Chiapas: Displaced famailies of Banavil return temporarily to their community

August 28, 2015
Photo: SIPAZ Banavil

Photo: SIPAZ Banavil

On August 3rd, the forcibly displaced families from the community of Banavil, muncipality of Tenejapa returned temporarily to work their lands for a period of 15 days “without a guarantee of minimum safety conditions from the Mexican State”, affirmed the Center for Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas.

Before this temporary return, representatives of the displaced families they made it clear in a press conference that they are retuning “not because their denouncements are resolved, or because the authorities have offered full guarantee that the agressions will not be repeated”, but because they want to work their land to be able to sustain their families. “Our temporary return is to check up on our houses, clean the adjoining properties of our parcels and it is a temporary return without justice”, they mentioned.

From their part, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas denounced that “Since months ago the authorities told us they could return”, but it was not until the last meeting held with officials, hours before going to Banavil, when they were warned that there were no safety conditions. “Those were the exact words of Edgar Alonso, legal adviser of the authorities in Banavil, who were responsible for the attacks.” He told the government to say that there is no security, remarked the CDHFBC.

For more Information:

Niñas, niños y mujeres indígenas tseltales de Banavil retornan temporalmente a sus casas sin garantías de protección a sus Derechos (Chiapasparalelo, August 6, 2015)

Retornan temporalmente desplazados (Cuarto Poder, August 6, 2015)

Melel Xojobal llama a proteger niños de familias desplazadas (noticiasnet.mx, August 8, 2015)

Ante la impunidad del gobierno de México, indígenas tseltales de Banavil deciden

retornar de manera provisional (Frayba, August 3, 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Displaced families from Banavil complete 3 years and 7 months of forcible displacement (July 21, 2015)

Chiapas: Death of Antonia, a displaced girl from the Banavil community, Tenejapa (March 8, 2015)

Chiapas: 3 years since the forcible displacement of the families from Banavil (December 16, 2014)


Nation: Program of Comprehensive Attention of Victims, 2014-2018

August 17, 2015

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The Executive Commission of Attention to Victims published the Program of Attention to VIctims 2014-2018 in the Official Diary of the Mexican Republic on July 16th. The general goal of this program is to establish and coordinate the actions and necessary measures to protect, respect, promote, guarantee, and allow the effective exercise of rights for victims of crime and human-rights violations. The document focuses on five specific objectives: strengthening the coordination of the parts involved in the National System of Attention to Victims in order to reach its adequate functioning; assuring the victims of the effective access to services and measures of assistance, protection, and attention; the consolidation of a culture of respect for human rights among the public servants who are responsible for assisting victims; to guarantee victims access to measures of attention with a specific focus as well as emphasis on conditions of vulnerability; and the generation of measures of prevention, attention, assistance, and reparations for victims of specific crimes and human-rights violations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Publican Programa de Atención Integral a Víctimas 2014-2018 (Rotativo, 16 de julio de 2015)

Se publica el Programa de Atención Integral a Víctimas 2014-18 (El Financiero, 16 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Entrance into law of General Law for Attention to Victims (15 January 2013)


National: Promotion of Citizens’ Popular Congress

February 10, 2015

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On 5 February, in observance of the anniversary of the entrance into law of the current Mexican Constitution, parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, together with Raúl Vera, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the priest Alejandro Solalinde, the poet Javier Sicilia, and the artist Francisco Toledo, together with members of human-rights organizations, churches, campesino organizations, and unions participated in the public presentation of the initiative for a Popular Citizens’ Constitution.  The organizational call notes in this sense that “we call on civil society, women and men, without importance to creed, gender diversity, or social class to advance with the refoundation of the nation; to progress toward the creation of a new constitution that bases elections on democracy, ensures that the representatives of a new congress be subject to the will of the people, and forever buries all types of juridical and economic forms of organization that merely make the people into commodities to be plundered.  This constitution must put an end to impunity, racism, and patriarchy.  To serve and to lead by obeying must be the new conditions of those who become representative of civil society.”

Following a series of sessions throughout the country during the past 11 months, the partisans of the Citizens’ Constitution explained the necessity of “refounding the country.”  Toward this end 20 points have been presented, including guarantees for human rights and union organizing, beyond the implementation of a convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

There was also announced a planned meeting on 21 March “to discuss the political reality of the countryin terms of the elections for this year.”  Beyond this, there was made a call for the First National Assembly of the Committee for National Refoundation that will be held on 2 May.

