Chiapas: the Peace Network expresses its concern for the possible detention of human-rights defender

July 19, 2010
Marcha del movimiento en contra de las altas tarifas en Tonalá, el 8 de marzo de 2010 @ Consejo Regional Autónomo de la Zona Costa de Chiapas

March of the movement against high electricity-prices in Tonalá, 8 March 2010 @ the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas

The Peace Network, comprised of civil and human-rights organizations in the state of Chiapas, expressed in a pronouncement its worry regarding the open judicial process against Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, which could result in his detention.  We here reproduce the bulletin in full:

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

13 July 2010

Pronouncement of the Peace Network

  • Concern for the criminalization of the work of human-rights defender
  • Call to respect the accompaniment of organizational processes

We, the civil organizations that comprise the Peace Network in Chiapas, manifest our profound concern for the judicial process that accuses Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, director of the “Digna Ochoa” Human-Rights Center, in the city of Tonalá, Chiapas.

The accusation was presented against Hernández Nuñez for his presence as a human-rights observer in a peaceful protest carried out by the Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone on 13 April 2010.  During the event, the Council, which is part of the Other Campaign, denounced the stealing of electrical cables that two communities that pertain to the Autonomous Council had suffered.  Furthermore, protestors demanded that the Federal Commission of Electricity reinstall the electrical service that had left more than 150 families–resisting high-electricity prices–without electricity for more than a week.

On 11 June 2010, the AFI arrived at Nataniel Hernández Nuñez’s home to present an order demanding his presence on 15 June at 10:00am in the city of Arriaga, Chiapas.  In this order Hernández Nuñez was informed that there exists an investigation (no. AVP/PGR/032/2010) against him, one that charges him with the crime of attacking means of communication, a situation that places him in a state of permanent vulnerability: “The procedural state in which [Nataniel Hernández Nuñez] finds himself is that of the previously mentioned investigation; pending is the arraignment and the request for the arrest-order, if the necessary elements are found to exist.”

As human-rights defenders, we are concerned by the legal punishment imposed by the state government against this human-rights defender, a case that seems to represent yet another example of the recurring criminalization of the work of defense and accompaniment realized by human-rights organizations in the case of different organizations and communities that promote civil and peaceful transformation in Chiapas.

We call on the appropriate state and federal authorities to do the following:

  1. Immediately suspend the judicial process against the director of the “Digna Ochoa” Human-Rights Center, seeing as it is clearly a crime invented to criminalize and make difficult his work.
  2. Cease the vigilance and harassment of Nataniel Hernández Nuñez, as well as the rest of the members of the “Digna Ochoa” Human-Rights Center.
  3. Respect the work of human-rights defenders in all of Mexico.

Regards

Member organizations of the Peace Network

Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas de Acción Comunitaria, A.C. (Ciepac)

Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C. (Desmi)

Comisión de Apoyo a la Unidad y Reconciliación Comunitaria, A.C. (Coreco)

Enlace Capacitación y Comunicación, A.C. (Enlace CC)

Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz, A.C. (Serapaz)

Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas, A.C. (CDMCH)

Centro de Derechos Indígenas, A.C. (Cediac)

Comité de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada, A.C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, A.C. (Frayba)

Educación para la Paz (Edupaz)

For more information (in Spanish):

Joint bulletin from the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human-Rights Center and the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center (pdf) (16 July 2010)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Judicial Harrassment of Human-Rights Defender (21 June 2010)