Chiapas: Forum “Defending hope and autonomy from southeastern Mexico”

July 19, 2013

Panel en el Foro “Defendiendo la esperanza y la autonomía desde el Sureste mexicano” (@SIPAZ)

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):

National: Campaign “We Defend Hope” in favor of human-rights defenders (8 April 2013)


Chiapas: CDH Digna Ochoa denuncia amenazas a su director por parte del gobierno del estado abril 2, 2012

April 3, 2012

Nataniel Hernández (@proyectoambulante.org)

In a communiqué published on 28 March, the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, with headquarters in Tonalá, denounced that its director, Nataniel Hernández Núñez, received death-threats and was subject to intimidation via telephone by state-government officials of Chiapas.  The Center indicates that by this means, members of the Sub-Secretary of the Coastal Isthmus and of the Delegation of Governance attempted to halt the mobilization of the Regional Autonomous Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas, which had been planned for 29 March on the coast of Chiapas, towards the end of demanding the cessation of judicial harassmetn and the cancellation of arrest-orders and penal processes against those who form part of the National Network of Civil Resistance against High Electricity Prices.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de Prensa CDH Digna Ochoa (28 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Sit-in of the Front of Ejidos in Resistance in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (6 January 2012)

Chiapas: Forum for the defense of rights-defenders (18 October 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation in Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza (28 September 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: detentions vis-a-vis blockade of road Tonala-Pijijiapan during action of the Other Campaign (26 February 2011)

Chiapas: Judicial harassment of human-rights defender (21 June 2010)


Chiapas: adherents to the Other Campaign denounce strategies of looting on the part of the state and federal government

February 8, 2012

On 20 January, adherents to the Other Campaign in Chiapas held a press-conference in the offices of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for HUman Rights (CDHFBC) to denounce the strategies of the federal and state governments which are prosecuting “a war of looting that generates environmental degradation, the privatization of natural resources, super-exploitation of work, looting of land and extermination of indigenous peoples, repression, persecution, incarceration, and murder so as to contain the social struggles of resistance to their policies.”

They affirmed that said strategies seek to “depopulate and repopulate indigenous territories toward the end of building a new Cancún in Chiapas, consolidating the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor to place the entirety of our natural wealth found in our lands into the hands of transnationals,” this by means of “megaprojects for so-called sustainable development, rural cities, ecotourism, Prodesis, and the Strategy of Development of the Southern States (EDES).”  They expressed that for them, the political parties PRI, PRD, and PVEM and the three levels of government “have burgeoned the size of paramilitary groups.”

They detailed that these strategies are seen illustrated in the Zapatista territories pertaining to the five autonomous caracoles, “exercising provocations and harassment, death-threats, looting of recovered lands, destruction of homes, forced displacement, destruction of crops and food, robbery, physical assault, sexual violation of female comrades, arbitrary detentions, and incarcerations.”  This is seen in San Sebastián Bachajón; in Tila; in the community of Candelaria el Alto, municipality of Carranza; in the community of Busiljá, municipality of Ocosingo; in the Colony 24 of May in San Cristóbal de Las Casas; in death-threats against artisans who are adherents to the Other Campaign in the Santo Domingo plaza; in the state prisons; and in the persecution against Nataniel Hernández Núñez, from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, member of the Autonomous Council of the Coast; and in harassment against his relatives and members of the communities pertaining to the Council.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa completo de La Otra Campaña – Chiapas (20 January 2012)

Procede y Fanar, estrategias del gobierno para despojar a indígenas de sus tierras (La Jornada, 22 January 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Sit-in of the Front of Ejidos in Resistance in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (6 January 2012)

Chiapas: Forum for the defense of rights-defenders (18 October 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation in Candelaria El Alto, Venustiano Carranza (28 September 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Chiapas: adherentes a La Otra Campaña de San Sebastián Bachajón denuncian injerencia del gobierno del estado.(8 de diciembre de 2011)


Chiapas: Forum for the defense of human-rights defenders

October 18, 2011

Forum for the defense of human-rights defenders (Tonalá, October 2011, @SIPAZ)

Different human-rights centers, including the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights (Tonalá), the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, and the Center for Rights of Women in Chiapas, the Bety Cariño Center (from southern Veracruz=, and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (from Guerrero) met on 8 and 9 October to observe a “Forum for the defense of human-rights defenders,” held in Tonalá, Chiapas.  The objective of the same was to “visibilize the harassment and persecution of human-rights defenders in the central, southern, and southeastern regions of Mexico, as well as to articulate an agenda of actions for the protection and defense of rights-defenders in the region.”

