URGENT RELEASE: REPRESSION OF TEACHERS IN OAXACA

June 22, 2016

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URGENT RELEASE

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
June 21, 2016

REPRESSION OF TEACHERS IN OAXACA

On June 19, elements of the police in the state of Oaxaca violently repressed teachers and organized civil society in opposition of the education reform of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto. Such events caused the death of at least six people, the apprehension and/or disappearance of 22, and 45 left with gunshot wounds between Nochixtlán and Hacienda Blanca. Their medical attention was not guaranteed, to which the general population responded by building “attention centers” to serve and treat those wounded. In the last few days, planes of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie have arrived to the capital of the state.

Such event is the most recent within the escalating context of the repressive violence in all of the entities where the teachers’ movement has manifested with the support of the civil society (Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, Michoacan, Guerrero, among others) in the last few weeks. All of these mobilizations have been in demand for a dialogue with the federal government about the reform, which has maintained a stern stance of not wanting to modify such reform, and has threatened with the immediate cessation of those on strike.

Background History:

In 2013, the federal government approved the education reform, included in the packet of reforms derived from the “Pact for Mexico” -an agreement between principal political parties planting the construction of a society with human rights and liberties, economic growth, security, justice, transparency, combat of corruption, and democratic governance-. Since its announcement from the President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, the education reform caused inconformity between the teachers. It was presented by the government as an improvement in the education system from the evaluation of teachers; aimed to promote the autonomy of the families of students in terms of maintenance of the schools in practice, involving the covering of expenses of school maintenance. It was interpreted by a wide sector of teachers as a labor reform -more so than educational content- that would permit selective dismissals and the beginning of the privatization of education in the country.

As a result, dissident teachers organized multiple protests in several states in search for a dialogue with the federal government for the repeal of the reform. Various of the mobilizations were repressed by police forces, causing the death of three teachers (one from Chiapas and two from Guerrero in 2015 and 2016).

Organizations of the civil society of Oaxaca denounced the “criminalization of teachers”, with examples such as “mass media campaigns of defamation”, or the detention of at least 75 people -among which are several leaders of the movement-, who find themselves “in a situation of political imprisonment”. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations assessed that several of the arrests were directed against human rights defenders and they were carried out arbitrarily. Furthermore, some of those arrested were transported to high security prisons intended for severe federal crimes.

The civil society of Oaxaca rejected the dozens of arrest warrants issued to members of the Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE, in its Spanish acronyms) -known for demanding the cancellation of the education reform and for being a prominent part of the Oaxacan social movement-, looking to “dismantle the movement”. Before this situation, various rapporteurs of the United Nations emitted “urgent phone calls to Mexican authorities” due to the human rights violations, mainly for arrests without warrants, nor search warrants, and for the use of torture.

Since May 15 of this year, the teachers in opposition declared a labor strike, closing a large part of schools, with percentages above 95% in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Adding to the strike, teachers organized marches, blocked roads, held encampments and symbolic “sit-ins” of city councils and radio stations, among other actions, which have received growing support from the parents of the families of students, as well as the general population. The teachers currently maintain an encampment in the downtown center of the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, which is being guarded by barricades in the historic center of town and by road blockades of strategic points to prevent the entry of police forces.

The Civil Society of Oaxaca published an Urgent Action reporting a Humanitarian Alert issue “for State armed civilian attacks”. They requested the removal of governmental forces and repression against teachers and the general population, a space for dialogue, immediate medical attention, a stop to the criminalization of the teachers, the cancellation of the arrest warrants, the liberation of those detained, as well as the punishment of those responsible of the human rights violations.

As the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), we are highly concerned due to the human rights violations in the context of the teachers’ mobilizations, which is why we invite you all to sign the Urgent Action from the Civil Society of Oaxaca in the web-page of the All Rights for All Network (Red TdT, in its Spanish acronym).

We also assess that the situation of high tension is not only present in Oaxaca, but in Chiapas as well, to which we invite the national and international society remain attentive and aware of the events in the state.

For more information:

AU: Sociedad Civil de Oaxaca emite Alerta Humanitaria por ataque armado del Estado a la población civil

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Chiapas: Denunciation of police violence against trans* individuals in Palenque

December 26, 2015

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Protest carried out by the Network for the Inclusion of Sexual Diversity in Chiapas to denounce impunity in cases against LGBTQI persons. Photo: @Chiapas Paralelo

The Popular Campaign against Violence against Women and Femicide in Chiapas released a pronunciation denouncing the violence exercised by municipal police during the arrest of two trans* women in Palenque. In this document, those undersigned express their solidarity “amidst the violence that municipal police of Palenque exercised on 19 November against trans* women and that has continued now for several days.”

According to the communique, five trans* youth were taking photos in front of a club in Palenque when they were surrounded by five patrol-cars from the municipal police that arrested them arbitrarily, “treating them cruelly, inhumanely, and in a degrading fashion.” These acts gave evidence to the violation of their “right to non-discrimination, recognition of their juridical person, and to their personal integrity.” The denunciation includes testimony from one of those arrested, explaining how in the police offices she was disrobed and had her genitals examined, an experience that was reproduced for all the others, she said.

