June 22, 2016



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


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/National: Press Conference on the Forced Disappearance of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez

June 19, 2016

Max.pngSign for the search Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez

On June 13, one month and six days since the forced disappearance of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, his relatives, representatives of his community parish (Socoltenango), members of “La 72” Refuge Home for Migrants, Mesoamerican Voices, Action with Migrant Peoples and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), called a press conference to denounce the negligence of the authorities in this case.

In their statement entitled “Between Ineffectiveness and Concealment” they expressed their worries above all over the integrity and safety of Maximiliano given that his whereabouts are unknown to this date. They declare that they have “gone to the competent authorities, demanding that they fulfill their duties in the prompt, complete and impartial investigation that this event deserves.” Nevertheless, they indicated that they received no reply. They explained that have “lodged a formal complaint with the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), in which we have provided the necessary elements to indicate the participation of agents of the National Institute for Migration (INM) and the Tabasco State Police in the forced disappearance of Maximiliano”; and they report that “to date, the behavior of the PGR has been insufficient, inefficient and slow, given that instead of getting down to an exhaustive search for Maximiliano and an investigation of the responsible officials, they have subjected their action to excessive bureaucracy […] which leads us to ineffectiveness and government concealment.” The PGR and INM have “closed ranks to deny that the name of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez appears in their national and regional registers at any moment as a declared or deported migrant.” They also reveal that they have been “denied access to complementary information that allows elucidation of what happened that night on the route he was traveling, consisting of the identification of the agents who carried out the operation at the stated checkpoint, the collaboration agreements between the INM and Tabasco State Police, videos from the various installations of the INM, among others.

The relatives of Maximiliano Gordillo Martinez, along with the organizations who are accompanying the case, closed the press conference demanding that the Mexican State Authorities implement “all of the search mechanisms to find and present young Mazimiliano.”

For more information in Spanish:

Boletín: Desaparición forzada de personas migrantes en México: Entre la inoperancia y el encubrimiento (Frayba, 13 de junio 2016)

Familia de Maximiliano Gordillo exige su presentación con vida (Chiapas denuncia, 13 de junio 2016)

Desaparición forzada de Maximiliano Gordillo en un contexto de violencia e injusticia: Parroquia de Socoltenango (Chiapas denuncia, 13 de junio 2016)

Luz y Fuerza del Pueblo en solidaridad con la familia de Maximiliano Gordillo (Chiapas denuncia, 13 de junio 2016)

 For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas/Nacional : Denuncian desaparición forzada de Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez por agentes del INM (24 de mayo 2016)

National: June 5 Election Results

June 18, 2016

Elections.pngJune 5 elections @Sin Embargo

On June 5, one third of the Mexican electorate voted to elect governors in twelve states, mayors in 2,445 municipalities, and local deputies and constituent deputies in Mexico City.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the current party of the presidency, won five governments of the twelve at stake, regaining Oaxaca and Sinaloa; and holding Hidalgo, Zacatecas and Tlaxcala. In doing so, it fell short of the nine that its leader, Manlio Fabio Beltrones, had assured they would win beforehand. Nevertheless, it lost states that had not known another political hue in 90 years, such as Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Durango and Quintana Roo. Several analysts consider these results to be a punishment vote against those governments for their corruption and their inability to stop insecurity.

 The National Action Party (PAN) benefitted from the loss of votes and won seven governments (three in alliances with the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD)): Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Durango, Quintana Roo, Puebla, Veracruz and Tamaulipas. Its president, Ricardo Anaya, stated that, “if we do things well, the right-wing PAN will win back the presidency in 2018.”

For its part, the Movement for National Regeneration Party (Morena), managed to increase its presence but without wining any government. It came third in Veracruz and Zacatecas. On another note, the party managed to come first in the election for the Constituent Assembly of Mexico City (with 36.2% of the votes. Its advantage over PRD (with 31.5%) was less than Morena had hoped for. Abstention in the election at 71.7% was notable.

According to experts, the results of these elections are particularly relevant in outlining the political map on course to the presidential election of 2018. Some point out that the results for the 2017 elections are lacking, in particular, for the State of Mexico, one of the biggest of the country and which has always been governed by PRI. It is worth mentioning that the electoral campaigns before June 5 were marked by personal attacks between the contenders and by the lack of transparency about the management of electoral spending. Equally notorious is the fact that in Tamaulipas State, considered the most violent of the country, 59 candidates had to retire from the contest for fear of reprisals by organized crime.

