Guerrero: Celebration of the 17th anniversary of Tlachinollan: Forum in Defense of the Land

July 17, 2011

17th anniversary of the Tlachinollan Mountain CDH (@SIPAZ)

On 1 and 2 July was celebrated in Tlapa de Comonfort in Guerrero’s La Montaña the 17th anniversary of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, days on which were held a “Forum in Defense of Land,” a subject around which many peoples have been organizing themselves.  The forum was attended by nearly 200 individuals from different social and civil organizations from Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and other places.

During the first day of the forum were had presentations by activists of different municipalities in Guerrero and Oaxaca who are opposed to mineral exploration and exploitation and the construction of hydroelectric dams in their territories.  On the second day, participants met in three work-groups (Defense of Territory, Right to Consultation, and Defense against Dams) where they could share their experiences and seek out ways in which to unite their efforts.  A common theme at the forum was the right to consultation.  Different speakers emphasized its importance and the fact that several different interpretations of the concept could be had, depending on the party in question and his or her interests in a given project.

In spite of the reduced presence of women in the panels on the first day, many participated actively in the plenary sessions and in the work-groups.  In the group on Defense against Repression, several women emphasized the importance of women’s participation in struggle.  They mentioned that it is often women who lead struggles of resistance against the exploitation of land.

Abel Barrera, director of Tlachinollan, celebrated that by means of the Forum there had been promoted a dialogue among communities, and he hopes that a communication network among the communities themselves and between communities, universities, and civil organizations continues to expand.  In other news, one of the participants at the Forum, a comunero from the community of La Montaña, stressed the importance of the daily work of Tlachinollan regarding the education of peoples.  “Before we didn’t know why to defend our lands against mining, but Tlachinollan has told us many things.  The mining companies just tell us what they are going to do, but they do not count the costs.”

The celebration of the 17th anniversary ended with a mass in the Catholic church of Tlapa, celebrated in honor to Tlachinollan, as well as with a festival of presentations of traditional and modern cultures.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronouncement of the Forum in Defense of the Land (in spanish) (2 July 2011)

Se recrudece la criminalización de la lucha social: Tlachinollan (La Jornada de Guerrero, 3 July 2011)

Llama Tlachinollan a las autoridades a no manosear asambleas comunitarias (El Sur de Acapulco, 3 July 2011)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Briefs- Members of OPIM and the Tlachinollan Mountain CDH suffer death-threats; invitation to the Tlachinollan anniversary; case of ecologists of the Sierra de Petatlán (4 July 2011)

Oaxaca: UN publication on right to consultation and megaprojects is presented (5 July 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: The violent legacy of the Zeferino Torreblanca administration; New Governor Ángel Aguirre to meet with La Parota opposition; Tlachinollan receives Human Rights award from Amnesty International

April 18, 2011

On April 1, Guerrero’s new governor, Ángel Aguirre Rivero took office. The previous governor, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, was strongly criticized by various civil society actors during his term in office. In a press release on March 25, the Community Development Workshop (TADECO) and the Committee of Relatives and Friends of Kidnapped, Disappeared and Murdered in Guerrero said, “Under the agonizingly bad governance of Zeferino Torreblanca, the lack of coherent and effective policies on security and human rights was not only a result of the inefficiency and inability of his government, but rather, such crimes were being organized by the state, reaffirming the fact that the governments of Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo and Felipe Calderón Hinojosa are ultimately responsible for this situation by action, omission or connivance. ” Similarly, the president of the Human Rights Commission of Guerrero (CODDEHUM), Juan Alarcón Hernández, said that during the term of Torreblanca, Guerrero suffered setbacks on human rights and now faces a stage that is “unfortunate and of crisis.” At least 202 abductions, more than 5,000 intentional homicides, including 11 journalists and 447 against women, and 170 missing, is the legacy left by Zeferino Torreblanca in Guerrero, according to CODDEHUM.