Since that night, the women have denounced police persecution against them on the charge of prostitution. As they note, “this happens every year; it is nothing new. There are times when they terrorize and mock us more; this year it was the same.” In this sense, the Campaign denounces the human-rights violations experienced daily in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and intersexual communities (LGBTQI). “As a campaign we stress the fact that those who are obliged to protect the integrity of persons such as the municipal police of Palenque are in reality the ones who violate the rights of the people and put their lives most at risk.”

In this sense, the Inter-American Commission on Human rights (IACHR) published in November 2015 a report on violence that expresses concern for police abuse against LGBTQI individuals, “given that this leads others to think that they can hurt others without punishment if they have different sexual orientations or gender identities.” In this way, the Network for Inclusion of Sexual Diversity in Chiapas denounced that in the last two years, there have been 24 murders of gays in the state, all of which continue in impunity. It is worth mentioning the recent arrest of trans* persons in Comitán, who according to Chiapas Paralelo were arrested, bound for 18 hours, and threatened with lynching and being burned alive with gasoline after having been unjustly accused of robbery.

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento contra violencia ejercida de Policías Municipales al momento de detener mujeres Transexuales de Palenque (Espoir Chiapas, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

Intentan linchar a jóvenes “trans” en Comitán. Procuraduría se niega a intervenir (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de noviembre de 2015)

Al menos 24 crímenes por homofobia ocurridos en Chiapas en los últimos dos años siguen impunes, denuncian (Chiapas Paralelo, 27 de noviembre de 2015)

Violencia contra personas LGBTI (Acnur, noviembre de 2015)

Violencia contra personas LGBTI: altos niveles de ensañamiento y crueldad (Adital, 17 de noviembre de 2015)


Guerrero: Denunciation of the Mexican State before the Inter-American System of Human Rights due to the death and torture of student-teachers in Ayotzinapa, 2011

December 26, 2015

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Photo @Tlachinollan

On 12 December, relatives of the student-teachers from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College, Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, who were killed during a police operation carried out by state and federal agents in December 2011 in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, together with Gerardo Torres Pérez, a student-teacher victim of torture, denounced the Mexican State before the Inter-American System on Human Rights due to the violation of its basic obligations as stipulated in the American Convention and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Sanction Torture. The same day, student-teachers and relatives of Gabriel and Jorge Alexis took over the streets of Chilpancingo to arrive at the same place where the crimes took place.

It bears mentioning that, on 12 December 2011, State officials violently displaced the protest being carried out by students from Ayotzinapa. Two student-teachers were executed extrajudicially, being Jorge Alexis and Gabriel, whereas three others were injured by gunfire, 24 were arrested arbitrarily, and one student, Gerardo, was tortured. Despite the existence of evidence that clearly accounts for the violations that took place, to date the violations that have been denounced continue in impunity, as a communique from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights notes: “The Mexican State has in no way adopted the necessary and adequate measures to prevent and guarantee that similar acts do not repeat themselves.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Ayotzinapa otra vez (La Jornada, 15 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Body of tortured and executed Ayotzinapa student, Julio César Mondragón, is exhumed (21 November 2015)

National: Mobilizations within and outside the country for the first anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa (10 October 2015)

Chiapas: Actions for the one-year anniversary of the Ayotzinapa disappearances (8 October 2015)


Chiapas: Family of José Rolando, murdered through torture, demands justice and cessation of death-threats

November 19, 2015

José Rolando @ Chiapas Denuncia

José Rolando @ Chiapas Denuncia

On 29 October, the 20-month anniversary of the murder of José Rolando Pérez de la Cruz by municipal police from Acala (who beat him and tortured him to death on 1 March 2014), his relatives published a communique demanding justice, guarantees of non-repetition, and security guarantees for the family and lawyer in the case, as they have been the objects of death-threats and harassment.

Beyond this, they expressed gratitude for the support and solidarity they have received on the national and international levels, as well as the intervention by the organization Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture in France (ACAT-France) toward the Chiapas state government.

“We will continue to demand justice and truth from this bad government headed by Velasco Coello, who has demonstrated his lack of interest, incompetence, and inefficiency for investigating and incarcerating all those who obstruct [justice] and participated directly or indirectly in the murder of José Rolando,” they declared in front of the palace of governance in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de José Rolando muerto por tortura exigen verdad y justicia (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 29 de octubre de 2015)

Chiapas: como en Iguala, la muerte de Rolando Pérez de la Cruz fue “bajo custodia y tortura de la policía municipal” (Radio Zapatista, 29 de octubre de 2015)

Policías municipales de Acala privan arbitrariamente de la vida al joven Rolando Pérez (CDHFBC, 15 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Torture and murder of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (28 March 2014)