National: Increase in attacks on journalists in Mexico

December 27, 2015

@Cuartoscuro

@Cuartoscuro

In recent weeks have transpired a number of attacks and acts of harassment against journalists in Mexico.  On 20 November in Mexico City, the home of the journalist Gloria Muñoz Ramírez was raided.  Muñoz Ramírez is the director of the electronic magazine Desinformémonos and a columnist for La Jornada.  Moreover, the editorship of Desinformémonos suffered a robbery and a cyber-attack.  The magazine is dedicated to documenting popular struggles and social movements in Mexico and throughout the world.  “This attack takes place within the context of grave attacks on journalists in the country, thus harming the right to information and putting at risk the lives, integrity, and personal security of those who dedicate themselves to communication,” noted the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, based in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in a communique.

Moreover, on 25 November, the journalist Maite Azuela received a death-threat at her home in Mexico City.  The articles written by the journalist are dedicated to human-rights policies and violations, recently related to the Army, as led by General Salvador Cienfuegos, and the state government of Puebla, directed by Rafael Moreno Valle. On 27 November in Guerrero, the general secretary of the state government, Florencio Salazar Adame, interrupted into a radio program and threatened the journalist Sergio Ocampo Arista, a news reporter, who had been discussing “suspicious” acts taken by the State.  According to the Journalistic Investigation Agency, Salazar Adame “arrived violently to the radio station and took the microphone to warn Ocampo […] that he should be careful with the criticisms he launches against the PRI government of Astudillo Flores,” governor of Guerrero.  Recently in Veracruz, at least 12 journalists were attacked by public-security forces.

Amidst these incidents, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) and Amnesty International Mexico (AI Mexico) submitted more than 12,000 signatures to the state authorities to demand that all the necessary measures be taken so that the Mechanism of Protection for Rights-Defenders and Journalists in Mexico function effectively. CMDPDH and AI indicated that the “work of rights-defenders in the country is risky and despite the fact that since 2012, there exists a law establishing a mechanism to protect these defenders and journalists who are at risk, it has not been implemented effectively due to lack of interest on the part of politicians.”  From 2000 to date, the National Commission on Human Rights in Mexico (CNDH) has registered 107 murders of journalists; 20 disappearances of journalists between 2005 and 2015; 48 attacks on media institutions from 2006 to date and a total of 506 complaints from 2010 to 2015.  Beyond this, between 2014 and 2015 the CNDH has authorized 26 precautionary measures.

For more information (in Spanish):

Recibe amenaza de muerte articulista Maite Azuela en el Distrito Federal (Desinformémonos, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Periodistas veracruzanos exigen tipificar delito de “ataque a la libertad de expresión” y garantías de seguridad (Revolución 3.0, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

Secretario general del gobierno priista de Guerrero irrumpe en cabina de radio con sus guaruras y amenaza a periodista (Revolución 3.0, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Basta de agresiones contra periodistas en México (Desinformémonos, 27 de noviembre de 2015)

Exigen eficacia en protección a periodistas (El Economista, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Condenamos agresiones a periodistas y el ataque a Desinformémonos (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women (10 September 2015)

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)

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Chiapas: nine municipalities declare their lands free of mining and dams

December 26, 2015

Lectura del pronunciamiento. Foto: @DesInformémonos

Public reading of the declaration
Photo: @DesInformémonos

Nine municipalities of the Sierra Madre and the Soconusco in Chiapas state have ratified the declaration that their lands have been freed of mining operations and dams. Using the III Declaration of Tapachula for Lands Freed of Dams and Mining in the Sierra Madre and Llanura Costera of Chiapas, some 40 indigenous and campesino ejidos, communities, and social organizations reaffirmed their commitment (adopted in 2013) to the defense of their territories against plundering as carried out by transnational corporations. The municipalities of Tuzantan, Huehuetan, Motozintla, Tapachula, Escuintla, Acacoyagua, Chicomuselo, and Comalapa denounced the collusion of municipal and state governments with the firms to obtain permits for the exploitation of lands and rivers. They also rejected the models of development, water management, and energy policy that have been imposed in Mexico by structural reforms, particularly the energy reform.

