Chiapas: Las Abejas of Acteal denounce 6 years of release of paramilitaries

September 10, 2015

Integrantes de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas de Acteal y el Frayba @KomanIlelMembers of the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal and Frayba @KomanIlel

On 12 August in a press-conference, the Las Abejas Civil Society of Acteal denounced the construction of impunity through fear, on the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation’s (SCJN) release of the paramilitaries who killed 45 people and four unborn children in 1997 in the Acteal community, Chiapas. They denounced that, for them, “since this day the justice system in Mexico is rotten garbage. For 6 years it has been clear in our memory the ignominy toward the blood of our brothers and sisters massacred in Acteal.” They declare that they have decided to “construct another justice that is sane and human,” and they manifest that they are here “because the Other Justice is built with memory. We are here to denounce impunity.” They also denounce that the Special Prosecutorial office for Indigenous justice has not investigated those responsible for the murder of Manuel López Pérez, who was killed on 23 July with the complicity of local authorities from the municipality of Pantelhó, Chiapas. Beyond this, they distance themselves from the “Pacifist Council of Sowers of Peace” and clarify that this group does not belong to Las Abejas.

Nearly two months after the fact, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights identifies that “there are no significant advances in the investigation and there exists little interest on the part of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Indigenous Justice to identify the perpetrators of these acts.” They also denounce that the justice system in Mexico is “inefficiency, complicit, and profoundly corrupt, in light of the crimes against humanity committed in the country, as has occurred with the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the crimes in Tlatlaya, the murders perpetrated by organized crime and the Mexican State with its Army in Ostula, Michoacán, the femicides that go unpunished in Mexico, the displaced peoples, and the dozens who have been executed extrajudicially, as well as the disappeared who make our lands mourn in pain.”

For more information (in Spanish):

La Otra Justicia se construye con memoria: Abejas de Acteal (Chiapas Denuncia Publica, 12 de agosto de 2015)

Sin avances en la investigación por el asesinato de integrante de Las Abejas de Acteal (Boletìn de Frayba, 12 de Agosto de 2015)

[VIDEOS] Conferencia de prensa de “Las Abejas de Acteal” a 6 años de la excarcelación de paramilitares. (Koman Ilel, 12 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: A member of the Las Abejas Civil Society is murdered (2 July 2015)

Chiapas: Las Abejas announce that they will not vote in the mid-term elections (9 June 2015)

Chiapas: Civil Society Las Abejas denounce human rights violations in the country and show solidarity with various processes (24 April 2015)

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National/International: Army and security forces involved in extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances: US State Department

July 21, 2015

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The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on the human-rights situation in Mexico. It indicated that, in 2014, the Mexican Army and security forces were involved in forcible disappearances and murder, as in the cases of the 43 disappeared youth from Ayotzinapa and the 22 civilians killed in Tlatlaya. In this sense, the report notes that “significant problems related to human rights include the police and military due to their involvement in serious abuses, such as extrajudicial murders, torture, forcible disappearances, and physical abuse.” Furthermore, the report shared the conclusions come to by Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, who denounced that these crimes are the consequence of the various irregularities that exist within the Mexican judicial system. “Impunity and corruption continue to be serious problems, particularly at the state and local levels, in the armed forces, and the judiciary,” the report notes. With reference to organized crime, it mentions that “organized-crime groups are also responsible for numerous murders, frequently acting with impunity and in alliance with corrupt state, local, and federal security officials.”

With respect to the Tlatlaya case in Mexico State, which took place on 30 June 2014, the report reviewed the confrontation between civilians and soldiers in which “22 individuals were killed under suspicious circumstances, some of them after having surrendered.” With regard to the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, the report sustained the conclusions which the Federal Attorney General’s Office had come to, maintaining the charges against the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, and his wife, who were directly accused of responsibility for the disappearance of the students.

Beyond this, State highlighted other serious human-rights problems in Mexico, including the lamentable conditions in prisons and arbitrary arrests. In addition, the State report mentioned the death-threats and violence directed against human-rights defenders and journalists, abuse against migrants, domestic violence, human trafficking, abuse against people with disabilities, social and economic discrimination against the indigenous population, the exploitation of child labor, and attacks and threats against the gay community.

It should be mentioned that the conclusions of the report will serve as evidence for the U.S. Congress to consider when reviewing the amount of economic assistance to be granted next year to Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos en materia de Derechos Humanos 2014, versión en inglés: Mexico 2014 Human Rights Report

Ejército y fuerzas de seguridad de México, involucradas en asesinatos y desaparición de personas: EU (Proceso, 25 de junio de 2015)

Unilateral informe de EU sobre derechos humanos, responde Gobierno de México (Aristegui Noticias, 27 de junio de 2015)

Impunidad y corrupción son “problemas serios” en México, advierte EU(CNN México, 25 de junio de 2015)


National/International: Inter-American Court resolves that Mexican law on military tribunals remains inadequate

June 9, 2015

On 13 and 14 May, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) published two resolutions regarding the observance of four sentences the Court had handed down against the Mexican State (2009 and 2010), in cases related to abuses committed by Army soldiers (including forcible disappearance, torture, and sexual violence). The Court concludes that exist legislation on military tribunals continues without having standardized with international legal expectations.

