge of drug trafficking through hidden compartments in various vehicles, mainly in passenger buses (sic).”

However, when the IGIE requested information from the PGR to investigate its hypothesis, the PGR never provided it with background information related to the trafficking of heroin in passenger buses. According to La Jornada, in response to a request for information on Guerreros Unidos, the PGR indicated that it only found “data according to which the criminal group was formed in 2011 by members of the Familia Michoacana and the Beltran Leyva”, without mentioning the arrest of July 2014. Similarly, on presenting its final report on the Ayotzinapa case – known as the white paper – in June 2016, the PGR stated that “so far no evidence has been found that sustains” the IGIE hypothesis.

Failure to mention this information to either the parents or the IGIE could indicate that there has been no good faith on the part of the PGR according to La Jornada, and it is even more serious because it is information of special relevance. Alfredo Higuera Bernal did not confirm the accusations of concealment and assured that “that line of investigation was one of the main approaches that the IGIE took and has been the subject of treatment in the talks that we have with the representatives of the parents.”

Despite the difficulties encountered in the investigation to find their children, the parents of the missing continue their search and their demand for justice and truth. Six months after suspending dialogue with the government, they declared that next February 9 they will meet with the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), Raul Cervantes Andrade, and a member of the Follow-up Commission of the Iguala Case of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which acts as a mediator between the parties to arrive at a new negotiating table. The parents will present their demands, including legal action against Tomas Zeron, exercise of criminal action against the Huitzuco municipal police and two agents of the Federal Police, for participating in the disappearance of the student teachers.

For more information in Spanish:

Padres de los 43 y PGR reanudarán diálogo en febrero (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2017)

Rechaza Alfredo Higuera que haya habido ocultamiento en el caso Iguala (La Jornada, 24 de enero de 2017)

PGR ocultó el trasiego de droga en autobuses (La Jornada, 23 de enero de 2017)

PGR ocultó datos sobre trasiego de drogas en caso Iguala (UniRadioInforma, 23 de enero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero/México: GIEI concluye su trabajo México entregando un segundo informe (28 de abril de 2016)

Guerrero: Grupo de Expertos sobre caso Ayotzinapa presenta su informe a 6 meses (7 de septiembre de 2015)

Guerrero: Familiares de estudiantes desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa se reunen con PGR por primera vez en 4 meses (16 de julio de 2015)

 


Oaxaca: Death Threat against Radio Reporter Tlaxiaco

January 16, 2017

radio.jpgPress protest. Photo@Article 19

On January 10, just as she was about to go on the air with her program Despierta Tlaxiaco, broadcast through community radio La Perla de la Mixteca, journalist Soraya Abigail Arias Cruz, received a death threat by phone. She received the call “After questioning the action of the 2014-2016 administration of the city of Tlaxiaco, headed by the PRD Alejandro Aparicio, now local deputy.” It is not the first time that she has received a call threatening death, as on other occasions she has received text messages, where she was told not to continue to comment on what is happening in Tlaxiaco or the municipal administrations. “I will go to human rights [groups] and then to the Public Ministry of Tlaxiaco, to investigate the phone number they spoke from. I am a single mother, I dedicate myself to this, I like it, I won’t accept being intimidated,” she said.

An an Urgent Action, the organization Article 19 recalled that “Oaxaca ranks as one of the most violent [states] to do journalism” and called on the state and municipal authorities and the Attorney General of the State of Oaxaca to begin “A diligent and exhaustive investigation” regarding the threats received by Arias Cruz, in order to identify those responsible and lead them before the judicial authorities.

For more information in Spanish:

Amenazan de muerte a locutora de radio en Tlaxiaco; Artículo 19 exige investgación (EDUCA, 12 de enero de 2017)

Amenazan de muerte a locutora en Oaxaca (Article 19, 11 de enero de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Nuevas agresiones a periodistas (29 de agosto de 2014)

Oaxaca: nuevo asesinato de periodista (14 de agosto de 2014)

Oaxaca: Estado del país con mayor número de agresiones a mujeres defensoras de los derechos humanos y periodistas (29 de mayo de 2014)

Oaxaca: Uno de los estados más violentos y peligrosos del país para el ejercicio del periodismo (09 de mayo de 2014)

 

 


Oaxaca: Political Violence in the Mixes Leads to the Forced Displacement of a Thousand People

January 16, 2017

mixesAnnouncement at San Pedro Ocotepec. Photo@Codigo DH Facebook

Violence due to a post-electoral and agrarian conflict in the municipal agency of Guadalupe Victoria, part of the municipality of San Juan Juquila, Mixes, “forced the forced displacement of about one thousand people; at least 800 of them took refuge in the municipality of San Pedro Ocotepec”, the municipal authority of the town reported. Meanwhile,”about 200 people arrived at the municipal seat of San Juan Juquila.”

