Chiapas: Civil Observation Mission to the Coast one year after the earthquake of September 7, 2017

September 18, 2018

Civil Observation MIssion to the Coast (@SIPAZ)

From September 4 to 6, a Civil Observation Mission made a visit to communities of the municipalities of Arriaga, Tonalá and Pijijiapán one year after the earthquake of September 7, 2017. I
t was organized by the Network All rights for all, the Human Rights Center “Digna Ochoa”, the Human Rights Center “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas”, the Human Rights Center “Fray Matías de Cordova” as well as Mesoamerican Voices, Action with Migrant Peoples in addition to the Service and Consultancy for Peace (Serapaz); and accompanied by SIPAZ and the Swedish Movement for Reconciliation (SweFOR). It should be remembered that this earthquake left damages in 97 municipalities of Chiapas and that, according to official data, more than 46 thousand families suffered damages to their homes, mainly in rural areas. There were also affectations in more than 800 schools, 184 hospitals, clinics, health centers and public buildings; as well as in 462 churches and historical monuments.

In the main conclusions after this visit, the Mission affirmed that the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) left more than 8 thousand victims of the Coast of Chiapas outside the censuses of damages, and without the possibility of receiving any resource for reconstruction.
Another 2 thousand 769 families that were registered didn’t receive the resources for the reconstruction that were given via BANSEFI cards. Those who obtained cards only received 70 percent of those resources for reconstruction since the government of Chiapas has not deposited the remaining 30 percent, which it was supposed to contribute. More than 90 percent of the families affected continue to live in adverse conditions, under tents and tarps, renting or living in semi-destroyed houses. Others had to request loans from banks to carry out the reconstruction.

Among the activities realized by the Mission, a meeting was held with the elected governor of Chiapas, Rutilio Escandón Cadenas, in which he was told about the serious damage suffered by the affected people, a situation that was aggravated by the ineffective action of the different levels of government : neither attended to all the people affected, nor made an adequate use of the resources. For this reason, the organizations of the Mission called on him to make changes in public policies as soon as he takes office. Escandón Cadenas reported that one of his first actions on the subject will be to elaborate what he called a “true census”.

The main recommendations of the Mission include:
to guarantee the right to a decent life and housing in favor of the thousands of victims in Chiapas due to the earthquake of September 7, 2017; to investigate and sanction all kinds of acts of corruption in the use of public funds for the reconstruction process; to urgently conclude the reconstruction of schools and health centers, as well as water and sanitation services; to create a program that allows the more than 8 thousand families of the coast of Chiapas that have not been considered within the reconstruction programs, to be granted support without any conditioning; and to guarantee the right to defend the human rights of the defenders and defenders in Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish) :

Misión Civil de Observación inicia visita a un año de los sismos reuniéndose con Gobernador electo Rutilio Escandón (Mco, 4 de septiembre de 2018)

Afectaciones de los damnificados se agravaron por la ineficacia del Gobierno” Misión Civil de Observación (Chiapas Paralelo, 4 de septiembre de 2018)

La simulación de la reconstrucción en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de septiembre de 2018)

Prometer no empobrece, dar es lo que aniquila”. A un año del sismo la costa de Chiapas sigue en emergencia (Regeneración, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

En Chiapas, a un año del terremoto, reconstrucción a cuenta gotas (Chiapas Paralelo, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

A un año del sismo del 7 de Septiembre en Chiapas, persisten violaciones a los Derechos Humanos de las familias damnificadas (CDH Digna Ochoa, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

10 mil damnificados sin ayuda en costa de Chiapas a un año de sismo (Regeneración, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca / National: 8th National Meeting of victims of the earthquakes of September 2017 in Juchitán September 16, 2018

Chiapas: Coastal Civil Observation Mission Ends Two Months after the 8.2 Earthquake November 23, 2017

National: Mexico Shaken by Two Huge Earthquakes Faces the Shock with a Wave of Solidarity September 30, 2017

Oaxaca: NGOs denounce “inadequate and insufficient response from the three levels of government” to earthquake disaster September 21, 2017

Chiapas: CNDH releases recommendation to Chiapas state government for unjust treatment

June 30, 2015

On 22 June, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) released a recommendation to the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, and to the Arriaga City Hall, regarding human-rights violations committed against two activists in August 2013. It observed that, in this case, municipal public servants and members of the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) violated the personal liberty, the right to self-defense, the right to juridical security, legality, and dignified treatment. For this reason, the CNDH had requested compensation for the damages incurred, in addition to recommending the organization of training courses to protect human-rights defenders, and requesting collaboration with the CNDH itself to present and follow-up with the denunciations of these acts committed by public servants with the proper authorities.