“In light of the opposition against extractive projects on our lands, we propose to organize and link ourselves with other struggles that seek to defend their rights and the natural resources of water and land.” In this way, the representatives of the municipalities affirmed that they have ties with other movements, especially in Jalisco, Nayarit, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Veracruz. These are alliances with other struggles over the right to decide what happens on their lands, in favor of living well and strengthening oneself amidst the repression meted out toward defenders of the Earth.

It bears recalling that on 30 November the Union of Campesinos and Fisherfolk of the Sierra and Coast of Chiapas also declared their municipalities free of dams and mining operations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaran libre de minería y represas a nueve municipios de la Sierra , Costa y Soconusco (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

TERCERA DECLARACIÓN DE TAPACHULA, POR TERRITORIOS LIBRES DE REPRESAS Y MINERÍA EN SIERRA MADRE del SUR Y LLANURA COSTERA DE CHIAPAS (Luna Sexta, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

40 ejidos de Chiapas se declaran libres de minería e hidroeléctricas (DesInformémonos, 11 de diciembre de 2015)

Chiapas: Movilización 30 de Noviembre por la defensa de la tierra y el territorio (Otros Mundos, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Mining reactivation is denounced in the state (3 March 2015)

Chiapas: popular rejection of dams and mining projects in the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huixtla, and Huehuetán region (December 17, 2014)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: Third Forum for the Defense and Care of Mother Earth in Chicomuselo (December 6, 2014)


National: XI Caravan of Mothers of Central American Migrants seeking out their sons in Mexico

December 26, 2015

@ Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano

@ Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano

On 30 November 39 mothers of disappeared Central Americans migrants began their XI caravan through Mexico. Using slogans like “We are missing everyone” and “A mother never tires of looking,” these women from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua left from the “72” migrant home in Tenosique, Tabasco, for Villahermosa. Subsequently they were received in Palenque, from where they continued to Veracruz and Puebla before arriving to Mexico City. From there they continued on to Oaxaca, concluding their caravan on Saturday 18 December in Hidalgo, Chiapas. Dressed with shirts that identify the caravan and showing photos of their lost relatives, they demanded “Not another disappearance!” and held expositions in public plazas, visiting different migrant homes, prisons, and hospitals, among other sites. Accompanied by human-rights defenders and civil national and international organizations, they followed migratory routes, performed ceremonies on railways, and consulted officials from the three levels of government to request their assistance in the search. All of this they expressed with the hope of finding their sons. According to the coordinator of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement and of the caravan itself, Martha Sánchez Soler, this caravan is “something special” because it is the first time that they have submitted denunciations before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) against the Mexican State for forcible disappearance. For her, the phenomenon is that “migrants arrive in Mexico, disappear, and the authorities make no investigations. It’s a perfect crime.” Another participant in the caravan demanded that the Mexican government not discriminate or stigmatize migrants, for this is a demand that they have made “each year we have visited Mexico. We seek our sons and we are gladdened whenever one of us does find her loved one.” During the last 10 years of caravans, there have been more than 200 reunions between mothers and sons. In the caravan of this year a mother has found her sound in Tabasco. It is because of such experiences that the women continue to search with hope.

It bears mentioning that Mexico is considered one of the countries in which the question of migration is especially complicated. It has high internal migration and besides that, it is crossed by migrants emanating from Central America en route to the U.S. Although there are no official statistics, the United Nations International Organization for Migration said that “every year some 150,000 people cross the southern border of Mexico illegally.” A 2011 report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) indicates that there at least 20,000 kidnappings of Central American migrants in Mexico every half-year.

These data strengthen the women from the caravan to continue with their search. For the priest Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, founder of the migrant home “Brothers on the Path” in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, “this struggle is the work of women who for 11 years have been seeking out their children. Some of them have not known about their fate for the past 20 years, and still they have not tired of looking for them. It is a great hope that this caravan represents.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Entregar vivos a sus hijos, exigen madres centroamericanas al gobierno mexicano (La Jornada, 14 de diciembre de 2015)

Mujeres centroamericanas que buscan a sus hijos visitan penales del Istmo (La Jornada, 13 de diciembre de 2015)

Madres de migrantes centroamericanos inician búsqueda de desaparecidos (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Inicia la XI Caravana de Madres Migrantes Centroamericanas (El Economista, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA – INICIA LA XI CARAVANA DE MADRES CENTROAMERICANAS #NosHacenFaltaTodos (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Columna: La dolorosa travesia de la caravana de madres centroamericanas (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

