Oaxaca: Attack on members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT) by construction workers tied to the Wind-Energy Firm of the South

May 14, 2015

índice

In a communique published on 4 May, members of the Mesoamerican Initiative of Human-Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), which is comprised of more than 690 human-rights defenders from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua denounced that the activists Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Rodrigo Peñaloza from the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT) were persecuted and intimidated by armed men who work in construction for the Wind-Energy Firm of the South on 16 April.

The events took place as Bettina Cruz Velázquez and Rodrigo Peñaloza were heading home after participating in a meeting with the Council that was being held in Juchitán, where Katia Puga was also present, being a representative from the Energy Secretariat (SENER).  The activists were verbally attacked and followed by a group of construction workers linked to the Wind-Energy Firm of the South.

The communique stresses that “these events took place even as Bettina Cruz is a beneficiary of the precautionary measures awarded by the Mechanism for Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists, as put on by the Governance Ministry (SEGOB), and which, according to Bettina Cruz herself, failed her, for she pressed the ‘Panic Button’ provided by the Mechanism during the confrontation, but it malfunctioned […].  We should also not forget that Bettina Cruz has just finished with a prolonged process of criminalization on the part of the State, during which she was accused of fabricated charges for the sole reason of punishing and making difficult her work in defense and promotion of human rights in the communities of the Tehuantepec Isthmus that resist the imposition of the wind-energy megaproject that threatens their lands.”

The rights-defenders demanded that authorities “guarantee the security and physical and moral integrity of Bettina Cruz Velázquez and other members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory; prevent, prosecute, and sanction dutifully all acts of aggression, coercion, and threats directed against members of the Assembly; and guarantee the observance of free, prior, and informed consent to the indigenous peoples of Juchitán with respect to the institution of the wind-energy project being advanced by the Wind-Energy Firm of the South according to established international standards.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Eolica del sur, con hombres armados intimida a opositores (Regeneración, 6 de mayo de 2015)

Nueva agresión a defensora tensa conflicto con empresa eólica (CIMAC Noticias, 5 de mayo de 2015)

Defensoras de Derechos Humanos condenan agresión de activista a manos de empresa eólica (Oaxacatrespuntocero, 4 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Activist Bettina Cruz is exonerated from federal charges (1 March 2015)

Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz (26 de septiembre de 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (7 March 2012)


National: Nomination of new head of the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists

May 14, 2015

Sara Irene Herrería Guerra (@ElIndpendiente.mx)

Sara Irene Herrería Guerra (@ElIndependiente.mx)

On 2 May, the Secretary for Governance reported that Sara Irene Herrerías Guerra was named the new head of the Institute for the Defense of Human Rights within this agency.  She will be responsible for the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists, making links with national and international organizations, as well as coordinating, orienting, and following up with the work for the protection and defense of human rights that is done in different federal institutions.

Herrerías Guerra was a social judge attending to victims of federal crimes and special prosecutor for violent crimes against women and human trafficking.

For more information (in Spanish):

Herrerías Guerra, nueva titular de Unidad para Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Radio fórmula, 3 de mayo de 2015)

Sara Irene Herrerías, a la Unidad de Derechos Humanos de Gobernación(La Jornada, 2 de mayo de 2015)

Nombra Osorio nueva funcionaria para DH (El Universal, 2 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)


Chiapas: Bishop Felipe Arizmendi presents his resignation to the Pope

May 14, 2015

Don Felipe Arizmendi (@CEM)

Don Felipe Arizmendi (@CEM)

On 1 May, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the bishop of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, reported that he has sent in his letter of resignation to Pope Francis, now that he has reached 75 years of age.

During the homily of the mass he celebrated on his birthday, the bishop announced that the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Christope Pierre, has told him that “Rome has indicated its desire for me to continue at this pastoral ministry, but it has not specified how long this extension would be.  We leave this up to divine providence.”