On January 7, a confrontation in the town of Guadalupe Victoria “left a balance of a minor of 15 years dead and more than five with gunshot wounds, due to disagreement over the results of the municipal elections.” It is worth mentioning that San Pedro Ocotepec “has an agrarian conflict with Guadalupe Victoria”. Ten people were held in the municipal jail of San Juan Juquila Mixes and “the municipal authority has refused to hand them over to the prosecutor,” so officials from the General Secretariat of Government went to the community. On January 9, the funeral of the child killed during the confrontation took place during which, using banners, the inhabitants asked for a solution to the agrarian-political conflict.

For more information in Spanish:

Violencia política en los Mixes arroja mil desplazados (EDUCA, 10 de enero de 2017)

Mantienen retenidos a 10 pobladores tras enfrentamiento en los Mixes (NVI Noticias, 10 de enero de 2017)

Conflicto agrario provoca exodo de mil personas en Oaxaca (El Universal, 9 de enero de 2017)

Pronunciamiento de San Pedro Ocotepec. (Facebook de Codigo DH, 9 de enero de 2017)


National: Protests against “Gasolinazo”

January 16, 2017

Gas.jpgInfographic@TeleSur

On January 1, the price of gasoline and diesel increased by 20% in Mexico [“Gasolinazo”]. This increase was accompanied by an increase in other goods and services, significantly affecting the standard of living of Mexicans. It detonated mobilizations and actions in at least 25 states of the Mexican Republic, leaving, to date, a balance of three deaths and 600 arrested. The “most numerous” protests took place in Jalisco, Puebla, Chiapas, Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon, Hidalgo, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Colima, Chihuahua and the state of Mexico.

The president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, has defended this increase, arguing that, “it was a necessary measure for the stability of the economy of the country”. He said that this measure “comes from outside” due to the international increase in oil prices. He stated that if the price had not increased, it would have meant an expenditure of more than 200,000 million pesos (9,328 million dollars) equivalent to suspending all Social Security activities for four months or interrupting the Prospera program for two years, or canceling Popular Insurance for three Years.

This increase in fuel prices is the highest that has occurred in Mexico in almost two decades. Since the announcement of this rise, social organizations, transport associations and transport unions have called for blockades on motorways, roads, toll roads, among other forms of protest.

 For more information in Spanish:

Astillero (La Jornada, 9 de enero de 2017)

Mega-gasolinazo desata protestas en al menos 25 estados de México (EDUCA, 9 de enero de 2016)

El enojo acumulado salió a la calle (Proceso, 7 de enero de 2017)

El gasolinazo en México (TeleSur, 6 de enero de 2017)

 For more information fromSIPAZ:

Nacional : cuarto informe del gobierno de Peña Nieto (12 de septiembre de 2016)

 


National: Poor results ten years into war against organized crime; Army will remain on the streets, EPN

December 28, 2016

10yearsProtest in Mexico City ten years after the start of the war on organized crime(@La Jornada)

This December 11 marked a decade of the beginning of the war against crime launched by former President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (2006-2012). Ten years later, the toll of violence is alarming: 186,000 dead, more than 28,000 missing, tens of thousands of people displaced according to official figures, a balance comparable to that of Central American armed conflicts in the 1980s. Over the term, according to the media, over one trillion pesos has been spent without reducing insecurity and harassment of civilians with a significant increase in human rights violations. In addition, domestic drug use has increased and, although some capos have been arrested, nine organized crime cartels and 37 criminal cells continue to operate.

Civil organizations have ruled that, “the tightening of security measures has not nor will reduce violence in the country. Today we live in a much more insecure country, with weaker institutions and a criminal justice system that does not work properly.” One of the most contested players in the anti-crime strategy has been the Army, which, outside its constitutional mandate, has been deployed to carry out security tasks. From December 1, 2006 to the end of last October, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued a total of 158 recommendations to the armed forces, of which 121 were addressed to the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and the remaining 37 to the Secretariat of the Navy. Most of these recommendations were issued for violations, such as searches and arbitrary detentions; excessive, disproportionate and arbitrary use of force; injuries, and also for deprivation of life or arbitrary executions; forced disappearances, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, as well as unduly imputing events to detainees.

In a press conference, Secretary of National Defense, Major General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, was direct: “The military do not study to chase criminals.” And in the absence of a legal framework “our soldiers are already thinking if it’s worth it for them to continue to confront these (criminal) groups, with the risk of being prosecuted for a crime related to human rights or maybe its better for them if we prosecute them for disobedience, which is cheaper for them.” He said: “We are asking for regularization of the actions of the Armed Forces,” (that it should be defined) “what Mexicans want the Armed Forces to do. If they want us to be in the barracks, go ahead. I would be the first to raise not one, but the two hands so that we go to do our constitutional tasks … (…) We do not ask to be here … we do not feel at ease, those of us here with you do not study to chase criminals … We are performing functions that do not correspond to us, all because there is no one who should perform them or they are not trained.” He also said: “there is a lack commitment of the part of many sectors for this to work. It is not an issue that is going to be resolved by bullets, it requires other components that have not had the necessary major efforts and budgets to address these situations.”