Mexico: Caravan of Central American mothers seeking out their children(2 November 2012)

Civil Observation Mission ends in Tenosique; migrants and rights-defenders in grave danger; caravan of Central American mothers searching for disappeared relatives arrives in Tenosique (14 November 2011)


National: Entry into law of bill on the rights of children and adolescents

December 29, 2014

(@elconstituyente.com)

On 3 December, President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) signed into law the new bill on the rights of minors that was shortly thereafter published in the Official Diary of the Federation (DOF).  Peña Nieto affirmed that it would represent “a legal instrument for progress to create the appropriate conditions for the comprehensive development of minors.”

In a press-bulletin, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Mexico stressed “the creation at the highest level of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, of the Federal Prosecutorial Office for Protection, and of the National System for Information on Infancy, as well as the obligation of assigning an adequate budget to observe the implementation of the law, among other things.”

UNICEF considered the consolidation of a legal mark that would provide greater protection to the 40 million children and adolescents who live in Mexico a great opportunity.  Nonetheless, it stressed the following challenges faced by minors in the country:

“• Slightly more than half of children and adolescents in Mexico (21 million) lived in poverty in 2012; of these, 5 million suffered extreme poverty.

• There are still 6.1 million children between 3 and 17 years of age who do not attend school, despite the fact that attendance in basic and middle-school education has increased.  Child mortality (defined as applying to those under 5 years of age, per 1,000 children born) is still high in states like Guerrero (19.4), Chiapas (19.5), Puebla (19.7), and Oaxaca (20), despite the fact that the national rate has declined considerably (from 41 in 1990 to 16 in 2012).

• Six of each 10 children and adolescents have directly experienced some form of violence in their homes or schools.

• In 2013 15,561 unaccompanied children and adolescents were deported from the United States to Mexico.  These migrants have been exposed to all types of dangers and human-rights violations.

• 2.5 million children and adolescents work, despite efforts in recent years to reduce the rate of child labor.”

UNICEF stresses that “This law will be transcendental for the future and present of children in the country, and for this reason for development in Mexico with regard to social and economic questions, as well as matters related to justice, such that the next step will consist in assuring the adequate implementation of the law and guaranteeing that new mechanisms and institutions stipulated by this law will have the means to operate in an efficient manner.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El presidente Peña promulga la nueva ley sobre derechos de los menores(CNN México, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Promulga EPN Ley de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes, fundamental para progreso y paz social (Radio Fórmula, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Promulga Peña la ley de niños y adolescentes (El Universal, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

Más de 40 millones de niños podrán contar con un mejor marco legal(Boletín de prensa, UNICEF, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents (1 October 2014)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


Chiapas: regression in law on “legitimate use of force”

August 4, 2014

congreso

On 30 July, the Permanent Commission of the Chiapas state Congress welcomed the entry into law of the bill proposed by state governor Manuel Velasco Coello to overhaul the Code on the Legitimate Use of Force, otherwise known as the Chiapas Bullet Law or the Garrote Law.  This was proposed and approved by the Congress on 15 May before being published in the Official Periodical on 4 June.  Criticisms of said law include that it would allow police to dismantle protests when they consider these to represent threats to state security.  It should also be mentioned that the Article 19 organization intervened with a nullification measure before the federal judiciary, using the claim that the law was unconstitutional.

Manuel Velasco Coello took the decision in favor of the bill after the Puebla state governor, Rafael Moreno Valle, decided to retire his “bullet law” following the death of a youth due to a police shooting on 9 July.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gobernador de Chiapas da marcha atrás a “ley garrote” que criminalizaba las protestas (Proceso, 30 de julio de 2014)

Reculan Ley Bala chiapaneca, dos meses y medio después de haberse aprobado (Chiapas Paralelo, 30 de julio de 2014)

Fracasó #LeyBala en Puebla; atrás #LeyGarrote en Chiapas (Sopitas, 31 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: State congress approves initiative on “legitimate use of force” (18 May 2014)

National: Creation of the Front for Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (26 April 2014)


National: Social organizations carry out “Disjointed National Mobilization” to demand release of political prisoners

July 14, 2014

movilizacion8julio

Photo (@EDUCA)

On 8 July, members of 38 social organizations organized a “Disjointed National Mobilization” involving roadblocks and protests in Mexico City, Yucatán, Chiapas, Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, Morelos, and Chihuahua. The mobilization was organized to demand the release of Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Enedina Rosas Vélez, and Abraham Cordero Calderón, who have been imprisoned in Puebla state since April of this year for their opposition to the Comprehensive Morelos Project (PIM).

