Chiapas: Ch’ol indigenous people occupy Tila City Hall after decades of having been ignored

December 26, 2015


Photo @Pozol Colectivo

On 16 December, as they had announced they would do in accordance with communal agreement in assemblies, indigenous Ch’ol people from the Tila ejido recovered the lands on which City Hall is located. Protestors indicated that it had been more than 5 decades during which they had appealed to different governmental institutions without success. “If there is no solution, there will be demolition,” warned the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle during a march held on 16 December. The campesino members of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) made a call for national and international solidarity in terms of the possible repressive responses that could be taken by the three levels of government, which in recent days had carried out military and police operations in the community.

Protestors indicated that in 2008 the ejidal authorities of Tila had won a motion promoted “against one of the several attempts at plundering that we have suffered since 1964, due to the different actions taken by City Hall, the state government, and the local congress.” The motion orders the restitution of 130 hectares of ancestral lands. However, using the argument that the sentence cannot possibly be implemented, City Hall has failed to observe the ruling.

The “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez” Center for Human Rights, which has for years accompanied the Tila ejido of Ch’ol persons in their actions before the Supreme Court, expressed in an Urgent Action that “we hope that by exercising their constitutional and legal rights, this conflict in the Tila municipality of Chiapas be resolved through mediation, and that the state’s reaction not be through criminalization or repression of any kind.” The Center requests that civil society send this Urgent Action to the officials who appear in the document, with copies to

For more information (in Spanish):

Queman alcaldía de Tila en reclamo de tierras (Proceso, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

Acción Urgente (CDH Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

PJGE investiga daños en alcaldía de Tila, Chiapas (El Universal, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

México: “Si no hay solución, habrá demolición”, consigna cumplida en Tila Chiapas. 16 de diciembre. (Pozol Colectivo, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

Comunicado_Ejido_Tila (Adeherentes a la Sexta Declaración Tila, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce confrontation between PVEM and PRI, with 4 injured (21 July 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce attempt at usurpation (21 January 2015)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila receive threats following march to commemorate 80th anniversary of the ejido (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce new attempt to loot land (22 January 2014)



Guerrero/National/International: UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) to evaluate the case of Mexico

February 10, 2015


Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 2 and 3 February, the UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) evaluated the question of Mexico’s observance of its obligations, as stipulated in the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Forcible Disappearance, for the first time.  Relatives of two of the 43 disappeared students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, accompanied by a dozen Mexican human-rights organizations, arrived to Geneva to represent their peers.  They gave presentations at the United Nations and shared with the international community their profound indignation over the events of late September that took place in Guerrero state.  Bernabé Abraham Gaspar, father of Adán Abraham de la Cruz, one of the victims, emphasized that “for us, our sons are not dead.  They have been disappeared.  It is for that reason that we have come to the United Nations, so that you can help us find them.”

The CED has deeply questioned the Mexican State in relation to the actions and policies supposedly designed to prevent, investigate, and sanction forcible disappearances, as well as to search out the missing and protect their families.  In this sense, the Committee interrogated the State regarding the reasons for the closure of the FEMOSPP, an institution that had been charged with investigating the grave human-rights violations that took place during the “Dirty War” of the 1970’s, as well as the lengthy delay of the federal government in attending to the case of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.  The CED indicated that the Ayotzinapa case represents a serious challenge for the Mexican State, but that it also demonstrates a broader structural problem that has developed due to impunity. Stephanie Erin Brewer, coordinator of International Affairs at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, has indicated that the question of impunity has been present at all moments, given that the members of the Committee have indicated that there are exceedingly few cases in which sentences have been handed down.  She inquired into the reasons behind the closure of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Past Crimes and other events, such as the faulty classification of this type of crime.  The conclusions and recommendations for Mexico will be made public on 13 February.

For more information (in Spanish):

México ante el Comité contra la Desaparición Forzada: la obligación de hacer de la crisis actual un punto de inflexión en la política del Estado(Centro ProDH, 3 de febrero de 2015)

“Que no nos mientan más…que se haga justicia” (Alba TV, 2 de febrero de 2015)

INFORME | La Desaparición Forzada de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa frente al CED (Tlachinollan, 2 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Organizational call to the presentation of the report of the Civil Observance Mission: Justice for San José del Progreso

March 15, 2014


Coinciding with the second anniversary of the murder of the anti-mining activist Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Land will publicly present the report of the Civil Observance Mission: Justice for San José del Progreso.

The Mission, in which SIPAZ participated, was held in November 2012 in the community of San José del Progreso.  Since the year 2006, this community has denounced human-rights violations committed by the Fortune Silver Mines company, which is implementing a mining project there.

The presentation of the report will be held on 10 March at 10am at the Institute for Graphic Arts Oaxaca (IAGO) in Oaxaca de Juárez, and thereafter starting on 12 March at 10am at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh) in Mexico City.

For more information (in Spanish):

Presentación Pública del Informe: Justicia para San José del Progreso(Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 6 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Chiapas: SCJN postpones new decision on Tila ejido; ejidatarios denounce harassment by local authorities

April 8, 2013

marcha de los ejidatarios en Tila en agosto de 2012 @ archivo SIPAZ

March of the ejidatarios in Tila, August 2012 @ archive SIPAZ

On 1 April was expected the decision of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) regarding the case of the Tila ejido.  The ejidatarios had petitioned the maximum tribunal of justice to restore to them the 130 hectares of the ejido which had been expropriated in 1980 by the state government of Chiapas.  However, following what previously had happened, the SCJN justices decided to postpone their decision.  The request had proposed that the legislative and executive powers in Chiapas nullify the decree of expropriation, but this was rejected by the majority of the ministers.  The case has been reitred and will be presented once again in a few weeks by the justice Olga Sánchez Cordero, who must now unify the arguments of the justices who opposed the motion on this occasion.