On 2 August 2013, the victims were on their way to the Arriaga City Hall in Chiapas, accompanying a group of residents of the Los Laureles neighborhood to carry out a dialogue with the authorities regarding the problems that affected this community. They denounced having been subjected to kidnapping, being held incomunicado, and being subjected to unjust treatment on the part of municipal and state authorities, after they led this protest-action.

For more information (in Spanish):

CNDH emite recomendación al gobierno de Chiapas por agresión a activistas(Proceso, 22 de junio de 2015)

Emite CNDH recomendación al gobierno de Chiapas por violación a derechos humanos (Radio Fórmula, 22 de junio de 2015)

La CNDH emite una recomendación al gobierno de Chiapas por agravio de activistas (Emeequis, 22 de junio de 2015)

National/Oaxaca: Father Solalinde declares that migrant flows will not diminish amidst imposition of new federal measures

August 5, 2014

Padre Alejandro Solalinde (@MPJD)

Padre Alejandro Solalinde (@MPJD)

If the number of undocumented migrants who have boarded the “Beast” (this being the train that travels from Arriaga, Chiapas, to Ixtepec, Oaxaca) seems to have diminished since the declarations made by the federal Secretary of Governance, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, that migrants would not be allowed to travel this way, Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, priest and recognized rights-defender for migrants, assured for his part that said policy would only increase the risks of travel without inhibiting migratory flows.

According to a report in La Jornada, Solalinde denounced that “Osorio Chong seeks to suppress the human rights of migrants; he is digging their graves even before they leave their countries.  He will be the only one responsible for whatever happens to the Central Americans.”

For his part, Alberto Donis Rodríguez, who heads the “Brothers on the Path” migrant home in Ixtepec, affirmed that the number of migrants continues steady, as train travel has now been replaced by overland routes on the highways.

Carlos Bartolo Solís, director of the Migrant Home of Compassion in Arriaga, Chiapas, affirmed that according to testimony from Central American migrants, masked armed men dressed in civilian clothes (presumably federal police) travel on the trains to persecute and detain migrants.

For more information (in Spanish):

Cava Osorio Chong tumbas de migrantes al impedirles viajar en La Bestia: Solalinde (1ero de agosto de 2014)

Sacerdote mexicano critica decisión contra viajes en la Bestia (Prensa Latina, 1ero de julio de 2014)

Flujo migratorio continuará pese a amenazas de Osorio Chong, asegura Solalinde (Pá, 31 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (2 May 2014)

Chiapas: March from Suchiate river to denounce abuses against migrants, and beginning of hunger strike (29 April 2013)

Chiapas: denunciation of threats of possible attack on Migrant Home in Arriaga

July 28, 2014

Albergue “Todos por Ellos”, en Tapachula (@Centro PRODH)

Migrant home “All for All” in Tapachula (@Centro PRODH)

On 21 July, Carlos Bartolo Solís, director of the Migrant Home “House of Compassion” in Arriaga on the coast of Chiapas denounced that he had received a threat from organized crime groups dedicated to the trafficking in migrants against the center.  That same day, a migrant warned him that an attack was being prepared, as led by someone known as Simón N.

Bartolo Solís mentioned that police surveillance of the trains have diminished over the past several months, and that fewer and fewer patrols are seen.  He announced that he would contact federal authorities and the National Commisson on Human Rights (CNDH) so that they intervene to guarantee the protection and security for the migrant home.  At present, the local authorities do nothing more than “provide promises and speeches.”

Some weeks ago, Father Ramón Verdugo, from the Migrant Home “All for All” in Tapachula, also denounced death-threats and persecution for his work as a defender of the rights of migrants.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncian supuestas amenazas contra albergue de migrantes en Arriaga (Proceso, 21 de julio de 2014)

El ‘invisible’ tráfico de miles de niños migrantes en la frontera sur (CNN México, 21 de julio de 2014)

Acción Urgente por amenazas en contra de integrantes del albergue para personas migrantes Todos por Ellos de Tapachula (Amnistía Internacional; 26 de junio de 201)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (May 3, 2014)

National: Migrant pilgrimage arrives in Mexico City (May 2, 2014)

Chiapas: March from Suchiate river to denounce abuses against migrants, and beginning of hunger strike (April 29, 2013)

Chiapas: March from Suchiate river to denounce abuses against migrants, and beginning of hunger strike

April 29, 2013


On 16 April, approximately 20 activists and migrants began a march of 290 kilometers from the Suchiate river, following the route taken by the undocumented, to denounce the sexual and labor exploitation to which many Central American migrants are subjected within the southern border region of Mexico.  The march was to end two days later in Arriaga, where the migrants often take the freight train toward the center of the country.