PIM, which is overseen by the Federal Electricity Commission, seeks to build two geothermal plants as well as an aqueduct and a gas pipeline to supply these plants; the additional infrastructure would cross the states of Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala.  The construction works are being conceded to transnational firms, both Spanish and Italian.

Also during the mobilization, organizations demanded the release of Marco Antonio Suastegui, spokesperson for the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to the La Parota Dam (CECOP), who was detained in the state of Nayarit on 17 June.  The member organizations note in a communique that “we cannot allow the bad governments to continue imprisoning members of our people so that the conquistadores of today who own the large transnational corporations have all the ability to continue looting us of our land, polluting our nature, threatening our life, destroying our culture, and violating our rights.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado Mobilización Dislocada Nacional 8 de julio 2014 (Alianza Única del Valle, 26 junio 2014)

Exigen liberación de activistas y cancelación de megaproyectos (EDUCA, 8 de julio de 2014)

Protestas en 8 estados por el Proyecto Integral Morelos (La Jornada, 8 de julio de 2014)

Campesinos de Ixtapa anuncian movilización (Reporte Ciudadano, 7 de julio de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: 13 días de ayuno y oración de Alejandro Díaz Santis para pedir por su liberación (8 de julio de 2014)

Guerrero: Organizaciones exigen la inmediata liberación del vocero del CECOP, Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz (27 de junio de 2014)

Guerrero: Operativo policial detiene a opositor de la presa de La Parota(17 de junio de 2014)


Chiapas/National: NGO condemns the approval of laws that criminalize social protest

June 9, 2014
"Protesting is a right" (@revoluciontrespuntocero)

“Protesting is a right” (@revoluciontrespuntocero)

On May 19, the Network All Rights for All (Red TDT), which consists of 74 civil society organizations from 20 states of Mexico, condemned the adoption of laws that criminalize the right to protest in Chiapas and Puebla. This statement was published after the adoption of the “Code of legitimate use of public force” in Chiapas on May 15 and that of a similar law in Puebla the following week. The Network recalled that social protest is a legitimate mechanism for enforcing rights, so that the state has an obligation to protect, respect, and guarantee its exercise. It stressed “the ambiguity in the use of concepts such as public peace, public order, rational use of force, and violent demonstrations, among others, since it gives way to discretionary interpretations from the authorities.

On May 21, national and international civil organizations and alternative media issued a statement in which they referred to the code that was approved in Chiapas indicating “that social protest arises when impunity prevails, or when no channels to resolve disagreements exist, or when these channels have been exhausted, are inoperative or are ignored by federal, state or municipal institutions, or when the violation of human rights is of great magnitude affecting a large number of the population, such as with the so called structural reforms. With the Code that was approved, the government of Chiapas seems to consider the protests already to have been completed crime or in course; the demonstrators are considered as criminal suspects and their organization as an enemy which aims at destabilizing social peace. The approved Code doesn’t take into account the context of social and political conflicts; instead, it brings the protests to the judicial field. Social unrest is read from the perspective of the criminal code, and it is dealt with it as if it were a criminal behavior.”

The bulletin concludes reaffirming that “Protesting is also an instrument against impunity and oblivion; it strengthens the collective memory of the people and represents a political counterweight to the exercise of unbridled State power. Protesting is a right;to suppress it is a crime.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alerta Red TDT por leyes que criminalizan la protesta en Chiapas y Puebla (Proceso, 20 de mayo de 2014)

Pronunciamiento conjunto: “Protestar es un derecho, reprimir es un delito” (OSC, 21 de mayo de 2014)

El gobierno de Chiapas delinque al criminalizar la protesta social: organizaciones y medios (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de mayo de 2014)

For more information of SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: State congress approves initiative on “legitimate use of force” (May 18, 2014)