In this context, the business leadership demanded that the Mexican Army not return to the barracks until state governments have the capacity to deal with organized crime, for which it urged the legislature to pass laws that give greater legal certainty to the armed forces.

At the end of the National Encounter for Procurement and Delivery of Justice 2016, President Enrique Peña Nieto acknowledged that the goal had not been achieved and stated that soldiers will continue in the streets “until we achieve the aim of this subject still pending, not only now, but for several decades, to have a country in conditions of greater peace and tranquility.”

Mario Patron, director of the Agustin Pro HR Center, has questioned that “instead of taking seriously the design of a program for the gradual withdrawal of the Armed Forces from the security tasks – as proposed by international mechanisms in this area – it revives the idea of creating an ad hoc legal framework for the Army and Navy, normalizing the state of emergency under the concept of internal security.” For the same reason, dozens of civil organizations, academics and researchers asked the Chamber of Deputies – who were debating this issue these days – “not to hastily approve” military permanence in public security tasks and the suspension of guarantees for the population.

For more information in Spanish:

El tamaño del fracaso: 186 mil muertos en una década de guerra en México, según datos oficiales (Sin Embargo, 5 de diciembre de 2016)

Diez años de guerra contra las drogas: Civiles se organizan para responder al fracaso del Estado (Sin Embargo, 7 de diciembre de 2016)

Militares no estudiamos para perseguir delincuentes: Cienfuegos (Aristegui Noticias, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Reprocha Cienfuegos falta de apoyo de Segob; “no estamos a gusto persiguiendo delincuentes”, dice (Proceso, 8 de diciembre de 2016)

Exige Cienfuegos regularizar función de las fuerzas armadas (La Jornada, 9 de diciembre de 2016)

Pide CCE aprobar leyes que den certeza jurídica a fuerzas armadas (La Jornada, 9 de diciembre de 2016)

El baño de sangre en 10 años deja más consumidores de drogas, más cárteles y más líderes criminales (Sin Embargo, 9 de diciembre de 2016)

El Ejército seguirá en las calles: Peña Nieto (El Heraldo de Chiapas, 10 de diciembre de 2016)

Activistas protestan ante “guerra contra el narco” (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2016)

Violencia, dudas y la sombra de la corrupción marcan los 10 años de la guerra contra el narco (Animal Político, 11 de diciembre de 2016)

Con Felipe Calderón, se generó un tsunami de sangre que no teníamos: especialista (Revolucion 3.0, 12 de diciembre de 2016)

Sedena, la que más recomendaciones ha recibido de la CNDH en 10 años (La Jornada, 12 de diciembre de 2016)

Seguridad pública, función de civiles, dice CNDH (La Jornada, 12 de diciembre de 2016)

Especial 10 años de la guerra contra el narco (Vice News, diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Nacional: La CNDH presentó su informe sobre recomendaciones por violaciones a derechos humanos (28 de septiembre de 2016)

Nacional: “Violencia del narco” ha desplazado a 281 mil personas (22 de julio de 2016)

 

 

 

 


Chiapas: Frayba Presents its Annual Report “Paths of Resistance”

December 28, 2016

Frayba.png

On December 19, the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) presented its “Annual Report: Paths of Resistance”, in an event attended by Marina Pages, coordinator of the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ); Ana Valadez Ortega, member of the Center for Studies for Change in the Mexican Field (CECCAM); Rafael Landerreche Morin, member of the Pastoral Team of Chenalho; Marcelo Perez Perez, parish priest of Simojovel and coordinator of the Social Pastoral of the Chiapas Province, as well as Pedro Faro Navarro, director of CDHFBC.

 The objective of the book is to “make visible the men and women, people and communities organized in the construction of dreams and hopes that crack the system, generate life and dignity, ways of resistance to this cruel and bloodthirsty reality that we live in Mexico.”

It has five chapters: “Detention and Megaprojects, Impacts on Human Rights”, “Forced Displacement in a War Context”, “From Discredit to Repression” (focused on human rights defenders), “From Internal Armed Conflict to Widespread Violence”, and “In the Midst of the Whistling of the Mountains, the Call to Truth and Justice ” (on historical memory and the “Other Justice “).

For more information in Spanish:

Informe completo “Los caminos de la Resistencia” (CDHFBC, diciembre de 2016)

Lucha de EZLN por DH de indígenas, blanco de ataques: Frayba (La Jornada, 20 de diciembre de 2016)

« Andamos los caminos de la resistencia » (Boletín de prensa, CDHFBC, 19 de diciembre de 2016)

Persisten violaciones a derechos a 19 años de masacre de Acteal: Frayba (Proceso, 19 de diciembre de 2016)

Los caminos de la resistencia: Informe Frayba 2016 (Audios, Radio Zapatista, 19 de diciembre de 2016)

Documenta Frayba, despojos, megaproyectos y ataques contra defensores de DH; en Chiapas, “ocasionadas por el Estado mexicano” (Revolucion 3.0, 20 de diciembre de 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ :

Nacional : presentación del informe “Defender los derechos humanos en México, la normalización de la represión política” (31 de agosto de 2016)