National: After 8 years of impunity in Atenco, threat to build airport continues

May 16, 2014

Foto @ Regeneración Radio

Photo @ Regeneración Radio

8 years ago, on 3 and 4 May 2006, residents of San Salvador Atenco and Texcoco suffered a strong repression when Enrique Peña Nieto, the current president of Mexico, was governor of the state of Mexico.  As a result of this, 47 women were sexually assaulted by police, two youth were killed, and 207 were arrested.

On 5 May, the Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights presented the campaign “Breaking the silence: all together against sexual violence.”  The objective of the campaign is to make visible the torture–principally sexual–exercised systematically against women by security forces after these were arrested for protesting; the campaign also seeks to accompany these women and to continue denouncing the government’s strategy to see these women as “war booty.”  Norma Jiménez noted that nothing has been easy since they undertook this struggle to denounce the acts which took place 8 years ago, given that they were sexually tortured, but she observed that people in solidarity have given them the strength to carry on, though now they think that it is is important to express solidarity with other women, because “it seems that all of us are in a similar situation, as though they had arrested us all–that is because this is all a conscious strategy.”  For this reason, other women who have joined the campaign include Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, Me’phaa indigenous women from Guerrero who in 2002 began another struggle to denounce the rights-violations and sexual torture to which they were subjected by soldiers in the Mexican Army.

Beyond this, the Front for Peoples in Defense of the Land (FPDT) recently accused the municipal government of San Salvador Atenco of organizing assemblies in which representatives of federal authorities have attempted to convince ejidatarios from Atenco and Texcoco to sell their lands for the construction of a new international airport for Mexico City.  Jesús Adán Espinoza noted that the federal government would face serious opposition if it attempted to carry out its urbanization plans for “Future City” and “Rescue of the Former Texcoco Lake,” as such works would only reactivate the project to build the new airport.  “These projects will only bring the further degradation of our traditions, customs, and our lands if we allow them to pass,” he declared.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Rompiendo el silencio:Todas juntas contra la tortura sexual”(Regeneración Radio, 6 de mayo de 2014)

Acusan a autoridades de Atenco de convencer a ejidatarios para aceptar construcción de aeropuerto (La Jornada, 28 de marzo de 2014)

A 8 años. Atenco no olvidamos: una mirada desde La Sexta (Coordinador Valle de Chalko, 8 de mayo de 2014)

“No insistan, no vamos a desistir en abandonar nuestras tierras y viviendas” (Reporteros en Movimiento, 5 de mayo de 2014)

Carta de Solidaridad con Atenco: ¡No olvidamos lo que pasó los 3 y 4 de mayo, tampoco la lucha en contra del aeropuerto! (Enlace Zapatista, 8 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Atenco five years on, raped women continue demanding justice (6 May 2011)

Atenco: repression in San Salvador Atenco, 4 years on (11 May 2010)

National: Suprema Corte presents protocol to judge gender crimes

September 13, 2013


On 26 August, the head justice of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN), Juan Silva Meza, presented the Protocl to Judge with Gender Perspectives, which he claimed to respond to the constitutional mandate obliging judges to promote and respect the right to gender equality and non-discrimination.  The justice commented that this document, which does not represent a violation of judges’s autonomy, is the result of a reform in terms of human rights, the international treaties signed by Mexico in these terms, and particularly represents a result of the resolutions made by the Inter-American Court on Human RIghts in the cases of cotton agriculture (due  to the lack of interest of the government in doing justice for the thousands of females killed in Ciudad Juárez) and that of the indigenous females Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo.

For more information (in Spanish):

Protocolo para Juzgar con Perspectiva de Género

Presenta la SCJN protocolo para juzgar con perspectiva de género (La Jornada, 27 de agosto de 2013)

Guerrero: NGOs call on Peña Nieto to observe the sentences on Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

February 5, 2013


Inés Fernández, March 2012. Photo @SIPAZ

In a public letter published on 24 January, national and international human-rights organizations called on President Enrique Peña Nieto to make the comprehensive observance of the sentences of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the cases of the Me’phaa indigenous females Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo a top priority for his government.  Both women were raped by Mexican soldiers in 2002.  The IACHR sentences in both cases were handed down in November 2010, and since then, the two women have been waiting for them to be observed.  Organizations such as Amnesty International, the World Organization against Torture, Article 19, and Services and Assessment for Peace (SERAPAZ), as well as the Fray Francisco de Vitorio, Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, and Tlachinollan Mountain Centers for Human Rights have indicated that the “the previous federal administration came to an end without […] punishing the perpetrators.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acatar orden de la CIDH en casos de indígenas violadas, piden ONG a Peña (La Jornada, 25 de enero de 2013)