For more information (in Spanish):

Convocatoria Hacia la Constituyente Ciudadana-Popular (Regeneración, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Presentan activistas el “Primer Constituyente Ciudadano Popular”(Proceso, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Activistas y ONG presentan el “primer constituyente ciudadano” (La Jornada, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Solalinde, Raúl Vera y Sicilia presentan primer Constituyente Ciudadana(Vanguardia, 5 de febrero de 2015)


Oaxaca: presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso”

March 16, 2014

Presentación del libro "Justicia para San José del Progreso", Oaxaca, marzo de 2014 (@SIPAZ)

Presentation of book “Justice for San José del Progreso” Oaxaca, March 2014 (@SIPAZ)

In observance of the second anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Territory organized events in Oaxaca and Mexico City to publicly presents its report “Justice for San José del Progreso,” the fruit of a Civil Observation Mission carried out in November 2012.

The report speaks to the systematic human-rights violations produced by the imposition of the mining project which has been overseen by the Fortune Silver Mines company since 2006.  The report notes that, beginning at this time, the firm has enjoyed state and federal governmental support in its principal violation of the rights to life; to free, prior and informed consent; to public information; to respect for collective property and integrity of land; to free self-determination; to a clean environment; to communal health; to the rights of children, adolescents, and women; to association and meeting; to freedom and personal integrity; and to the right to the administration of justice and to the work of human-rights violations.  All these rights are recognized as such at the national and international levels.

The document includes recommendations for the federal, state, and municipal government.  Among these is found the stress on placing the rights of citizens above the interests of mining corporations and to guarantee the right to life, physical and psychological integrity of the people of San José del Progreso.  It also calls on the government of Canada to request that it assures that Canadian mining firms be called to justify themselves before the Canadian legal system due to human-rights violations committed outside the national territory.

For more information (in Spanish):

Demandarán a minera Cuzcatlán ante gobierno de Canadá (Página 3, 11 de marzo de 2014)

Cobertura de la presentación en la Ciudad de México: Minera canadiense y gobierno violan DH de habitantes en San José del Progreso, Oaxaca(PRODH)

Audio de la presentación del Informe en el IAGO

Video Exigen organizaciones cancelación de mina en San José del Progreso

Descarga el Informe de la Misión Civil de Observación: Justicia para San José del Progreso

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Organizational call to the presentation of the Report of the Civil Mission of Observation: Justice para San José del Progreso (18 March 2014)

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


National: Strong criticisms of Enrique Peña Nieto’s first year in office

December 8, 2013

enrique-peña-nieto-2

Enrique Peña Nieto. photo @enelareachica

On 27 November, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) indicated  that during the first year of Enrique Peña Nieto’s term in office, there have been seen very few advances in terms of security and human rights, and that a great number of violations have taken place against fundamental rights that go completely unpunished.  On 26 November, Human Rights Watch announced by means of a public letter that the change in administration has been ultimately rhetorical and that the government “has not demonstrated significant advances in the investigation of past abuses of power, and new grave human-rights violations continue without redress.”

Human Rights Watch has identified cases that demonstrate that soldiers and police continue to commit serious abuses under Peña Nieto’s watch.  The open letter mentions the example of the “murder of three campesino leaders in Guerrero, who were found on 3 June, after having been taken against their will together with 5 others on 30 May.  The previous day, members of the social movement to which they belong had presented a formal denunciation before the authorities expressing their fear that the mayor and the chief of police might well have ordered the murders.”  The WOLA collective emphasized that the declarations of the government and good intentions have not resulted in concrete actions to date.  “Until there are more advances to combat the impunity which prevails in Mexico, the discourse of the government on human rights will continue to be little more than pretty words.”

For more information (in Spanish):

México: el decepcionante primer año de Peña Nieto (Human Rights Watch, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

Peña Nieto aplica la misma táctica de seguridad de Calderón: WOLA (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Insufficient attention from EPN to human rights (20 March 2013)

National: Polemical ascension to power of EPN ( 7 December 2013)


Chiapas: Acteal, Site of Conscience, Impunity and the Other Justice

January 4, 2010

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“We took our case before the highest court in the nation, (…) but all we encountered there was supreme impunity.”

On Dec. 22, 1997, 300 people prayed for peace when 45 of them were massacred by paramilitaries, a result of the low intensity warfare that the government implemented against the zapatista rebels and their sympathizers.

Twelve years later, this “State crime” which has been denounced by General J.F. Gallardo, continues in impunity. None of the planners of the massacre were found guilty and this year several of those who carried out the massacre were released. Denied justice and an official history, the Abejas Civil Society (La Sociedad Civil Las Abejas) held the Forum of Conscience and Hope, Building the Other Justice… (Foro de Conciencia y Esperanza, Construyendo la Otra Justicia…) on Dec. 21, 2009. The Other Justice (A grassroots alternative to the official justice system)is that which remains in the historic memory of the people. The Other Justice does not seek punishment but rather repentance and reconciliation as was stated by the president of the Abejas. “The conscience is a very strong force in the construction of the other justice,” he said, “we have to begin with our own conscience,” “continue with the conscience of the people in general,” and “Finally, although it is the most difficult, (…) to touch the conscience of the aggressors.” As a result, the following day Acteal was declared a “Site of the Conscience of Humanity,” according to the banner hung above the entrance to the site “for inspiration for all of those that struggle for peace and an indelible memory for future generations.”

