Oaxaca: Verdict of the Popular Community Trial against the Mexican State and the mining companies

January 4, 2019

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On December 10th, on the International Human Rights Day as part of a political act in front of the Government Palace villages in Oaxaca-City, communities and organizations that participated in the “Popular Community Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca” last October publicly presented the final verdict.

It should be remembered that in the Popular Community Trial participated 52 communities who presented 22 cases of affectations caused by mining in 5 of the state’s regions including – says the verdict- “irreversible affectations to the ecosystem, river contamination, fractures in the social structure and generalized insecurity in the regions, where those mining projects operate through mining companies, shock groups and state authorities”.

The verdict put forward the necessity to rescind the 322 concessions and the 41 valid mining projects within the State “as those were imposed without previous, free and informed consent by the communities and while violating our right to self-determination and autonomy to our cultural integrity, to administrate and control our territories and to maintain the collective property of our lands and communal natural goods”.

Equally, it demanded the immediate suspension of the issue of quarrying rights “until a new legal framework has been elaborated that fully and effectively respects the indigenous people’s rights as they were established in international treaties and the Constitution, until the repeal of the current mining law and others that protect the relations with that industry”. Likewise, it urged the authorities to pass laws and public policies which protect the indigenous people’s rights, which recognize them as subjects to public rights and include the in effective mechanisms of integral reparations for the caused damage.

The legal judgment also put forward the necessity to protect those who defend their territories so that they can do so in “conditions of liberty and security” and it demanded that “the politics of criminalization against the social protest are stopped, that the people responsible for assassinations are punished and that the disappeared territorial activists are presented alive immediately as well as the suspension of arrest warrants issued for the same reasons, individual and collective threats”.

The political act ended proclaiming “Yes to life, no to mining!” and “Neither gold nor silver, mining kills!”.

The report about the civil trial details that until 2017 there haven been registered 42 mining projects by 38 companies from Canada, the United States, Peru, Australia and Mexico. 36 of them in stage of exploration, 2 in development, one was postponed and 2 are already in the phase of commercial exploitation.

For more information in Spanish:

Oaxaca territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de pueblos, comunidades y organizaciones frente al nuevo gobierno federal (Pronunciamiento e Informe, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Juicio Popular Comunitario contra el Estado y las Empresas Mineras (Vídeo, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Comunidades indígenas de Oaxaca exigen la prohibición total de la minería en el estado (Animal Político, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Demandan pueblos que Oaxaca sea territorio libre de minería (NVI Noticias, 12 de diciembre de 2018)

Oaxaca, territorio prohibido para la minería”: exigencia de comunidades al nuevo gobierno (Desinformémonos, 10 de diciembre de 2018)

Repudian proyectos de mineras en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 11 de diciembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held (October 16th, 2018)

Oaxaca: Popular Community Trial against the State and the Mining Companies Held

Oaxaca: Anuncian juicio popular contra empresas mineras. (9 de agosto de 2018)


Oaxaca: Creation of tool for monitoring and denunciation about territorial rights

December 26, 2015

 

obs

At the beginning of December was made public the creation of the Observatory of Territorial Rights, an initiative that has been promoted by Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA A.C.), “focused on the monitoring, investigation, analysis, diffusion, and denunciation of violations of popular and communal rights to territories at the hands of transnational corporations, the State, and other power-groups.”

As EDUCA’s website notes, “the Observatory has as its general objective to influence State policies and public opinion so as to guarantee respect for the rights of the peoples and communities of Oaxaca by means of the monitoring of specific cases, the systematization of information, sessions of analysis with different sectors of society, and bulletins and journalistic information.” During this year, the Observatory will monitor the projects of “Paso de la Reina,” the construction of two dams in the Paso de la Reyna community; “San José,” or the construction of a subterranean mine in San José del Progreso; and “the Doctor,” for exploratory mining work in Magdalena Teitipac.

It bears mentioning that the attacks on environmental defenders has been on the rise during the past five years at least. According to the Second Annual Report on Attacks against Environmental Defenders, as compiled by the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the attacks have worsened during the reign of Enrique Peña Nieto. In accordance with a proper media registry, 240 cases of attacks on environmental defenders have been observed, nearly half of which have taken place between April 2014 and May 2015, with the states of Sonora, Oaxaca, Mexico, and Guerrero being those with the highest number of incidents.