The new governor, Angel Aguirre, in an interview with Formula Radio on Tuesday April 5, clarified that in the case of the La Parota dam, he did not say he supported its construction and that he would consult the mayor Manuel Anorve Baños. “No, I did not say ‘yes’ to La Parota, I said that there were a number of projects to be analyzed, among which is La Parota.” He said the April 11 Council will meet with the Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota (CECOP), accompanied by Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos from the Diocese of Acapulco. During his campaign, Aguirre first came out against the hydroelectric project, possibly for the support of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but after a meeting with the former governor, Zeferino Torreblanca, he said he would consider it. For his part, the mayor of Acapulco, Manuel Anorve – who was a candidate for governor of the state alliance, Better Times for Guerrero – reiterated his support for the construction of the hydroelectric dam. He stated that no one can be against the development of Acapulco. He said hydroelectric power is “a new and economically important industry that will generate 10,000 jobs. I’ll be doing what corresponds to me being a mayor in order for the project to be realized.”

Finally, on 19 March, Amnesty International issued a statement that the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña and its director, Abel Barrera Hernández, will receive the VI Human Rights Award from Amnesty International. The organization wants to recognize the struggle for the human rights of the indigenous population in the state of Guerrero, parting from the work of the anthropologist Abel Barrera and the Human Rights Center of the Montaña. The awards ceremony will take place during the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International in Berlin, Germany on May 27 this year.

For more information:

Cinco mil asesinatos, 202 secuestros y 170 desaparecidos, la herencia de Torreblanca (Proceso, 29 March)

Se extingue un gobierno de pesadilla y en el horizonte no percibimos ninguna luz de justicia (TADECO and the Comittee of Relatives and Friends of Kidnapped, Disappeared and Murdered in Guerrero, 25 March)

Dice Aguirre sobre el sexenio de Zeferino que no habrá revanchismos, pero tampoco impunidad (Sur Acapulco, 7 April)

Se reunirá Ángel Aguirre con los opositores a la presa La Parota (La Jornada, 7 April)

Refrenda Añorve su apoyo a La Parota; nadie puede ir contra el desarrollo, dice (Sur Acapulco, 7 April)

Incluirá Aguirre a la Iglesia en discusión por La Parota (La Jornada, 7 April)

Con Aguirre, relación de trabajo y de respeto, dice Añorve Baños (La Jornada, 7 April)

Comunicado de Amnistía Internacional (19 March)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero – breves: Instalación de mesas de trabajo en los casos de Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo; Acto simbólico en el río Papagayo en contra de la presa La Parota, CRAC convoca para Foro contra la minería – 12 de abril (25 March)

Guerrero: International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest

May 4, 2009

On April 20 and 21 of 2009, the “International Forum on the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and Social Protest” took place in the Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero. It was organized by various human rights organizations from Guerrero and the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF, based in the US), with the goal of dealing with the serious situation which confronts human rights defenders in Mexico and in Guerrero in particular, as well as discussing possible responses to this situation. The long title of the forum is a result of the wide definition of human rights defenders (from the UN), a concept which is wider than just legal defense and involves many social movements as well.

Katya Salazar, the director of the DPLF, and Abel Barrera, the director of the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) began the forum by denouncing the general tendency to criminalize human rights defenders, which has worsened in the last few months, especially in the Guerrero with the cases of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, members of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) who were abducted, tortured, and executed in February, the closing of the offices of the CDHM Tlachinollan in Ayutla for security issues, and the threats and violence that the members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM) have suffered. Emilie Joly, of the DPLF, stressed that in Guerrero there existed a three-step pattern of criminalization of human rights defenders: the closing of channels of dialogue and negotiation, the repression of civil, peaceful protests, and the use of judicial processes against human rights defenders (disproportionate or fabricated crimes against them, and the lack of investigation into threats and violence against human rights defenders).

The next day, the tables of discussion analyzed the reality of the situation and evaluated plans of action. They concluded with a final declaration including various denunciations and demands.