Carta pública a Enrique Peña Nieto (24 de enero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: Mexican State recognizes responsibility in case of Valentina Rosendo (21 December 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: NGO informs US authorities regarding Mexico’s obligations under Mérida Initiative (26 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: NGO demands that Calderón observe sentence in case of Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández (28 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina (4 February 2011)


Guerrero – briefs: Campaign begins to observe sentences in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo; organizations will welcome the Caravan to the South of the Movement for Peace; celebration of the international day of the disappeared

September 22, 2011

On 31 August, the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous people (OPIM) and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, in coordination with Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, initiated a new campaign named “Observe the Sentences of the [Inter-American Court on Human Rights] to Break the Wall of Impunity.”  The objective is to bring together persons and organizations to demand that President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa make the implementation of the sentences a priority for his government, such that the work tables be carried out in conformity with the agreement presented by Inés and Valentina until it reach the observation of each and every one of the resolutions mandated by the sentnces.  On 1 October 2010, the IACHR presented two sentences against the Mexican State, released in the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú which determined that both Me’phaa indigenous women were sexually violated and tortured by units of the Mexican Army in 2002.

In other news, on 1 September in Chilpancingo, during a press conference, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity in Guerrero called ont he people of Guerrero to support the Caravan to the South, led by the poet Javier Sicilia, which will begin on 8 September in Mexico City en route to Morelos and Guerrero.  The press bulletin notes that “we call on the people of Guerrero […] to welcome, accompany, and strengthen this movement, which largely corresponds to the aspirations of justice that our people claim, at least since the Dirty war, when more than 600 citizens of Guerrero were disappeared, as similarly the relatives of the kidnapped, disappeared, and murdered of the state do so today.  [The caravan to the South] will leave on 8 September from Mexico city toward the state of Morelos, to continue on toward our state of Guerrero on 9 September, when it will arrive to the city of Iguala de la Independencia, passing on day 10 through the capital Chilpancingo de los Bravos and concluding that same day in Acapulco de Juárez, so as to continue on to Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guatemala, Veracruz, Puebla, and Mexico City. […] To the families of the victims of violence, we call on you to express yourselves, to break the silence that fear, terror, powerlessness, and pain have imposed on you; we call on you to participate int he activities of the Caravan.”

Lastly, on 26 August, in the context of the 37th anniversary of the disappearance of the Guerrero activist Rosendo Radilla–which occurred at the hands of the Army on 25 August 1974–the executive secretary of the Association of Relatives of the Detained, Disappeared, and Victims of Human Rights Violance in Mexico (AFADEM), Julio Mata Montiel, noted that although the absence of justice int he country has been amply demonstrated, it has not been sufficient to find the remains of Radilla.  While questioning the government’s continued complicity in impunity, and although no announcement has been made regarding the whereabouts of the disappeared, Mata noted that new excavations int he military barracks of Atoyac de Álvarez, slated to begin in October or November, could prove productive.

The Workshop for Communal Development (TADECO) and the Committee of Relatives and Friends of the Kidnapped, Disappeared, and Murdered in Guerrero, in a 30 August press-bulletin, speak of the disappeared: “It pains us to tell you that we have not achieved much, particularly in the most important aspect that is finding them and providing them justice.  We would like you to know that we continue promoting search plans to create a tactical group of the State that would find them and reopen the investigations, to continue with the leads we have come up with so as to find their location.  We would like to contribute as organizations in the investigations, regardless of the risks that this implies, but the government refuses; it insists in keeping us isolated, separated, ignorant, and quiet.”

At the national level, on 30 August was celebrated the first anniversary fo the national campaign against forced disappearance in Mexico.  The campaign has documente dfrom 2005 to date 28 cases of forced disappearance against human-rights defenders.  The demands of the campaign are, among others, that the State, with the active participation of society, promote a General Law against the Forced Disappearance of Persons, and that the State observe its obligations with regard to the investigation, persecution, and sanction of cases of forced disappearance of whiever person so as to effectively combat the impunity of these cases.  Javier Hernández Valencia, representative of the Office in Mexico of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that forced disappearances in the country happen not only for political reasons, and he lamented that it is the families of victims who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of justice, rather than the juridical institutions so responsible.