For more information in Spanish:

Perdió el PRI cuatro de sus bastiones históricos (La Jornada, 7 de junio de 2016)

Arrasa el abstencionismo en la CDMX; Morena, primera fuerza (Proceso, 5 de junio de 2016)

Elecciones 2016: PAN se impone, PRI y PRD se hunden y Morena… equis (Sin Embargo, 6 de junio de 2016)

¿Quién gana y quién pierde en las elecciones de México? (Univisión, 6 de junio de 2016)

Las elecciones de México destapan la erosión del PRI (El País, 6 de junio de 2016)

Descalificaciones, dádivas y compra de votos dominan el panorama electoral 2016 (Aristegui Noticias, 5 de junio de 2016)

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: Moving Farewell for Social Activist Bersain Hernandez Zavala

June 13, 2016

Bersain.pngBurial of Bersain Hernandez Zavala, June 3, Tonala, Chiapas. Photo: @Pozol Colectivo

On June 3, hundreds of people bid farewell to Bersain Hernandez Zavala, social activist for the rights of the people of Tonala, Chiapas. Bersain was a member of the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center and founder of the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone, an organization adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), founded in September 2006 to demand fair prices for electricity and the recognition of access to electrical energy as a human right. He was also a teacher at a secondary school in Tonala and an active member of the teachers’ movement against educational reform. In the moving farewell, he was remembered at the school where he worked, paid tribute to at the Tonalteco Civic Front offices, celebrated at a mass, and accompanied to the cemetery by relatives and compañeros in the struggle.

The popular defender died on June 2 in a road accident. Several members of his family were travelling in the same vehicle, as well as Carlos Velazquez Ruiz, all of whom required medical attention. They are therefore requesting financial support and provided bank account details for deposits.

For more information in Spanish:

Petición de apoyo (Facebook de Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa AC, 6 de junio de 2016)

Con aplausos y cariño despiden al profesor Bersaín Hernández, en su secundaria de Tonalá Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 3 de junio de 2016)

“Bersaín murió, pero nunca se rindió”, el legado de Bersaín Hernández, maestro y luchador social de Tonalá Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 3 de junio de 2016)

Fallece el luchador social Bersaín Hernández Zavala, en Tonalá Chiapas. (Pozol Colectivo, 2 de junio de 2016)

Carta del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 3 de junio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Agreden a defensor del Comité de Derechos Humanos de Base Digna Ochoa (17 de marzo de 2014)

Chiapas: Denuncia de desalojo y amenazas en Tonalá, CDH Digna Ochoa (31 de octubre de 2012)

Chiapas: Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa denuncia hostigamiento de agentes federales a ejidatarios (5 de mayo de 2012)

Chiapas: Alejandro Diaz Santiz Reports Mistreatment of Prisoners

June 8, 2016

AlejandroAlejandro Díaz Santiz’s report. Photo: @Chiapas Denuncia.

Unjustly imprisoned Alejandro Diaz Santiz, currently deprived of his liberty in federal prison No. 15 of Villa Comaltitlán, Tapachula, Chiapas, reported threats, abuse of power by the prison guards, as well as verbal and physical humiliation. In a letter, the adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and member of the “Sympathizers of the Voice of Amate” group, stated that “in the prisons of our country and states prisoners in different prisons or CEFERESOS (Centers for Social reinsertion) suffer ill-treatment by the authorities”, giving the example that “many of my colleagues have been beaten for almost no reason.” In his letter he detailed the physical abuse inflicted on an inmate who is about 60 years old, completely naked, for having disposable cups in his cell. Diaz Santiz’s letter ended asking the President of the Republic to exhort his freedom from the governors of Veracruz, as well as demanding the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, “to fulfill his promise in which he promised to see my case with the authorities of Veracruz “, which is almost three years without being fulfilled.