To Read the Final Declaration of the Forum (In English and Spanish)

For More Information (In Spanish):

artículo de prensa: Asesinato de Lucas y Ponce agrava situación de derechos en Guerrero, La Jornada Guerrero (21/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Criminalización de la protesta, patrón incesante en Guerrero, concluyen en Foro Internacional, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Señalan desprecio a ONG humanitarias en Guerrero, La Jornada (20/04/09)

artículo de prensa: Rinden homenaje a viudas de Raúl Lucas y Manuel Ponce; les entregan retratos de los líderes, El Sur de Acapulco (22/04/09)

Comunicado: ONG denuncian las tendencias de desprestigio al trabajo de los defensores en AL, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos \”Todos los derechos para todas y todos\” (20/04/09)

boletín de prensa: En América Latina hay una tendencia a desprestigiar el trabajo de defensores de derechos humanos, Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan (20/04/09)

Guerrero: The IACHR grants precautionary measures to 107 human rights defenders in Guerrero

May 4, 2009

On April 21, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) approved a resolution which demanded that the Federal Government and the Government of the Guerrero implement measures of protection of 107 human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero. 41 from the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM), the members of the Organization of the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) and the family members of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, the two human rights defenders who were murdered in February of 2009, and the members of the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan).

The precautionary measures were granted by way of a request made on April 7 and they demonstrate the lack of adequate conditions for the realization of the work of human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero. After the forced disappearance and the extrajudicial execution of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, the threats against human rights defenders have intensified. There have been constant denunciations of death threats against the families of Lucas Lucía and Ponce Rosas, as well as threats against the members of the CDHM Tlachinollan. In addition the members of the OPIM have received threats because of their work in the region of Ayutla de los Libres.

In response to the call of national and international human rights organizations to implement measures of protection in favor of human rights defenders in Guerrero, the State Government stated that it could not guarantee special protection for a few citizens. According the Jornada of Guerrero, the Secretary of Government, Guillermo Ramírez Ramos, stated that “not only social organizations have the right to protection”. In response Abel Barrera, the director of the CDHM Tlachinollan, denounced the lack of political will to protect the work of human rights defenders.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Denuncian al país por violaciones a indígenas, El Universal, 21/4/09.

Demanda CIDH protección para defensores ante nuevas amenazas, La Jornada Guerrero, 22/4/09.

Rechaza el gobierno de Torreblanca proteger a defensores de derechos, La Jornada Guerrero, 23/4/09.

For More Information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Hostilities and aggressions continue against human rights defenders, SIPAZ Blog, (4/2).



Guerrero: National and international organizations demand an investigation into the killing of the two human rights defenders, SIPAZ Blog, (3/2)

Guerrero: the bodies of two mixteco leaders, reported dissapeared since February 13, are found, SIPAZ Blog, (2/24).

Guerrero: Hostilities and aggressions continue against human rights defenders

April 2, 2009

The director of the CDHM Tlachinollan, Abel Barrera

On March 25, the Human Rights Center of the Montaña Tlachinollan (CDHM Tlachinollan) denounced, in a letter signed by hundreds of national and international organizations, that in recent weeks aggressions and threats against human rights defenders have intensified. They denounced hostilities against the wives of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, the two murdered indigenous human rights defenders, and also hostilities against Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, the president of the Indigenous Me’phaa Peoples Organization (OPIM), who has received death threats for her work as a human rights defender.

The CDHM Tlachinollan also denounced aggressions and hostilities against its own members. According to a press release, some of its members were followed in a threatening manner while they were traveling in Ayutla de los Libres. The CDHM Tlachinollan stated: “The organizations of human rights defenders are living in an intolerable atmosphere for their work as human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero and in reality, the search for justice in the case of the disappearance and murder of the two human rights defender has generated a situation of high risk for those demanding a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible. In this respect we must declare that this situation is a consequence of the failure of the local authorities to carry out their obligations.”

On March 26, the CDHM Tlachinollan announced that it was temporarily closing its offices in Ayutla de los Libres because of a lack security related to the recent intensification of hostilities against human rights defenders. Abel Barrera Hernández, the director of the Center, stated that this was a “drastic decision” “brought on by the lack of conditions for human rights defenders in one of the poorest regions of the country, where the government has opted for militarization”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Se intensifican agresiones contra defensores de derechos humanos en Guerrero, CDHM Tlachinollan, 25/3.

Cierra centro de derechos humanos en Guerrero por amenazas, PROCESO, 25/3.

Por falta de garantías, Tlachinollan anuncia cierre de oficina en Ayutla, La Jornada Guerrero, 25/3.