The Court indicates that the limitations of existing law were demonstrated clearly by the Tlatlaya massacre in Mexico State: “In this case, if it is that the extrajudicial executions continue to be judged in civil courts, the cause will remain fragmented, as the Secretary for National Defense (SEDENA) has retained the military tribunal as appropriate for the judgment of certain crimes committed by soldiers, thus opening the possibility that the evidence be diverted, and that parallel cases may run, coming to different conclusions.” It determined for this reason that “military jurisdiction is not competent for the investigation, judgment, and punishment of those who violate human rights, particularly when either the perpetrator or victim is a soldier.”

For their part, civil legal organizations have requested that the debate on the Military Justice Code be opened during the next congressional session. They have stressed that “both the Committee against Forcible Disappearances and the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatments have recommended that Mexico adopt legal measures to exclude human rights violations committed by soldiers from being considered by military tribunals. Instead, these acts must be investigated and judged by civilian authorities.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Fuero militar sigue violando derechos humanos en México: Corte Interamericana (OSC, 18 de mayo de 2015)

Emplaza CoIDH a México cumplir sentencias sobre abusos militares(Proceso, 18 de mayo de 2015)

Insuficiente, la reforma en materia de fuero militar: CIDH (La Jornada, 18 de mayo de 2015)

Reforma al fuero militar en México no cumple la norma internacional: Corte Interamericana de DH (Animal Político, 20 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Senate approves reform to Military Justice Code (2 May 2014)


International/National: Northern Command suspends part of its military assistance to Mexico

May 16, 2015

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Declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the U.S. that have been published in The Intercept provide access to an October 2014 report from the U.S. military’s Northern Command (Northcom); the document reveals that due to the extrajudicial executions carried out by Batallion 102 in June 2014 in Tlatlaya, Mexico State, Washington suspended some aid that had been earmarked for the Mexican Army.  The same report also addresses the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal Rural School which took place in September 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero, in which various public officials were involved: “[this case raises] alarming questions about the generalized character of the cartel violence in the region and the level of complicity with the State.”

The Intercept article notes that, since 2008, the U.S. government has transferred $3 billion in security assistance to Mexico, with much of this having been channelled through the Mérida Initiative, an anti-drug strategy inspired by Plan Colombia.  To this support is added the sale of arms and other police and military equipment (Mexico being the U.S.’s principal Latin American trade partner), which reached $1.15 billion last year.

For more information (in Spanish):

Suspende EU apoyo a batallón del Ejército implicado en el caso Tlatlaya: “The Intercept” (Proceso, 10 de mayo de 2015)

‘‘Preguntas alarmantes’’ de Northcom sobre matanzas y desapariciones en México (La Jornada, 13 de mayo de 2015)

El Departamento de Estado de EU suspende asistencia al Batallón implicado en el caso Tlatlaya (Sin Embargo, 13 de mayo de 2015)


Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration; organizations express concern for disqualification of defenders from Guerrero; HRW considers Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa to be “State crimes”

November 13, 2014

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March in solidarity with Ayotzinapa in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 22 October (photo @SIPAZ)

At a press-conference on 7 November, Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reported that the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa were presumed to have been incinerated and their remains thrown into the Cocula river, in accordance with information provided by three members of the “United Warriors” drug cartel.  The remains that have been found will be sent to an Austrian university for a process that will take some time, for, given “their high grade of decomposition, it will be difficult to extract DNA for identification,” argued Murillo Karam.  “We do not accept” the PGR’s conclusions, as it “is attempting to close the case” of the 43 disappeared students, claimed a parent of one of the students, who insisted that “our sons are still alive.”  “Today they want to surprise us saying that they made ashes of our children, so that we could not recognize them,” observed another.  The parents claimed that the intention of this information was to “allow President Enrique Peña Nieto to go on tour and say that everything has been resolved.”  On 9 November, Peña Nieto began a trip to China and Asia, where he will participate in the meeting of the Forum for Asia-Pacific Cooperation and also attend the G-2o summit.

Beyond this, organizations that have followed the fate of the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists expressed their concern for the declarations and information that come out in recent days against members of the social organizations who work in Guerrero state.  Their concern was directed in particular against the accusation of the interim governor Rogelio Ortega Martínez, who called into question the work of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, and against the report of the Mexican intelligence report that was leaked by media, which accuses the technical secretary of the Guerrero Network of having ties with a guerrilla group.  In a document signed by dozens of human-rights organizations, they note that “the recent declarations by the governor […] are immensely worrying, since, amidst this human-rights crisis, he calls on the director of Tlachinollan to join the state government.  It should be stressed that both the José María Morelos Pavón Regional Center as well as Tlachinollan form a part of the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations, and are organizations that have been recognized for their dedication to the strengthening of social leaders that are so lacking in the region, as for their juridical defense in cases of serious human-rights violations.”