For more information (in Spanish):

Inicia Campaña “Cumplir con Sentencias para Romper el Muro de la Impunidad”: Tlachinollan (Zapateando, 1 September)

Página web Tlachinollan sobre el cumplimiento de las sentencias de Valentina Rosendo e Inés Fernández:

Boletin de prensa del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad en Guerrero (1 September)

Llamamiento al pueblo de Guererro con motivo de la caravana hacia el sur del movimiento por la paz con justicia dignidad (La Nueva República, 1 September)

El gobierno sólo finge que le interesa el caso Radilla: Afadem (La Jornada, 26 August)

Desaparecidos, más de 5 mil en este sexenio con pretexto de la lucha antinarco: activistas (La Jornada, 31 August)

Comunicado de prensa de TADECO y el Comité de Familiares y Amigos de Secuestrados, Desaparecidos y Asesinados en Guerrero (30 August)

Pronunciamiento de la Campaña Nacional Contra la Desaparición Forzada en el dia del Detenido – Desaparecido (30 August)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Guerrero: briefs: Inés and Valentina demand that their cases be investigated in civil courts (18 August)

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina (February 4, 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina February 4, 2011

Guerrero – briefs: Mexican state fails to comply with sentencing in the case of Valentina and Inés; Indigenous communities against mining exploration in the Montaña region; CECOP requests resolution on the nullification petition for the April 28 assembly

March 7, 2011

Assembly in Colombia de Guadalupe (@SIPAZ)

Four months after receiving a ruling from the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (CoIDH), concerning the case of the  indigenous women Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández, the Mexican state still has not complied with the Court’s decision and there were even signals that it might never do so. This has been denounced by activists, intellectuals, and artists of more than 20 counties through a letter that was filed on February 10, with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center. Additionally, the Interior Ministry has refused to initiate a dialogue to meet the provisions of the Court, and even presented a request of interpretation on the ruling. The previous week, Valentina travelled to Washington to meet with US State Department officials and Congressional aids, from whom she requested support in the investigation of her case, which remains in the military justice system whereas it should be held in the civil system. Accompanied by the Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights of the Montaña and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Valentina presented her petition: “That the government move my case to the civil justice system, which is why I came here, to make this happen.”

For his part, Germany’s Human Rights Coordinator for Mexico urged the government of Felipe Calderón to reform the Military Justice Code. In a statement, the European organization referred to comments made by the CoIDH, particularly that the military courts should be restricted from all cases of human rights violations – and not only in cases of rape, forced disappearance and torture, as proposed by Calderón to the Senate in his October 18 initiative.

Additionally, on February 5, a first general assembly  was held in the community of Colombia de Guadalupe regarding mineral exploration by transnational mining corporations in the Montaña region . The Federal government has, for 50 years, given permission to mining corporations for the exploration of areas where land use could be altered, even though that part of the region was considered a priority territory for ecological conservation by the National Comission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP). The area educational coordinator of Tlachinollan, reported that the organization has documented that permission has been granted for mining activities, within an area of 15,000 hectares, between the boundaries of Zitlaltepec, Iliatenco and Paraje Montero. It was granted by the federal government, under the name of Diana, to the foreign corporation Camsim, for 46 years. Another case that was presented was the 47,000 hectares granted to the mining corportion Salamera for the project Heart of Darkness, which includes part of Totomixtlahuaca, Colombia de Guadalupe, Pascala del Oro and Acatepec, to the Hochschild mining corporation.

Pablo Guzmán, coordinator of the Community Police-Regional Coordinator of Communal Authorities (PC-CRAC), asked more than 70 representatives of community and ejidal properties “not to consent to an irreversible ecological disaster in the region.” On February 17, the CRAC held a workshop about mining companies in the municipality of Iliatenco. They also convened a meeting of agricultural authorities from the Montaña and Costa Chica regions, for February 26 in Paraje Montero, where they are seeking to definitively ban mining.

Lastly, members of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), demanded that the magistrate, Martha Leticia Gracida Jiménez, adhere to the law. More than a month after the date on which she would supposedly challenge the ruling of the April 28 assembly, which approved the expropriation of more than 1,300 hectares of land for the La Parota hydroelectric dam project, there has still been no response. CECOP spokesperson, Rodolfo Chávez Galindo, said it would be required to issue a resolution in favor of them because the assembly was illegal in every way, from its call to its development.

For more information (in Spanish):

Caso Rosendo y Fernández: sin voluntad el Estado mexicano para acatar fallo de CIDH (La Jornada, 10 de febrero)

Ante impunidad, indígenas tlapanecas exigen intervención de EU (CIMAC Noticias, 8 de febrero)

Instan a Calderón a concretar reforma al Código de Justicia Militar (Proceso, 7 de febrero)

Nula voluntad del Estado mexicano para cumplir las sentencias dictadas por la CoIDH en los casos de Valentina Rosendo Cantú e Inés Fernández Ortega. (10 de febrero)

Se pronuncian indígenas contra la explotación minera en La Montaña (7 de febrero)

Apegarse a derecho, pide Cecop en juicio de impugnación por La Parota (La Jornada, 14 de febrero)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina February 4, 2011

Guerrero: “Indigenous peoples are subject to rights and are not electoral merchandise” February 4, 2011

Guerrero – briefs: Mining exploration continues in the Montaña region without permission from communities; reinstallation of the blockade against La Parota January 13, 2011

Guerrero: Briefs – Reactivation of arrest-orders against members of CETEG; social organizations meet before the Inter-American Commission; Mexican State violating sentence, it is accused; homage to Comandante Ramiro

November 10, 2010

During the final week of October were reactivated 40 arrest-orders against social leaders of the Guerrero teacher’s movement, and five of them were in fact detained.  In a 29 October press-release, the State Coordination of Educational Workers in Guerrero (CETEG), the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the Revolutionary Popular Front, and the National Network of Citizens and Organizations for Democracy (RENACID) stressed that these events demonstrate the criminalization of social protest that Governor Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo has undertaken in place of listening and attending to the demands of civil society.  Furthermore, the press-release requested the cessation of arbitrary repression against members of social movements as well as respect for freedom of assembly.