However, the following day, the protest ended in Tapachula, due to the fact that its members had received death-threats “by phone and in person, though we do not know from whom they originate,” declared the organizers.  Ramón Verdugo Sánchez, member of the organization “All for all” to assist street children and migrants, explained that “due to the fact that the security of those who were marching could not be assured, we decided to change the action into a hunger strike, which is something that is more drastic and sacrificial, given that it can exert the same pressure on the authorities so that they fulfill their responsibilities.  We are not asking for the impossible, given that it is their obligation to show that they are working to protect minors in the streets and migrants in transit.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Caminata desde el Suchiate para denunciar abusos contra migrantes(La Jornada, 17 de abril de 2013)

Por amenazas, deciden activistas concluir en Tapachula y no en Arriaga caminata (La Jornada, 17 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Organizations present report on migration during Sabines’ six-year reign (21 December 2012)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children (2 November 2012)

Chiapas/Oaxaca: #WeMigrantsAre132 (20 June 2012)

Chiapas/Tabasco: “The forgotten border” press-conference (13 December 2011)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)


Chiapas: Peaceful march for the release of opponent to wind-energy park in Arriaga

February 5, 2013

Imagen @ Escrutinio Público

On 30 January close to a hundred residents of the Arriaga community, led by Heymán Vázquez Medina, a priest and director of the migrant home Place of Mercy, and members of non-governmental organizations like Pro-Migrant, marched to demand the release of the owner of the land known as El Brillante, César Octavio Blanco García.  On El Brillante are located nine of the sixteen wind-energy plants that were closed down on 14 January by ejidatarios who have been affected by the wind-energy park that is the property of the Dragón firm, a subsidiary of the Salinas Group.

Blanco García has been held in prison no. 13 in Tonalá since 22 January, accused of the crime of looting, after he and twenty others closed down the wind-energy park to protest the violation of contract and environmental damage suffered by ejidatarios and small property owners.

Heymán Vázquez requested that the state governor, Manuel Velasco Colleo, respect the state of right and that the authorities not act in the interests of the powerful.  During the rally at the end of the march, the priest said that Blanco García was no paratrooper but rather owner of land where new wind-energy plants have been installed to produce electricity, and that he was merely exercising his rights.  The priest also added that the Catholic church, social organizations, and the people of Arriaga demanded his immediate release, given that working people cannot be held behind bars.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Heymán Vázquez Medina (30 de enero de 2013)

Exigen libertad de líder que se opuso a empresa eólica de Grupo Salinas en Arriaga (Blog Escrutinio Público, 30 de enero de 2013)

Exigen liberar a opositor a la empresa Dragón, en Chiapas (Milenio, 30 de enero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Displacement of campesinos who were protesting a wind-energy park in Arriaga (29 January 2013)

Chiapas: Judicial Harassment of Human-Rights Defender

June 21, 2010

Manifestación Consejo Autónomo dela Costa (@CDH Digna Ochoa)

On 18 June, the Observation-Institution for the Protection of Human Rights, which is associated with the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requested the intervention of the Mexican government in light of acts of judicial harassment against Nataniel Hernández, director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, in the coastal region of Chiapas.

On 11 June, Nataniel Hernández was called before the Public Ministry; he arrived on the 15th, there to be informed that an investigation had been undertaken into his participation in a road-block in the municipality of Pijijiapan in April.  This road-block had been organized by several community organizations engaging in civil resistance against high electricty-prices; they form the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas.  During the interrogation that lasted three hours, Hernández admitted having been presented at the road-block, given that “in his capacity as director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, […] his presence as an observer had been requested, so that he could document any rights-violation that could occur during the event”.

In a joint communiqué, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human-Rights Center and the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center find that “the investigations of the Federal Attorney General’s Office in the city of Arriaga, Chiapas, constitute acts of harassment against Mr. Nataniel, linked to his work in defense and promotion of human rights.  We fear that the Federal Public Minister Angel Sandoval Lara turn the case over the corresponding judge and concurrently request an arrest-order against the director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Joint bulletin Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human-Rights Center (16 June)

Urgent Action from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH, 17 June)

Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center Blog