Oaxaca: provisional measures are requested for those displaced from San Juan Copalá, and MULT demands the clarification of the death of Pazos Ortiz

November 8, 2010

On Tuesday 26 October, the Center for Human Rights and Assessment of Indigenous Peoples (CEDHAPI) and the Bartolomé Carrasco Center for Human Rights (Barca) “urgently” requested before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the granting of provisional measures for the displaced 135 residents of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá, located in the northwestern Triqui region of the state of Oaxaca, who had previously received precautionary measures from the IACHR on 7 October.  In their petition to the IACHR, CEDHAPI and Barca noted that Omeheira López Reyna, director of the Institution for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights from the Secretary for Governance, had not to date responded to the requests sent by both organizations.  They demanded that a meeting be held to discuss the implementation of the precautionary measures; it is precisely in light of the ignoring of such demands that CEDHAPI and Barca requested the provision of provisional measures, which would, according to them, represent “measures of protection for cases of extreme gravity and urgency, when it is necessary to avoid irreparable damage to people.”

In other news, members of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) have continued participating in road-blocks in several municipalities in the state of Oaxaca following the murder of their leader Heriberto Pazos Ortiz in Oaxaca de Juárez on 23 October.  In a press conference last week, members of MULT’s political commission demanded the clarification of the circumstances surrounding the killing of Pazos Ortiz, noting that “the State has undertaken a dirty war against social organizations and MULT; it seeks to destabilize the Triqui region to justify its militarization of it.” They added that soldiers had arrived to the Triqui communities of San Miguel Copala and Llano Aguacate, sympathetic to MULT, on Saturday 30 October.

For more information (in Spanish):

NGOs request intervention of the IACHR in the case of San Juan Copala (Proceso, 26 October)

Provisional measures for 135 persons from San Juan Copala (CIMAC, 2 November)

CEDHAPI-Barca petition to the IACHR

The Triqui movement will intensify its protests in Oaxaca and Mexico City starting today (La Jornada, 4 November)

MULT demands the clarification of the death of its leader (La Jornada, 29 October)

Ombudsman from Oaxaca has not yet opened file on killings of Triquis (La Jornada, 5 November)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, leader and founder of MULT, is killed (26 October)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region against individuals who had been granted precautionary measures by the IACHR (20 October)

Oaxaca: the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá is dismantled

September 30, 2010

On 13 September, a group of 500 heavily-armed men entered the Municipal Palace of San Juan Copalá, occupying it with fire.  There, they presented an ultimatum demanding the removal of 100 families from the municipality within 24 hours.  In the following days, given rumors of a possible massacre, the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle-Independent (MULT-I) made public a number of denunciations regarding the violence: on 18 September were killed David García Ramírez and Paulino Ramírez Reyes, MULT-I sympathizers.  The same day were disappeared Eugenio Martínez, Jordán González Ramírez, María Agustina Flores y Susana López Martínez, all residents of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá.  Jorge Albino, member of the autonomous municipality, warned during the weeked of 18 September that the residents of San Juan Copalá no longer had “either food or water,” claim confirmed by Joaquín Rodríguez Palacios, general sub-secretary of governance in Oaxaca, two days later.  On 19 September, authorities of San Juan Copalá made yet another call for the organization of another humanitarian-support caravan for the residents of the autonomous municipaliy.

According to declarations made by Jorge Albino (MULT-I), on 20 September militants from MULT (Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle) and UBISORT (Union for the Social Welfare of the Triqui Region) entered San Juan Copalá at mid-day and began to burn 100 homes, causing the MULT-I sympathizers still residing in the community to flee. On 23 September, all had fled, with entire families displaced.  MULT declared publicly not to have participated in these acts.

On 20 September, 10 Triqui women and 9 children began a hunger strike in the Oaxaca de Juárez’s Zócalo in protest of recent events, while residents of the autonomous municipality held protests outside the Secretary of Governance in Mexico City and a rally in front of the Oaxaca State Attorney General’s Office.

At the same time negotiations aimed at reducing the violence lived in San Juan Copala that had been called by the Catholic Church failed.  Only one MULT representative came to the proposed meeting arranged by Arturo Lona Reyes, bishop of Tehuantepec, and the legal adviser of the Archdiocese, Wilfrido Mayren Peláez.  MULT-I initially responded by saying that it was not in principle opposed to such negotiations, although it established pre-conditions for such: “the cessation of violence and aggression, as well as guarantees for the life and integrity of the residents of San Juan Copala; the presentation with life of the disappeared, in addition to permitting human-rights and civil-society organizations access to the region, so that they can verify the conditions lived in the community.”

In light of this alarming context, Amnesty International released an urgent action demanding that the Oaxaca’s state government and the federal government investigate the aggression and sexual violence directed against two Triqui women on 7 September, as well as other aggressions against the residents of San Juan Copalá, and that their basic rights be observed.  Similarly, the Ecclesiastical Observatory and the Bartolomé Carrasco Regional Center for Human Rights (Barca) declared that, in case that violence continue unabated in the Triqui region, primary responsibility would lie with the state and federal governments.  Gabriela Juárez, execuive secretary of the Ecclesiastical Observatory, observed that “we are outraged by what has happened in San Juan Copala, because while our brothers are being ravaged, the government celebrates the bi-centennial, as though they wanted us to forget about the violence.”