For more information (in Spanish):

Observatorio de Derechos Territoriales

Inicia Observatorio de Derechos Territoriales a partir de procesos de defensa en Oaxaca (8 de diciembre de 2015)

El Topil. Observatorio de Derechos Territoriales (Septiembre 2015)

Con EPN crecen agresiones contra defensores ambientalistas;“en el último año 109 ataques y una tendencia preocupante a la criminalización” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

Oaxaca, primer lugar en agresiones a defensoras de derechos humanos (Sididh, 14 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Detained and disappeared, anti-mining activists from San José del Progreso (12 December 2013)

Oaxaca: New death-threats directed against members of the CPUVO in San José del Progreso (7 June 2013)

Oaxaca: Civil Observation Mission to San José del Progreso (30 November 2012)

Oaxaca: access to the Cuzcatlán mine is blocked in San José el Progreso (16 May 2012)

Oaxaca: Actions, denunciations, and mobilizations in the case of San José del Progreso (3 April 2012)

Oaxaca: Murder of the spokesperson of the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (25 March 2012)

 


Oaxaca: 3 years after the murder of Bernardo Vásquez, Fortune Silver forecasts large profits

April 21, 2015

INFOGRAFIA_-03

3rd Infographic regarding mineral extraction @ Educa

Three years after the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson for the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (COPUVO), who was ambushsed on 15 March 2012, COPUVO members held a peaceful protest outside the Cuzcatlán mine in San José del Progreso for the anniversary of the attack, demanding that the intellectual author of the murder be revealed.  “There is still no justice for those who have been attacked.  On the contrary,  Fortune Silver Mines has announced its expansion.  This is the result of the authorities ignoring the case, which has significantly affected the human rights of the community,”  said a relative of the slain activist.

This declaration makes reference to the fact that Fortune Silver has reported that, for 2016, the Cuzcatlán mine will become one of the 15 most productive mines of Latin America, due to the investment of $30 million that will be made in 2015 to improve infrastructure and equipment, so as to increase daily production by 50%.  The firm indicated that it presently produces about 2,000 tons of silver and gold daily, placing it among the 20 most exploited regions in the country.  For 2016, the vision is that this number rise to 3,000 daily tons.

Nonetheless, Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) has published three infographics regarding the establishment of mineral firms in Mexico, toward the end of sharing data about the problem that leads to mineral extraction in the country.  EDUCA documents that the governments of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón sold off 52 million hectares to mining firms, corresponding to 26% of the national territory.  According to the General Coordination on Mining, a branch of the Economy Ministry, 870 mining projects are currently registered.  Oaxaca finds itself in 8th place.  The top three slots are for Sonora, Chihuahua, and Guanajuato states, which have 210, 113, and 95 mining projects, respectively.  Beyond this, EDUCA indicates that the profits seen by the San José del Progreso municipality amount to 1% of the 1.7 billion pesos that the Canadian firm Fortune Silver Mines expects to gain through its exploitation of silver and gold.  The conditions under which such concessions have been granted have involved the death of 4 individuals and the degradation of the social fabric of the local community.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ver la infográfica 1 (Educa)

Ver infografía 2 (Educa)

Datos de extracción minera alertan sobre pérdida de territorio nacional(Educa, 12 de marzo de 2015)

Oaxaca, en el top 15 de productores de oro y plata en AL; meta para el 2016 (Noticias Net, 13 de marzo de 2015)

Pedirán antimineros de Ocotlán diálogo con el gobierno local (Noticias Net, 16 de marzo de 2015)

Marchan por líder antiminero asesinado (Noticias Net, 14 de marzo de 2015)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (16 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Murder of the spokesperson of the Coordination of the United Peoples of the Ocotlán Valley (25 March 2012)

Oaxaca: Two opponents of mining in San José del Progreso are fired on (8 February 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)

Oaxaca: Coordination of United People of the Ocotlán Valley close entrance to silver mine in San José del Progreso (14 March 2011)

Oaxaca: Civil Mission of Observation “Water is Life; Let us Defend its Existence” (8 September 2010)


Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damián Gallardo

December 30, 2014

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In August 2014, the UN Work-Group on Arbitrary Detentions called on the Mexican government to release the indigenous human-rights defender Damián Gallardo Martínez, who is being held in a maximum-security prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco, and so “put an end to this situation of multiple rights-violations,” as well as “provide appropriate means of compensation for this person.”  The resolution was also sent to the Unitary Tribunals based in El Salto, Jalisco, which cover legal motions regarding kidnappings and organized crime

The Committee of Relatives and Friends of Damián Gallardo, the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH-Oaxaca), Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca, the New Women’s Collective, and the Oaxacan Citizens’ Initiative make public a communique in which they stress that “both motions [in his favor] are in progress, such that in this strict sense, the resolution is adequate for Damián Gallardo Martínez to be released immediately.  If he continues to be held, the responsibility for his illegal privation of liberty will be in the federal judicial power, for having violated the principles of control of conventionality against the rights-defender.”  Furthermore, they denounced “the permissibility of the actions of the Mexican State, which beyond systematically violating human rights, demonstrate a marked lack of interest in observing its international obligations and repeatedly guard silence in light of the indications and challenges that have been targeting it.  In this sense, we demand the immediate release of Damián Gallardo Martínez.”  They added that the case “effectively shows the systematic practice of criminalizing social protest and imprisoning social activists, practices that each day become more common and evident in the country, as well as the the practices of torture, arbitrary detention, and abuse of the justice system” against human rights-defenders.”

It bears mentioning that Damián Gallardowas arrested on 18 May 2013, accused of having participated in a group of kidnappers supposedly comprised of members of Section 22 and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).  However, in accordance with information provided by the UN Work-Group, it has been shown that “the arrest and detention of Damián Gallardo Martínez are arbitrary” on three distinct levels.  The document also stresses that “the arrest of this person seems to be motivated by the activities in which he has been engaged in service of the indigenous peoples to whom he belongs,” and it notes that the defender signed a confession after “having been subjected to threats, acts of intimidation, and torture.”  As regards the denunciations and evidence presented about other abuses, the experts determined that the allegations of torture must be forwarded to the UN Special Rapporteur.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Prensa (Educa Oaxaca, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

Llama ONU a Peña a poner en libertad a activista oaxaqueño (Proceso, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

ONU pide a Peña Nieto liberar a Damián Gallardo para poner fin a violaciones múltiples (Página 3, 17 de diciembre de 2014)

Confirma la ONU tortura en contra de profesor oaxaqueño (W Radio, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 16 months after the imprisonment of Damián Gallardo, and following call from UN, there is no response from the Mexican State (12 October 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Assault on teacher Damián Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco (13 June 2014)


Oaxaca: Twentieth anniversary of EDUCA. “20 years of sowing social processes”

November 12, 2014

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Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) has now celebrated its twentieth anniversary.  The organization began after the armed insurrection of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas, and it has been following two major aspects in its work: the promotion of citizens’ participation in Oaxaca and human rights, particularly of indigenous peoples.  Using the slogan “20 years of sowing social processes,” the civil organization this year will review what it has sown and what it has reaped.

EDUCA members have affirmed that “20 years ago, we raised our voice to give reason to our hope.  Today we continue firmly with that conviction.  It is true that 20 years are not many; they are in fact a mere breath in time, but at the same time that span could be a life full of struggle.  Thank you!”

For more information (in Spanish):

Para Educa, sexenio de URO, el más negro (Noticiasnet.mx, 19 de octubre de 2014)

EDUCA 20 años sembrando procesos sociales. Felicitaciones de cumpleaños (EDUCA, 3 de noviembre de 2014)

Recuento de la historia de EDUCA (EDUCA)

Entrevista con Marcos Leyva Madrid, Director de EDUCA A. C. sobre el vigésimo aniversario (EDUCA)


Oaxaca: 16 months after the imprisonment of Damián Gallardo, and following call from the UN, there is no response from the Mexican State

October 12, 2014

Foto @ Front Line Defenders

Photo @ Front Line Defenders

The Committee of Relatives and Friends of Damián Gallardo, the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH-Oaxaca), Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca, the New Woman Collective, and the Oaxaca Citizens’ Initiative denounced that 16 months after the incarceration of teacher Damián Gallardo Martínez, who has been accused of participating in the kidnapping of children, the Mexican State has provided no response to the calls from the international community and the UN regarding the human-rights violations experienced during his imprisonment.  In a press-conference, Idolina Gallardo Martínez, Damián’s sister, said that 6 months after UN institutions called on the Mexican government to provide evidence for the charges on which the teacher has been incarcerated, “there is silence from the authorities in question.”