The Tila ejidatarios, upon learning of the SCJN’s decision once again to postpone decision on the case, released a communique in which they warned of the possibility that new violations of the rights of the Ch’ol people be prosecuted.  They indicated that the justices “do not know our people […].  We have already said that the large majority of those who live in Tila are families of ejidatarios that form a part of our assembly, and that those who are not will have their right to possession recognized.  We also want to say that many state and federal constructions are recognized by acts of donation for some time.”  The Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights (ProDH), making reference to the different arguments presented by the justices in the discussion of the case, expressed that “Deliberations on the nature of an indigenous people should not imply a dichotomy between being ejidatario or indigenous; rather, both dimensions coexist, that is to say, they are both indigenous and ejidatarios.  At the Court there were voices postulating the necessity of defining whether the case of the Tila ejido is an agrarian question or an indigenous question.  Far from being exclusionary, the social regime of ejidal property and the rights contained therein are broadened and strengthened by the exercise of the rights of indigenous peoples, when these be recognized.”In recent dates, the ejidatarios denounced that within the context of the SCJN’s decision, municipal and state authorities have intimidated ejidal authorities.  “In the home of the ejidal commissioner, personnel from the state police with members of City Hall have arrived, waiting to see if the commissioner is at home.  The second time, there were judicial police carrying videocameras, thus communicating to the people that the commissioner feels intimidated.  This occurred at the beginning of the month of March,” as two ejidatarios have said.  During the final week of March, they indicate in a denunciation, harassment worsened: “There is no peace in Tila, but rather violence is beginning, and aggressive behaviors are resurging, as in the period of the numerous massacres carried out by Paz y Justicia.”  In the denunciation, ejidatarios recall several acts of aggression, intimidation, and injustice they have suffered on the part of municipal authorities since the end of the 1970s to date.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de los ejidatarios de Tila: Palabra sobre la decisión de suspender la discusión de la Suprema Corte (01/04/2013)

Centro ProDH: Identidades indígena y ejidal no se excluyen, por lo cual debe restituirse territorio al ejido Tila: Centro Prodh (01/04/2013)

La Jornada: Por lo “complejo” del caso, aplaza la Corte fallo sobre recurso del ejido Tila (02/04/2013)

Comunicado de los ejidatarios de Tila sobre hostigamiento de autoridades municipales (31/03/2013)

La Jornada: Ejidatarios de Tila denuncian asedio del ayuntamiento con apoyo de paramilitares (02/04/2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Supreme Court postpones decision on case of the Tila ejidatario (16 August 2012)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios march in Tila and Mexico City (16 August 2012)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila announce schedule of march to the SCJN in Mexico City (31 July 2012)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios de Tila announce a caravan and march against the SCJN in defense of their land and territory (25 July 2012)

Chiapas: Tila ejidatarios reject compensation and request that the SCJN respects their right to territory (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: Authorities of the Tila ejido denounce negation of their right to land; their lives are threatened (9 September 2010)

Chiapas: ejidatarios march in Tila in defense of their lands (27 April 2010)


Chiapas: Suprema Corte pospone fallo sobre el caso de los ejidatarios de Tila (6 de agosto de 2012)

Chiapas: Ejidatarios marchan en Tila y el DF (2 de agosto de 2012)

Chiapas: ejidatarios de Tila rechazan indemnización y piden a la SCJN respeto a su derecho al territorio (12 de febrero de 2011)

Oaxaca: One-year anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez

March 26, 2013


15 March marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, spokesperson of the Coordination of United Peoples in Defense of the Ocotlan Valley (CPUVO) and opponent of the “Trinidad” mine owned by the Cuzcatlán firm, which is a subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines Inc, located in the municipality of San José del Progreso.  During 2010 and 2011 Bernardo and members of the CPUVO received death-threats for which they responded with 20 juridical demands, none of which was processed.

Commemorating the one-year anniversary of Bernardo Vázquez’s murder, on March 15 a group of 200 people carried out a ceremony to remember this social activist, before the very site of the Cuzcatlán mine in San José del Progreso.   In accordance with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), the entire group was arrested following their public act.  These events took place when members of a group supportive of the mine (transported in 5 trucks) blockaded access, including federal highways, to inhibit the free movement of the protesters, who were also fired upon so as to intimidate them.  There were no reports of injured persons, but among those arrested are found members of the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Territory, of the CPUVO, residents of San José del Progreso, and members of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, including its director, José Rosario Marroquín Farrera.

“A year after his murder, the violations of the collective rights of the people continue to be prosecuted by the mining firm, and there has been no institutional means by which to resolve this conflict.  This date leads us to recall the level of impunity with which the mining firms are operating; it also recalls the complicity of municipal, state, and federal governments with the implementation of these projects,” as is noted in the communique by REMA (Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining) that was published for the one-year anniversary.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bernardo VIVE en la lucha de los pueblos de Oaxaca (EDUCA, 15 de marzo de 2013)

A un año del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez se continúan violando los derechos humanos en San José del Progreso (Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios, 14 de marzo de 2013)

Situación de emergencia en San José del Progreso (CodigoDH, 15 de marzo de 2013)

A un año del asesinato de Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez, REMA exige justicia para San José del Progreso, Oaxaca, México (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 15 de marzo de 2013)

Activistas hacen toma simbólica de mina en El Progreso, Oaxaca(Milenio, 15 de marzo de 2013)

Retiene grupo armado a 200 activistas opositores a una mina en Oaxaca (WRadio, 15 de marzo de 2013)

Opositores a minera y defensores de DH bien tras hostigamiento(Centro Prodh, 15 de marzo de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Opponents to mining in San José del Progreso are attacked (25 June 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: 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)