Yazmin Hernández, director of the Digna Ochoa Center, denounced the criminalization and harassment suffered by human-rights defenders in Chiapas, remembering that the ex-director of the same center, Nataniel Hernández Núñez, continues to be persecuted by the courts.  She also accused the government of treating defenders “as criminals” and called on the different centers to coordinate their actions so as to find measures “to protect ourselves together.”

Civil groups and organizations such as the community of Candelaria (Venustiano Carranza), relatives of prisoners on hunger strike and fast in different Chiapas prisons, the Cerezo Committee, the House for Migrants in Arriaga, the Assembly of the Peoples Adherents to the Other Campaign, Civil Resistance against High Electricity Prices from Candelaria, the Ocez Di Unopi, and the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas also participated.  They denounced the aggressions directed against adherents to the Other Campaign as well as harassment against those who defend migrants, women, and the indigenous.

The participants also make more profound the subjects dealt with at the Forum by means of 5 work-tables:

Work-table 1: Mechanisms of prevention for rights-defenders

Work-table 2: Mechanisms of protection for defenders

Work-table 3: Mechanisms for defense for defenders

Work-table 4: Support in solidarity for the defense of defenders

Work-table 5: Technical support and new knowledges

In the final pronunciation of the Forum was highlighted the following: “1. That the harassment and repression exercised by the Mexican State toward all human-rights defenders at the national level is committed with the objective of dismantling and inhibiting the legitimate work of promoting and defending human rights.  2. That this premeditated aggression against human-rights defenders seeks to make-vulnerable the organizational processes in resistance to the ravages of neoliberal capitalism.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento final del Foro (9 October 2011)

Termina en Tonalá un foro en pro de defensores de derechos, Constante, la violencia del Estado contra los mexicanos, afirma ONG (La Jornada, 10 October 2011)

Necesario buscar el fin al hostigamiento contra “humanistas” (Cuarto Poder, 11 October)

Audios del Foro por la defensa del los defensores y las defensoras de derechos, desde Tonala, Chiapas (Radio Pozol)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Growing insecurity for the work of human-rights defenders–denunciations from Washington, Brussels, and Chiapas (31 March 2011)

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)

Mexico: Accord to establish a Mechanism for Protection of Human-Rights Defenders; campaign “Declare yourself” is launched (20 July 2011)

Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)

Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)

Chiapas: confrontation over control point at Agua Azul leaves one dead and several injured (7 February 2011)

Chiapas: Judicial harassment of human-rights defender (21 June 2010)


Chiapas: Judicial harassment of relatives of the director of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights AC

July 20, 2011

Nataniel Hernández Nuñez (@Front Line Defenders)

In a 4 July press-release, the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, with headquarters in Tonalá in the coastal region of Chiapas, expressed its concern “for the continuing acts of judicial harassment to which the relatives of the director of this organization have been subjected.  C.C. Bersain Hernández Zavala and Guadalupe Núñez Salazar came to the home of the relatives to leave a citation from the Ministerial Police (AFI) demanding that they appear before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) located in the city of Arriaga […] without knowing the reasons for which they have been called before this penal authority.”

The Center locates this new act in the tendency on the part of the Mexican State and in particular the Chiapas state-government to “use the judicial system to persecute, harass, incarcerate human-rights defenders and [in this case] relatives of those who dedicate their work to the defense of human rights.”  They demand that the “Mexican government and the Chiapas government put an end to these acts of harassment directed against human-rights defenders and their relatives [as well as] observe the numerous international accords on human rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín del CDH Digna Ochoa (4 July 2011)

Defensores de derechos humanos denuncian hostigamiento y persecución en Chiapas (La Jornada, 8 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)


Chiapas/Mexico: National and international campaign against judicial harassment directed against and criminalization of human-rights defenders in Mexico

July 1, 2011

In a press-conference, representatives of social movements and civil human-rights organizations, among them the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights, the Fray Matías de Córdova Center for Human Rights, and the Center for the Rights of Women in Chiapas launched on Thursday 23 June the “National and International campaign against judicial harassment and the criminalization of human-rights defenders in Mexico.”  They reported that the objective of this campaign is to demand a true justice and to express opposition to political persecution, repression ,and criminalization.