It should be remembered that Alexander has spent more than 17 years in confinement for “a murder he did not commit”, and also “at the time of his arrest did not speak Spanish, he was tortured, never had access to a translator and did not have enough money for adequate legal defense”, according to Sympathizers of the Voice of Amate. In September last year he was transferred from a state prison to a maximum security prison, although the crime for which he is serving a sentence does not pertain to the federal jurisdiction, nor is he a high risk prisoner. ‘No Estamos Todos Working Group called this move “political revenge” for “supporting and raising awareness among other prisoners and for not being silent about the abuses of the prison authorities.” The resolution of an injunction that could release Diaz Santiz for partial remission of his sentence is currently impending.

From the beginning of this year until May, the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) received more than 800 complaints about the operation of national prison system and detention centers, according to La Jornada. The same media source said that complaints are over “poor medical care, torture and ill-treatment, poor nutrition, insufficient labor and educational activities, lacking facilities and lack of hygiene.” They shall also noted that Chiapas is among the six states in which 80% of the complaints received are concentrated.

For more information in Spanish:

Malos tratos en el CEFERESO 15 de Villa Comaltitlán (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 6 de junio de 2016)

“Siempre estamos bajo amenazas, humillaciones físicas y verbales”, preso tsotsil de Chiapas, Alejandro Díaz Santiz. (Pozol Colectivo, 6 de junio de 2016)

Preso indígena denuncia “malos tratos” en penal de Chiapas (La Jornada en línea, 7 de junio de 2016)

La CNDH ha recibido este año 800 quejas contra el sistema penitenciario (La Jornada, 30 de mayo de 2016)

El profundo descuido del sistema penitenciario en México (Animal Político, 15 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Santiz ayuna por 17 años de encarcelamiento (13 de mayo de 2016)

Chiapas: Jornada por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Santiz y las y los presos políticos (19 de abril de 2016)

Chiapas: Exigen la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Santiz (11 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas: Trasladan a Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, junto a 386 presos, a penal de alta seguridad (15 de septiembre de 2016)

Guerrero: Discontent One Year after the Murder of Antonio Vivar

June 7, 2016

Vivar.pngCrowded funeral of Antonio Vivar in Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, in June 2015. Photo: @SIDIDH.

A year after the murder of Antonio Vivar, dozens of social organizations and human rights groups denounced the lack of investigation into the events that occurred on election day in the state of Guerrero in June last year. On that day “the young activist Antonio Diaz Vivar [was] arbitrarily executed and dozens of people were subjected to arbitrary detention and cruel and inhumane treatment” according to the Integrated Information System on Human Rights (SIDIDH). Advocacy organizations recalled that the social unrest in the state “found no channels of dialogue”, leading to “a series of violent incidents between elements of the police and army along with groups of armed men linked to political parties, who had a confrontation with members of the Guerrero Popular Movement (MPG) and the State Coordinator of Education Workers of the State of Guerrero (CETEG) in the city of Tlapa de Comonfort “.

They also noted that the investigation into the murder of Antonio Vivar “has not made significant progress and has failed to carry out important measures, as well as not including the information that the National Human Rights Commission obtained about the involvement of federal forces.” For its part, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center said that, “the public prosecutor of the federation dismissed the criminal action of the federal police and advocated collecting their testimonies, misrepresenting the events to make them seem like the injured parties.” In a statement they pointed out that the federal police declared that they had not carried firearms, they claim to have been held for several hours in a chapel and to have not known about the murder until the following day through the press. Added to this, they reported that the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) attempted to file the case without notifying the family of the MPG member. In response, the signatory organizations urged the PGR to initiate a thorough investigation and identify the responsibility of elements of the federal police.

 For more information in Spanish:

Tlachinollan | Exigen investigación diligente a un año de violencia electoral del 7 de junio en Guerrero (Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 6 de junio de 2016)

Denuncian organizaciones falta de investigación por el asesinato del activista Antonio Díaz (Sistema Integral de Información en Derechos Humanos, 7 de junio de 2016)

ONG de Tlapa bloquean puente para exigir que resuelvan el caso de Toño Vivar (La Jornada Guerrero, 6 de junio de 2016)

OPINIÓN | Permiso para matar (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 6 de junio de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Marchan en Tlapa de Comonfort a un mes del asesinato de Antonio Vivar Díaz (10 de julio de 2015)

Guerrero: Gana PRI elecciones en contexto de violencia (9 de junio de 2015)

Chiapas: Muere un maestro en los enfrentamientos de oposición a la evaluación magisterial (10 de diciembre de 2015)