In contrast, in declarations published in La Jornada on 25 September, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, governor of Oaxaca, claimed there not to be paramilitaries, dead, or disappeared in San Juan Copalá: “That is merely an invention of those who claim such [to exist].” The governor also rejected calls for public security forces to resolve the conflict, declaring that “the problem is one of different ideologies […] that will be solved if the three groups come together to promote dialogue and accords.”

For more information (in Spanish):

The destruction of Copalá (La Jornada, 27 September)

In Copala, there are neither dead nor paramilitaries: Ulises Ruiz (La Jornada, 26 September)

MULTI demands a cessation to violence in San Juan Copala (La Jornada, 22 September)

Triqui children and women begin hunger strike against paramilitary siege (La Jornada, 21 September)

Ulises Ruiz is called on to stop “genocide” (La Jornada, 21 September)

Triqui people call for an urgent caravan against armed attacks in Copala (La Jornada, 20 September)

Second murder in one day of MULTI members in Copala (La Jornada, 20 September)

Residents of San Juan Copala demand protection from public-security forces for the autonomous municipality (La Jornada, 18 September)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: threat of massacre in San Juan Copala is denounced (20 September)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September)

Oaxaca: new ambush in Triqui region leaves 3 dead and 2 injured (1 September)

Oaxaca: mujeres triquis denuncian contexto que padecen (20 de agosto)

Oaxaca: human-rights defender Mayen Pilar Arellanes Cano threatened

September 20, 2010

On 1 September, the Regional Center for Human Rights “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A.C. denounced the harassment and robbery directed against the lawyer and human-rights defender Mayen Pilar Arrellanes Cano, member of CEDEDH (the Center for Defense of Human Rights “IIN NTUSU”).  Mayen Pilar Arellanes is also the founder of the “Committee of Liberation 25 November” and recipient of precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2007.

The denounced happenings occurred on 26 August.  The testimony of Mayen Pilar Arellanes details “when [she] was returning from the community where she works–that is, Yalagag–at approximately 7pm I arrived at my home, which is located in the agrarian reform neighborhood in Oaxaca de Juárez, I was surprised to find that when I entered, the doors that lead to the kitchen and my bedroom were open and all my belongings thrown around, my drawers emptied, and my papers all disorganized.  From what I could tell I am missing my laptop computer that contains archives regarding cases that I have been documenting since 2006–ones that deal with great systematic rights-violations.  This is the case with Lauro Juárez, an indigenous Chatino who has been disappeared since December 2007.  Among other personal and work-related data there was found photographs of the same cases of systematic rights-violations as well as personal and family photos.  My USB memory-stick with recorder that also contains data was also taken; it had testimony of political prisoners from 2005-2006 and some archives of rights-violations directed against indigenous peoples, particularly those of Yalalag.  I am also missing my notebook, which I always carry with me when I got to meetings; it contains notes regarding rights-violations as well as 2000 pesos in cash.  They also took my badge that identifies me as a member of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights IIN NTUSU.”

The Regional Center for Human Rights “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” has demanded that the Mexican State put an end to the violent threats and other forms of intimidation directed at Arellanes Cano as well as carry out investigations to punish those responsible.

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgent Action from the Regional Center for Human Rights “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” (1 September 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Urgent Action in the case of Padre Uvi (13 August 2010)

Oaxaca: Urgent Action in the case of Padre Uvi

August 13, 2010

Padre Uvi (@ Colectivo Pinotepa)

On Thursday 5 August, the Regional Center for Human Rights “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” A.C. (Barca), located in Oaxaca de Juárez, released an Urgent Action regarding the case of Father R. Fco. Wilfrido Mayrén Peláez, also known as Padre Uvi.  The Urgent Action emphasized the work Padre Uvi has engaged in on human rights since the year 1992, being the founder of Barca.  It disclosed that Padre Uvi has supported the social-organizational process of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala in the Triqui region, approaching different media and international organizations “so that they be familiar with the situation that prevails in the area.” He denounced the killing of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola on 27 April of this year, presumably prosecuted by members of the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), and he has taken on the defense of Padre Martín Octavio García Ortiz following his kidnapping by strangers on 19 June.

Barca’s communiqué relates that two representatives from the European Parliament requested asylum from Padre Uvi on 2 July after realizing that they were being pursued by members of UBISORT after having held a meeting in which had been discussed the situation in San Juan Copalá.  It mentions that UBISORT has accused Padre Uvi of being responsible for the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of this organization, on 30 July.  Barca emphasizes that “the attacks directed against father [Uvi] worry us, given that they are increasingly frequent and threatening,” adding that “unfortunately here in Oaxaca, there are many cases of attacks on human-rights defenders, and we believe that people from the government and complying groups could make attempts against the physical and psychological integrity of [Padre Uvi], given that the government has protected with all impunity some groups in the state, as is the case with UBISORT.” Barca made a call to “all those social human-rights organizations, people, and international media to be conscious of and endorse the responsibility of the Mexican State to guarantee security and protect the lives and work of human-rights defenders in Oaxaca.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Barca Urgent Action in full (5 de agosto)

Millenarians and subversive activists reject the army among the Triquis (Despertar, 2 August)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: more violence in the Triqui region following the killing of Anastasio Juárez Hernández, leader of UBISORT and brother to Rufino Juárez Hernández (13 August 2010)

Oaxaca: Update on the case of Padre Martín (19 July)

Oaxaca: arrest of cleric following killings of PRI functionaries in San José el Progreso (30 June)

Oaxaca: Attack on observation caravan — 2 dead and 4 missing (29 April)