The bishop added that he has “no problem with accepting this request that is made of me,” insofar asGod, by means of the Pope, does not tell me to stop my service in this diocese, we will continue working together toward the consolidation of the Church’s project, which was well-expressed in the Third Diocene Synod: following the example of the beloved Tatik Samuel Ruiz García, we must be oppositional, liberatory, evangelizing, communal, and service-oriented, under the guidance of the holy spirit.”

Since 15 May 2014, the Pope had accepted the bishop’s proposal to designate Monseñor Enrique Díaz Díaz as a joint bishop, such that he will be next in the succession.  Felipe Arizmendi expressed that his desire is to return to his original diocese, Toluca, once his resignation has in fact been accepted.

For more information (in Spanish):

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi presenta su renuncia al Papa (la Jornada, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi envía renuncia al papa (El Universal, 1ero de mayo de 2015)

Obispo de San Cristóbal anuncia su retiro (Proceso, 1ero de mayo de 2015)


Chiapas: Ocosingo Public Ministry threatens human-rights defender

May 14, 2015


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In a press-release published on 23 April, the Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada Center for Human Rights denounced the threats made by the prosecutor from the Public Ministry, Rodolfo Manuel Gómez Gutiérrez, against the human-rights worker Manuel Hernández Aguilar, originally from Betania, Ocosingo municipality.

In a document, the Center reported that on 6 April, communities from the Betania region agreed to arrest someone who had been indicated by several witnesses of the crime of stealing cattle.  Since then, efforts have been made to open a dialogue toward an agreement that would compensate for the damages incurred and be established as a precedent with which to avert future problems.

The human-rights center indicated that, despite the intervention of the Governance Delegation, based in Ocosingo, the Public Ministry prosecutor denied any possibility of a communal arrangement, and he made available several different pronouncements threatening the authorities of the Betania ejido with the possibility of opening criminal investigations into the charge of kidnapping.  The Center added that the “Betania region, which includes 15 communities, is organized in a traditional way, whereby the indigenous seek to find solutions together to the conflicts which arise in the area.  These people have the internal rules and agreements that have been made in assembly to resolve these issues.”

The Center has denounced the threats made by Gómez Gutiérrez, holding him responsible for the peril in which he has placed the defenders and authorities who might intervene in this communal mediation process.  It has called on the Chiapas state government, particularly the State Attorney General’s Office, to instruct its workers to respect the communal agreements of the Betania region, Ocosingo muncipality, as based in their indigenous rights and culture.  It reiterated its willingness to enter a dialogue, requesting the immediate intervention of the corresponding authorities in finding a favorable solution.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro de la Nada (23 de abril de 2015)


Residents of Cruztón denounce threats and invasion of their lands

May 14, 2015

@RadioPozol

    @RadioPozol

On 26 April, in a communique, the Cruztón community, Venustiano Carranza municipality, Chiapas, which adheres to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, denounced “before the bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico, and the state governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello” the invasion of their lands, new threats of displacement, and the prohibition on working their lands due to the actions of the “Nuevo Guadalupe Victoria Organization,” based in the same municipality.

In 2007, Cruztón recovered nearly 250 hectares of land.  Since 2011, the community has suffered threats of forcible displacement and presently is being threatened by armed groups.

The community requests “immediate intervention, given that in 2013 we were threatened by this group, and on 16 April of this year, they appeared on our lands threatening us […].  They have also prevented us from entering our lands, frightening us with gunfire emanating from high-caliber weapons.  They also have prevented us from entering the sacred lands.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunidad Cruztón denuncia invasión de sus tierras (28 de abril de 2015)

Denuncian amenazas a pobladores de Cruztón, municipio de Venustiano Carranza, adherentes a la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona (24 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Cruztón denounces invasion of lands (8 June 2011)


Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice

May 3, 2015
DSCF4155

Photo @SIPAZ

On 26 April, 7 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, some 400 people installed in Mexico City an “antimonument” to commemorate the fact that this State atrocity continues to go unresolved.  After the antimonument was installed, Melitón Ortega, one of the parents of the disappeared students, stressed that seven months have passed during which the relatives of the disappeared have sought justice and truth, but these months have also implied a great deal of pain and frustration.  Ortega demanded that the Federal Attorney General’s Office attend to the recommendations of the interdisciplinary group of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to open new lines of investigation in the case, and to analyze the presumed participation of the military and the former governor Ángel Aguirre in the State crime.

