Chiapas: Civil Observation Mission to the Coast one year after the earthquake of September 7, 2017

September 18, 2018

Civil Observation MIssion to the Coast (@SIPAZ)

From September 4 to 6, a Civil Observation Mission made a visit to communities of the municipalities of Arriaga, Tonalá and Pijijiapán one year after the earthquake of September 7, 2017. I
t was organized by the Network All rights for all, the Human Rights Center “Digna Ochoa”, the Human Rights Center “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas”, the Human Rights Center “Fray Matías de Cordova” as well as Mesoamerican Voices, Action with Migrant Peoples in addition to the Service and Consultancy for Peace (Serapaz); and accompanied by SIPAZ and the Swedish Movement for Reconciliation (SweFOR). It should be remembered that this earthquake left damages in 97 municipalities of Chiapas and that, according to official data, more than 46 thousand families suffered damages to their homes, mainly in rural areas. There were also affectations in more than 800 schools, 184 hospitals, clinics, health centers and public buildings; as well as in 462 churches and historical monuments.

In the main conclusions after this visit, the Mission affirmed that the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) left more than 8 thousand victims of the Coast of Chiapas outside the censuses of damages, and without the possibility of receiving any resource for reconstruction.
Another 2 thousand 769 families that were registered didn’t receive the resources for the reconstruction that were given via BANSEFI cards. Those who obtained cards only received 70 percent of those resources for reconstruction since the government of Chiapas has not deposited the remaining 30 percent, which it was supposed to contribute. More than 90 percent of the families affected continue to live in adverse conditions, under tents and tarps, renting or living in semi-destroyed houses. Others had to request loans from banks to carry out the reconstruction.

Among the activities realized by the Mission, a meeting was held with the elected governor of Chiapas, Rutilio Escandón Cadenas, in which he was told about the serious damage suffered by the affected people, a situation that was aggravated by the ineffective action of the different levels of government : neither attended to all the people affected, nor made an adequate use of the resources. For this reason, the organizations of the Mission called on him to make changes in public policies as soon as he takes office. Escandón Cadenas reported that one of his first actions on the subject will be to elaborate what he called a “true census”.

The main recommendations of the Mission include:
to guarantee the right to a decent life and housing in favor of the thousands of victims in Chiapas due to the earthquake of September 7, 2017; to investigate and sanction all kinds of acts of corruption in the use of public funds for the reconstruction process; to urgently conclude the reconstruction of schools and health centers, as well as water and sanitation services; to create a program that allows the more than 8 thousand families of the coast of Chiapas that have not been considered within the reconstruction programs, to be granted support without any conditioning; and to guarantee the right to defend the human rights of the defenders and defenders in Chiapas.

For more information (in Spanish) :

Misión Civil de Observación inicia visita a un año de los sismos reuniéndose con Gobernador electo Rutilio Escandón (Mco, 4 de septiembre de 2018)

Afectaciones de los damnificados se agravaron por la ineficacia del Gobierno” Misión Civil de Observación (Chiapas Paralelo, 4 de septiembre de 2018)

La simulación de la reconstrucción en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 6 de septiembre de 2018)

Prometer no empobrece, dar es lo que aniquila”. A un año del sismo la costa de Chiapas sigue en emergencia (Regeneración, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

En Chiapas, a un año del terremoto, reconstrucción a cuenta gotas (Chiapas Paralelo, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

A un año del sismo del 7 de Septiembre en Chiapas, persisten violaciones a los Derechos Humanos de las familias damnificadas (CDH Digna Ochoa, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

10 mil damnificados sin ayuda en costa de Chiapas a un año de sismo (Regeneración, 7 de septiembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ :

Oaxaca / National: 8th National Meeting of victims of the earthquakes of September 2017 in Juchitán September 16, 2018

Chiapas: Coastal Civil Observation Mission Ends Two Months after the 8.2 Earthquake November 23, 2017

National: Mexico Shaken by Two Huge Earthquakes Faces the Shock with a Wave of Solidarity September 30, 2017

Oaxaca: NGOs denounce “inadequate and insufficient response from the three levels of government” to earthquake disaster September 21, 2017

Chiapas: three members of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights charged with the crime of mutiny

March 7, 2011

On 22 February 2011, rights-defenders José María Martínez Cruz and Eduardo Alonso Martínez Silva, both lawyers at the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights, and Nataniel Hernández Núñez, director of the organization, were arrested while carrying out documentation activities of possible human-rights violations after being informed that police units had been detaining individuals who had been engaging in a highway roadblock between Tonalá and Pijijiapan.

Arrested together with these rights-defenders were 16 other people who have been released.  The members of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights were transferred from the city of Tonalá to the State Center for Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No. 14, El Amate (CERSS no. 14, El Amate), located in the  municipality of Cintalapa where they are presently being held for the crime of mutiny.  The State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) bases its case against them on declarations of witnesses present during the day of the blockade who have indicated that the accused “are those who on 21 February led a group of people who blocked highway between the municipalities of Tonalá and Pijijiapan for several hours.”

In a communiqué released from el Amate, the Digna Ochoa rights-defenders claim that “the repression to which we members of the Digna Ochoa Center for Human Rights have been subjected which holds us three members without liberty […] utilizes the justice system and institutions to silence our struggle.” In addition they denounced arbitrary detentions, physical, verbal, and psychological violence, and the lack of communication they suffered, among other violations to due process in the administration of their case.  With reference to the 13 detained from the Autonomous Council of the Coast of Chiapas, they stressed that declarations were signed under duress, without the possibility of reviewing them.

For its part, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) manifested in a bulletin its “concern for the use of legal action against human-rights defenders toward the end of judicially harassing them and discrediting their work for the defense and promotion of human rights.” The CDHFBC demanded that the state government of Chiapas “observe its obligation to put an end to all aggressions and/or other obstacles to the work of human-rights defenders in Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Internan en El Amate a abogados defensores de DH de Chiapas (La Jornada, 26 February 2011)

Procesan a defensores de indígenas de Agua Azul (El Universal, 26 February 2011)

Denuncia de los tres abogados del Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa (Desde el Amate, 26 February 2011)

Acción Urgente del Observatorio para la Protección de Derechos Humanos (FIDH, OMCT- 27 February 2011)

Preocupación por la detención al Director del Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa y a dos de sus colaboradores, todos defensores de derechos humanos (Boletín del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, 25 February 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)