CEMDA conference (@CENCOS)

On 28 October, in Mexico City, there was held before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) an audience in whcih social organizations denounced the violation on the part of the Mexican State of the right to consultation and participation in matters related to the public interest, in light of the construction of megaprojects such as for example the hydroelectric dam La Parota.  The Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), and Tlachinollan, among others, demonstrated that the authorities of different levels of government have violated the Constitution, especially article 2, which demands that the State implement and carry out consultation processes regarding legislative measures, development-programs, or the implementation of works or infrastructure on territory and natural resources belonging to indigenous communities.  They related that, with regard to the hydroelectric dam La Parota, it was not informed that 17,300 hectares would be flooded, that 25000 campesinos would be displaced, and that it would affect 75000 others who live downstream.  No one was consulted as to whether s/he would consent to being displaced.

In the case of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, indigenous Me’phaa women who were raped by soldiers in 2002, the lawyers Miguel Pulido Jiménez, director of the Center for Analysis and Investigation; Guadalupe Barrera, from the Center for Economic Investigation and Teaching A.C.; and Daphne Cuevas, from the Parliamentary Consortium and Equity A.C. denounced that the Mexican State is not observing the sentence handed down by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).  In a 7 November press-conference, they denounced that, while the Mexican State first was incapable of guaranteeing the rights of the indigenous women, it later refused to recognize their condition as victims, and when the IACHR condemned it, it failed to make available the necessary resources for reparations.  Guadalupe Barrera and Daphne Cuevas stated that, while the federal government assures that it does not have money for compensation, it enjoys a large budget for the financing of publicity and image.

On 4 November in Chilpancingo, moreover, social organizations held a commemoration on the first anniversary of the death of Omar Guerrero Solís, also known as Commander Ramiro, member of the Revolutionary Army of Insurgent Peoples (ERPI), who was killed in the sierra of Coyuca de Catalán on 4 November of last year.  The Workshop of Communal Development (TADECO), the Guerrero Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations  (Guerrero Network), the mining union of Taxco, and CETEG, among others, celebrated a mass in the church of San Mateo and later carried out an event in the zócalo.  Javier Monroy, member of TADECO, stressed that “Ramiro gave his life for his people, to give them a dignified life, and to build a better world.  For that reason he is a model to follow for the youth.”

For more information (in Spanish):

NGO criticizes harassment of professors (La Jornada, 29 October)

Guerrero, Mexico: Reactivation of arrest-orders against teachers and criminalization of protest (Kaos en la Red, 29 October)

Organizations expose violations of the right to consultation before the IACHR (CENCOS, 28 October)

IACHR sentence is ignored, it is accused (La Jornada, 8 November)

Organizations hold homage for Commander Ramiro, killed in 2009(La Jornada, 4 November)

Guerrero: Before the Inter-American Court, the Mexican government denies that the military raped Inés Fernández

April 27, 2010

On the 15th of April, in Lima, Perú, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights listened to the final oral testimonies of the case of Fernández Ortega vs. México (personal integrity and access to justice). Inés Fernández is an indigenous activist from Guerrero who reported being raped by Mexican military forces in 2002. Before the Court, representatives of the Mexican government responded to the allegations by stating that Fernández was lying. The director general of Human Rights and Democracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alejandro Negrín, who represents the Mexican state, affirmed “we deny the accustation, since there is no evidence.”

Gisela de León, lawyer from the Center for Justice and International Law (Cejil), who is part of the legal defense team for Fernández, said it was “grave” that the government did not recognize the crime, ” despite all the evidence.”  Council stressed that, in addition to the testimony of Fernández, there was that of her children, who were present during the events. Additionally, a medical test was done that confirmed the presence of semen in her body and a psychological examination that also showed Fernández  had suffered a traumatic event. Council also recalled that they can confirm the military presence during the date and time of the crime.

The legal representatives of the state and of Fernández have until the 24th of May to present written closing arguments, after which the Inter-American Court will consider the case and issue its decision.

For more information (in Spanish):

Before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, authorities claim that indigenous woman who claimed to have been raped by soldiers is lying (La Jornada, 16 April)