The Digna Ochoa CDH advocated for the cancellation of juridical threats and unjust penal processes against social activists and communal defenders.  Concretely, it requested the nullification of the investigations against Nataniel Hernández Núñez, director of said Center, who was detained on two occasions in February and March 2011.  Members of the Digna Ochoa CDH and the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coast of Chiapas (CARZCC) emphasized that “it remains clear that the strategy of persecution against the comrade and repression against the people who organize themselves and struggle [continues].  Presently he faces five penal investigations–fabricated–which show yet again that in Mexico it is not justice that exists but impunity which prevails.  The comrade is not alone, nor is anyone [else] who raises one’s voice and organizes oneself in defense of one’s people and rights.”

The Fray matías de Córdova Center for Human Rights has declared that “in accordance with the Digna Ochoa CDH, we have suspended our legal representation of Nataniel Hernández.  We understand the truth and comprehend that a justice system that persecutes human-rights defenders and bases itself in fabricated evidence and failures of office is not justice.  It is thus better to seek other means of social and political defense–as long as the courts are inaccessible to people like Nataniel.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Campaña nacional e internacional contra el hostigamiento judicial y criminalizacion a defensores de DH en México, Cencos 22 June 2011

Exigen justicia contra la persecución política, (Cuarto Poder, 24 June 2011)

Peligroso, defender derechos humanos en México, denuncia el Centro Digna Ochoa, (La Jornada, 21 June 2011)

Audio:

Audio de la conferencia de prensa, Radio Pozol, 23 June 2011

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)


Mexico: Growing insecurity for the work of human-rights defenders – denunciations from Washington DC, Brussels, and Chiapas

March 31, 2011

On 29 March, 23 human-rights organizations from 11 countries that were meeting in Washington D.C. for the 141st session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) denounced more than 2000 rights-violations against human-rights defenders in the Americas.  They described an alarming situation that finds its basis in “the persistence of attacks on the part of state actors or those who act with its support or tolerance, such as paramilitaries, and the appearance of new forms of harassment on the part of organized crime and extractive firms with economic interests in the region.”  They explained that according to the UN, the countries in which the m ost denunciations are produced are Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, and Peru (in this order).

In other news, the civil organizations requested that the IACHR create a spokeperson’s office or specific unit charged with the protection of rights-defenders.  They also demanded that states implement effective means of protection and better public policies that guarantee the work of rights-defenders as well as the investigation of acts of violence and death-threats carried out against persons who risk their lives to denounce situations of social injustice.

Also on 29 March, in the European Parliament in Brussels, Mexican rights-defenders participated in a conference regarding the human-rights sitution in Mexico.  These defenders denounced that “the Mexican State pretends to be concerned with the attacks and harassment directed against rights-defenders before the international community, but in daily reality things are not so; on the contrary, there is lived a continuous situation of risk.”  They stressed the necessity of having protection-mechanisms for rights-defenders and journalists, with the effective participation of civil society in the design and implementation of such.  They also discussed how to effectively implement the guidelines of the European Union on the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders.

Finally, the Digna Ochoa, Fray Matías de Córdova, and Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas human-rights centers expressed their preoccupation in Chiapas regarding the judicial harassment of the members of the Digna Ochoa Center (Tonala, coast of Chiapas) “specifically with regard to its director Nataniel Hernández Núñez and other lawyers of the same institution.”  They manifested concern “for the utilization of legal actions targeting rights-defenders toward the end of harassing them judicially and discrediting their work.”  They demanded that the federal government observe its obligation “to put an end to all types of aggression or obstruction of the work of human-rights defenders in Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

México: Pronunciations and actions as regards the situation of human-rights defenders in the country and southeastern Mexico (25 March 2011)

Chiapas: director of Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights detained once again (20 March 2011)

Chiapas: 3 human-rights defenders from the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights released from El Amate (8 March 2011)