Beyond this, the representative of LIMEDDH-Oaxaca mentioned that international organizations like Front Line Defenders and the Observatory for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders have published urgent actions to manifest their concern for the well-being of Gallardo Martínez and to call on the Mexican State to release him immediately, in accordance with its international obligations to protect human rights and carry out an expeditious investigation regarding the acts that have been denounced.

For more information (in Spanish):

Estado mexicano no ha respondido a ONU por caso Damián Gallardo (Noticias Net, 6 de octubre de 2014)

Exigen familiares de Damián Gallardo respuesta a exigencias (Tiempo en Línea, 5 de octubre de 2014)

Comunicado Caso Damián Gallardo (Ciudadanía Express, 5 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca/National: Assault on teacher Damián Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco (13 June 2014)


Oaxaca: Two dead and one seriously injured, in a “worrying increase of police violence” (EDUCA)

October 11, 2014

Imagen @ OIDHO.org

Image @ OIDHO.org

On 22 September, the communal leader Jaime López Hernández, member of the Indigenous Organization for Human Rights in Oaxaca (OIDHO), was killed by a shot in the back in the San Andrés Lovene community, San Juan Ozolotepec municipality, as he was visiting his mother’s gravesite. Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) manifested its energetic rejection of the act, condemning the murder of Jaime López, and it noted that “[we are] concerned by the increase in police violence in Oaxaca and the impunity in which attacks against [social] leaders and human-rights defenders remain.  Jaime López’s murder […] joins in a long chain of attacks committed against human-rights activists.  Organizations such as Peace Brigades International and the National Network of Human Rights ‘All Rights for All’ have located Oaxaca as one of the states in which is observed the most attacks on human-rights defenders.  We call on the state authorities to act immediately in this case, to engage in a lawful investigation, and to commit themselves seriously to protecting the work of defenders in Oaxaca.”

Beyond this, on 26 September, two teachers from Section 22 of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) were fired upon from a vehicle as they were walking in the street.  Of the two teachers, both of whom worked in a high school in San Mateo del Mar, one died–Shamir Jonatán Osorio Gallegos–while the other, Manuel Reyna Osorio, was seriously injured.

Lastly, reflecting on the numerous violent acts that have been seen in different parts of Mexico of late, an opinion article in La Jornada expressed that “Despite the official efforts to minimize the impacts of insecurity in the social perception, violence and criminal anarchy continue to affect the people in many regions of the national territory, giving the impression that the attempt to deviate attention from these problems does nothing more than exacerbate them […].  The armed forces continue to be employed in police tasks that are distinct from their constitutionally defined role; the country lacks social, political, educational, and health policies that would be able to act as a preventive factor against organized crime; impunity prevails in nearly all the crimes committed by the previous administration; the reform of police bodies at the three levels [of government] continues to be a pending task; the observance of human rights experiences serious factical and institutional regression, and, above all, an economic policy that provokes social anomie, unemployment, and marginalization, that obliges large segments of the population to work in the informal sector and that, ultimately, ends up feeding criminality continues and is made yet more profound.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de Prensa: Asesinan a Jaime López, integrante de OIDHO(OIDHO, 23 de septiembre de 2014)  

Líder de OIDHO fue asesinado frente a la tumba de su madre en San Andrés Lovene (Página 3, 24 de septiembre de 2014)

RvsR: Ante el asesinato de Jaime López Hernández, de la OIDHO (Enlace Zapatista, 2 de octubre de 2014)

Violencia imparable (La Jornada, 29 de septiembre de 2014)

Condena Sección 22 asesinato de profesor (El Imparcial Oaxaca, 28 de septiembre de 2014)

Atacan a balazos a 2 intendentes (El Imparcial Oaxaca, 28 de septiembre de 2014)

Tirotean a maestros de la @SECCIONXXII en Oaxaca; Un muerto (E-Consulta Oaxaca, 27 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Concern for the alarming increase in murders in the state (26 April 2014)