To make sure that the massacre at Acteal is never forgotten, on Dec. 21 the director of the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (CDH Frayba) read the names of each of the 45 victims aloud. On Dec. 22, the representative from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico defined the massacre as “the bloodiest event in Mexico’s recent history” and denounced: forgetfulness and impunity are not the response expected from a democratic State which respects human rights. The bishop of the San Cristobal de Las Cases diocese, who celebrated the commemorative mass on Dec. 22, stated in his homily “It is a mockery and shameful that due to minor legal issues, 29 individuals have been exonerated [after committing] this horrendous crime (La Jornada, 23/12/09).

In the presence of more than 600 peoples, a large number of priests and social organizations from Chiapas and other states, in addition to a strong presence of international solidarity, the Abejas shared their path, their pain and their hope through a small theatre production and a long declaration in which they reiterated their vindication not solely for justice, but for peace. “We don’t want a war that will cost the blood of millions of brothers and sisters. We want a new revolution, but not a violent one, so that we can have liberty, justice and peace and to take back the land from those who are plundering and destroying it.”

Listen to the Forum of Conscience and Hope, Building the Other Justice (in Spanish):

Ponencias del “Foro de Conciencia y Esperanza, Construyendo la Otra Justicia…”, 21 de diciembre de 2009 (blog de Las Abejas)

Programa de Radio con las conclusiones del encuentro (blog de Las Abejas)

For More Information:

Acteal: sembrando paz y esperanza (artículo de Milenio Online, 21/12/09)

Acteal, sitio de conciencia (Boletín 41 del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 22/12/09)

Acteal sitio de conciencia: un recordatorio de la impunidad en México (artículo de La Jornada, 22/12/09)

“Una burla”, el desenlace jurídico del caso Acteal: Arizmendi (artículo de La Jornada, 23/12/09)

Pide Alto Comisionado de ONU al Estado poner fin a impunidad en caso Acteal (artículo de La Jornada, 22/12/09)

Foro de Conciencia y Esperanza, la Otra Justicia (artículo de Indymedia Chiapas, 22/12/09)

Sites of Conscience webpage

For More Information from SIPAZ:

The Massacre at Acteal (SIPAZ documents)


MEXICO: 61 Years After the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 15, 2009

Sixty-one years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 11 years after the UN’s declaration on human rights defenders, several organizations dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights are reporting the current situation in their respective states as well as at the national level.

In Chiapas, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) published a special bulletin in which they denounced the fact that in the state “the defense of human rights is subject to intimidation, attacks and killings.” After recounting the harassment suffered by human rights defenders Frayba concludes: “This year the work done in defense of human rights has been criminalized to the point of considering human rights defenders participants in organized crime or part of a supposed subversive network to destabilize the government in 2010.”

In Oaxaca, the “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” Regional Human Rights Center, made a public declaration in which they highlighted the state’s current situation “drowning in impunity, corruption, human rights violations and social decomposition.” They questioned the state government denouncing that: “In the Fifth Report issued by the Oaxacan State Government it is evident that this is a government made up of a small group, with an explicit goal of appropriating territories in order to turn Oaxaca into a personal dictatorship.”

In Guerrero, in a press conference held by the Guerrero Network of Human Rights Civil Organizations (Red Guerrerense de Organismos Civiles y de Derechos Humanos) in Chilpancingo, a number of campesino, indigenous, social and human rights organizations presented a joint statement. The document, titled “People and Rights Trampled On,” states that “In Guerrero the shadowy era of the dirty war continues to repeat, because governments allowed the army to return to poor regions were there have been armed uprisings. (…) Today the reappearance of the army throughout the state of Guerrero is a form of punishment against new insurgent movements. (…) We social and civil organizations that have documented serious violations of the fundamental rights of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, are facing not just a slander campaign against our work as human rights defenders but we are also suffering surveillance, harassment and threats carried out with the sole purpose of putting a stop to our work, silence our denunciations and violate our right to defend human rights and fully exercise freedom of expression.”

At the national level, the Early Warning Network (Red de Alerta Temprana) together with other organization, published a report titles Panorama of the Current Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico. In the conclusions they warn: “We consider that [the government] is implementing a strategy to identify human rights defenders and their organizations as ‘enemies’ of the system and identifying the political affiliation of the victims and rights defenders in order to criminalize their actions. Through the use of threats, harassment, murder attempts, arbitrary detentions and the application of arrest warrants against these individuals they are trying to create an environment of tension and fear with the clear objective of polarizing the collective work of these organizations, creating divisions and diminishing or ending the work they do. There is a pattern of aggression that corresponds to a psychological operation of terror.”

For Mor Information:

“Tlachinollan” Human Rights Center of the Montaña: Who defends human rights defenders? (10/12/09)

In Spanish:


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