On 23 April, Cuitláhuac and Lenin Mondragón attended the tenth Latin American Conference on Critical Jurisprudence “For Memory and Against Forgetting” that was held at the Center for Interdisciplinary Investigations in the Sciences and Humanities at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  They denounced that the murder of Julio César (the only one of the 43 youth whose remains have been found) has not been adequately covered by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), for the Guerrero state authorities have not carried out a “scientific investigation” to find and punish those responsible.  They demanded that the authorities provide justice in the case against the students, punishment of the intellectual and material authors of the crime, compensation of damages to the relatives of the disappeared in accordance with international standards, promises of non-repetition, the opening of new lines of investigation, and a formal recognition of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students, the extrajudicial murder of another six persons, including Julio César, and a recognition that Julio was tortured before his murder.

To demand justice, the defense lawyer Sayuri Herrera announced to SDP News that the family-members would request a summons before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) to denounce the case, given that, from their view, enough evidence exists to show that Julio César indeed was tortured.

For more information (in Spanish):

Impunidad, principal ganadora, dicen dos familiares de estudiante desollado (La Jornada, 24 de abril de 2015)

Llevarán a la Corte Interamericana asesinato del normalista Julio César Mondragón (SPDNoticias, 23 de abril de 2015)

Instalan antimonumento contra la impunidad por Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 27 de abril de 2015)

Ayotzinapa: Siete meses de impunidad y lucha por la justicia (Centro ProDH, 27 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/International: Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe (24 April 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (6 de marzo de 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)


Guerrero/National: SCJN examines IACHR sentence in the case of Inés and Valentina, indigenous women who were raped by the military in 2002

May 3, 2015

Inés y Valentina (@Tlachinollan)Inés and Valentina (@Tlachinollan)

On 21 April, the plenary of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) began a discussion regarding the sentence provided by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in August 2010 which condemned the Mexican State for the violation of the human rights of Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, indigenous women who were sexually assaulted by soldiers in Guerrero state in 2002.

Valentina and Inés have requested that the SCJN treat their case as it did the Radilla case (a forcible disappearance, also from Guerrero state) to determine the obligations of the judiciary amidst the sentences emitted by the IACHR.  They believe that the discussion within the Supreme Court is critically important, as this could lead to penal processes against soldiers with a focus on sexual torture and the administration of justice with a sensitivity to matters of gender and ethnicity, among other questions.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which has provided counsel for the two indigenous women, has declared that the process of debate “opens the possibility that the SCJN would recognize the symbolic struggle for justice that both women have undertaken, and to hand down criteria that would help indigenous women experience better conditions in their search for justice.  Above all, it would contribute to the cause of having sexual torture by investigated and adequately judged in Mexico.”

However, during one of the initial sessions, the SCJN decided to exclude from consideration the constitutionality of part II of the new article 57 of the Military Justice Code, which has to do with military tribunals.  Civil-society organizations present at the session expressed their concern due to this evident lack of concern for a deep analysis of the question.

For more information (in Spanish):

COMUNICADO “Inicia la SCJN discusión sobre las obligaciones del Poder Judicial de la Federación frente a las sentencias dictadas por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en los casos de Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo” (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 21 de abril de 2015)

Discute SCJN sentencia de CIDH por violación a indígenas en 2002 (La Jornada, 21 de abril de 2015)

Resoluciones de COIDH son obligatorias (El Universal, 21 de abril de 2015)

SCJN no revisará ley militar en caso de Valentina Rosendo e Inés Fernández (La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Beginning of legal processes against soldiers presumed to be responsible in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo (15 January 2014)

Guerrero: NGOs call on Peña Nieto to observe the sentences on Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo (5 February 2013)

Guerrero: Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández receive recognitions of their struggle (16 November 2012)

Guerrero – briefs: Mexican State recognizes responsibility in case of Valentina Rosendo (21 December 2011)


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