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

January 4, 2019


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)

Chiapas: Presentation of “Infancy Counts 2014” report in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

April 23, 2015

On 7 April, one of the events organized by the Network for the Freedom of Expression was held in observance of the presentation of the 2014 World Press Photo exhibition in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  On this occasion, civil organizations that work with children and adolescents spoke about the “Infancy Counts in Mexico 2014” report.  Emphasis was placed on the new Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents that was approved in December 2014 at the federal level and will be implemented in Chiapas before 6 June.  The objective of the event was to generate reflections that would allow for the optimization of the institution of the new law in the state, with special attention placed on the importance of the participation of civil society (organizations and those directly interested, that is to say, children and adolescents themselves).

(@Melel Xojobal)

(@Melel Xojobal)

The different talks included diagnostics regarding the situation faced by this population that continue to be critical: Chiapas still occupies one of the last places in terms of the observance of children’s rights, particularly in terms of those children and adolescents who find themselves in conditions of greatest vulnerability, such as the indigenous, migrants, and those with disabilities.  On the panel spoke Jennifer Haza (Melel Xojobal), Cinthia Velasco (a Tseltal youth worker and student), Juan Martín Pérez (from the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, REDIM), Katia Lozaga (UNICEF), the governmental representative Ana Valdiviezo, and Nikté Nandayapa (Save the Children).

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de las organizaciones participantes (7 de abril de 2015)

La importancia del Informe “La Infancia cuenta 2014”, en la construcción de la nueva Ley de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes en el estado de Chiapas (Voces Mesoamericanas, 8 de abril de 2015)

Sociedad Civil, contrapeso para nueva Ley de Derechos de niñas, niños y adolescentes de Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 10 de abril de 2015)

Proponen sumar a ONG en elaboración de ley de niños en Chiapas (Diario Contrapoder, 9 de abril de 2015)

Buscan reformar Ley del Derecho de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes en Chiapas(sie7e de Chiapas, 8 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Entry into law of bill on the rights of children and adolescents (29 December 2014)

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents (1 October 2014)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state

April 29, 2014

Rueda de prensa de los liberados. Foto (@Pozol Colectivo)

Press-conference of those released. Photo (@Pozol Colectivo)

The indigenous prisoners Audentino García Villafuerte (Hiber) and Andrés and Josué López Hernández have been released after nearly eight months incarcerated (Hiber) and three years, two months, and nine days (the López Hernández brothers).

After a trial that found no evidence to condemn them, the three prisoners were released unconditionally at the end of March.

According to repeated denunciations, national and international human-rights organizations note that the charges of these three were fabricated, and that their basic rights to freedom and personal integrity had been violated, given that they were subjected to torture during their imprisonment.

According to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), “Using their testimony, we can confirm that in jails in the state of Chiapas, indigenous peoples are discriminated against and insulted, but due to fear of reprisals against them and their families, they do not denounce the acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.  Furthermore, even when torture is obvious, justice is absent because it is not investigated.”

For the CDHFBC, torture is a method of criminal investigation used frequently in Chiapas by police units and the Army and Navy toward the end of obtaining information or forced confessions.

“Due to its acts of torture, the State is responsible both directly and by omission for the behavior of its officials, who, being cognizant of the act, do not intervene to punish those responsible and thus allow this grave human-rights violation to continue unchecked.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“En Chiapas persisten prácticas de tortura” denuncia el Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Pozol Colectivo, 14 de abril de 2014)

En Chiapas persisten prácticas de tortura (CDHFBC, 15 de abril de 2014)

Video: Persiste la tortura en Chiapas (Koman Ilel, 14 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (18 de marzo de 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (1 January 2014)

National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico (10 June 2013)

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

Mexico: Creation of the National Network of Indigenous Women Weaving Rights for Mother Earth and Land (RENAMITT)

August 21, 2013


On 7 August, there was presented the National Network of Indigenous Women Weaving Rights for Mother Earth and Land (RENAMITT).  This is an initiative that “seeks to promote concrete actions and to influence public policy, so as to promote the rights that indigenous women have to access the right to tend land, as is promised to us in our national laws and international treaties, and to succeed in this way to diminish the inequalities that exist in our country regarding this right.”  Concretely, one goal is to “succeed in having indigenous women being granted the right to access land to work and to have a voice and vote in the ejidal assemblies, which presently are dominated in their majority by men.”  The RENAMITT is comprised of indigenous women from different communities of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, Guerrero, Jalisco, Chihuahua, and other states.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de Prensa (RENAMITT, 7 de agosto de 2013)

Video de la Conferencia de prensa (CENCOS, 7 de agosto de 2013)

Guía informativa: Derechos de la Mujer Indígena a la tenencia y propiedad de la tierra (RENAMITT)

Página Web de RENAMITT: http://www.renamitt.org.mx/

National: Rally before the Senate in observance of the Global Day against Mining Pollution

August 4, 2013



On 22 July, in a rally organized before the Senate of the Republic, social movements and civil organizations from several different states which have been affected by mining activities presented a manifesto in which they express support for a new law to regulate the industry.  They demanded the halting of the transnationals which loot the country and affect local communities, and that mining operations stop being privileged within governmental circles.  The protestors reported that they would hand in a proposal for mining law to the Senate in the coming week, to establish a chapter on the rights of indigenous populations to control their own territories and natural resources, amidst mining depredation, and that it establish mechanisms of consultation and separate exploratory concessions from ones favoring exploitation and profit, among other things.

For more information (in Spanish):
22 de julio, Día Mundial contra la Megaminería Tóxica (La Jornada, 21 de julio de 2013)
Manifiesto Nacional por una nueva Ley Minera en México: “Por el respeto a los pueblos y el ambiente, una ley minera diferente” (22 de julio de 2013)
Elaboran organizaciones sociales una propuesta de ley minera (La Jornada, 23 de julio de 2013)