On 27 June, several organizations which comprise the Southeastern Region of the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” from the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatan organized the Forum “Defending hope and autonomy from southeastern Mexico” which was held in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. A journalist and five rights-defenders presented their perspectives regarding their work and the problems they confront. In parallel terms, the book “Accompanying Hope” was presented, which documents 20 experiences of the defense and promotion of human rights in the country.
In a bulletin, these same organizations presented their diagnostic evaluation of the prevailing situation in the states of southeastern Mexico, stressing that in those spaces, there has been seen an increase in the “social conflictivity based in the structural violence generated by the different levels of government.” They stressed that “in light of the communal contexts in which these [conflicts] present themselves in the southeast of Mexico, given the increase in social conflict, worsening of poverty, impunity, discrimination and corruption that is practiced by the different levels of the government, human-rights defenders represents one of the actors of change to transform this worrying situation through alternatives of life and hope for this country.” They indicated that their “work continues unrecognized by the official authorities and non-state actors, who reduce the definition of human-rights defender only to those who work in a public organization that officially works in human rights.”
As an example of the increasing tendency toward criminalization, the panelists mentioned the cases of the “judicial persecution of our colleague Nataniel Hernández Nuñez from Tonalá; the unjust incarceration of Alberto Patishtán Gómez from El Bosque; and the troubles suffered by Fray Tomás González and the personnel of the Migrant Home 72 in Tenosique in their work to assist migrant persons transiting through the region.”
The panelists concluded by affirming that the “Campaign ‘Let Us Defend Hope’ is a motivation to emphasize and recognize this important work which seeks to dignify the invaluable contributions of persons who without being part of any official human-rights organization, still do work to promote, defend, and exercise human rights in southeastern Mexico.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Convocatoria a la presentación de la “Campaña Defendamos la Esperanza” en Chiapas (27 de junio de 2013)
Boletín: la defensa de los Derechos Humanos en el Sureste de México (27 de junio de 2013)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):