In a press-conference, José Miguel Vivanco, representative of Human Rights Watch (HRW), claimed the disappearance of the 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa as well as the murder of 22 persons in Tlatlaya, Mexico state, to have “dragged” the name of Peña Nieto and his government “through the mud” in the international arena.  He mentioned that the federal executive had wanted to show the world a “Mexico that is fictitious,” and that he withdrew from considering questions of human rights and security, holding them to be “toxic” for his international image.  The HRW representative stressed that both cases are “crimes of State” to which the judicial authorities have reacted tardily and inefficiently.  The extrajudicial execution of at least 12 people at Tlatlaya by Army units and the forcible disappearance of the 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa must be included within the “gravest” cases of violence “in the contemporary history of Mexico and Latin America in recent years.”  He added, however, that these are not isolated events, but rather form part of an atmosphere of impunity and corruption.

For more information (in Spanish):

“No aceptamos” la hipótesis del asesinato de los normalistas, sostienen padres de desaparecidos (Desinformémonos, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

La desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa pudo evitarse, dice el Frayba (La Jornada de Guerrero, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

Video: Los quemaron 15 horas, con leña, diesel, llantas, plástico.- PGR(Aristegui Noticias, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

Desaparición de normalistas deja “por los suelos” imagen del gobierno, a nivel internacional: HRW (Aristegui Noticias, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

Comienza Peña Nieto su gira de trabajo en China y Australia (Milenio, 9 de noviembre de 2014)

Inaceptable la postura del gobernador y la del gobierno federal, dicen defensores (La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Guerrero: municipal police of Iguala fire on students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. Six have died (11 October 2014)


National/International: civil organizations and Mexican State before the IACHR

November 12, 2014

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During the last week of October, at least 20 Mexican civil organizations testified at five audiences before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C., to denounce past cases of impunity as well as current human-rights violations and the criminalization of social protest in the country.

The first audience had been requested by the Mexican government to present the National Program on Human Rights.  At the doors of the hall where the audience was to be held, dozens of protestors were assembled, holding photos of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa.  They received the Mexican governmental delegation with the slogan, “Alive you took them; alive we want them back!”  Lía Limón García, subsecretary on Juridical Affairs and Human Rights from the Secretary of Governance (SEGOB), recognized that Mexico is experiencing a time that challenges the normative advances made by the country’s government in recent years, and she affirmed that “the Mexican State will not rest until we find the normalist students.”

The Mexican civil-society organizations denounced for their part that “the humanitarian crisis confronting the country due to testimonies and denunciations of the disappeared, murdered, displaced, tortured, and injured have been ignored, covered up, and reduced to mere statistics by the government.”  They indicated that “the government’s efforts are focused on demonstrating the ‘Mexican moment’ of supposed progress and welfare.”  They also accused the State of “being responsible for the perpetration and perpetuation of grave, generalized, and systematic human-rights violations.”

Cases of disappearances and execution of persons from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s were also discussed, with this period of time being stressed as featuring “the connection between impunity for crimes committed during the badly named Dirty War and what is now happening in Mexico.”

The executive secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Álvarez Icaza (Mexican), lamented that the forcible disappearances recur as practices in the country, and he affirmed that “the events of Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya, and Puebla are lamentable, but so is the fact that these types of crimes took place previously.  This is a worrying sign.”

Another audience addressed the restrictions on protest made by legislation and the human-rights violations associated with repression of protest-actions.  10 federal and local bills were discussed that would regulate and constrain mobilizations.

For more information (in Spanish):

El Estado mexicano presume avances en la CIDH, y ONG’s reviran: el país está en crisis (Sin Embargo, 4 de noviembre de 2014)

México solicita ayuda a la CIDH por Ayotzinapa (El Universal, 31 de octubre de 2014)

Plantea la CIDH dar asistencia técnica a México para buscar a los 43 desaparecidos (La Jornada, 31 de octubre de 2014)

No sólo es en Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya y Puebla, es en todo el país, advierte la CIDH (Sin Embargo, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Abuchean a delegación mexicana en la CIDH por caso Iguala: “Regrésalos EPN” (Sin Embargo, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Posicionamiento de organizaciones de la sociedad civil sobre las graves violaciones de derechos humanos y la falta de respuestas del Estado mexicano (OSC, 30 de octubre de 2014)

Informe completo “Derechos Humanos y Protesta Social en México” (Frente por la libertad de expresión y la protesta social, octubre de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Nacional: piden ONG a visita oficial de la CIDH a México ante la “crisis en derechos humanos” (14 de agosto de 2014)


Guerrero: Contradictory versions regarding findings from graves in Iguala three weeks after the forced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa – protests are radicalized

October 25, 2014

Protesta ante caso Ayotzinapa (@pocamadrenews.blogspot.com)

Protest for the Ayotzinapa case (@pocamadrenews.wordpress.com)

More than three weeks after the forcible disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, their whereabouts are still unknown.  6 mass-grave sites have been identified containing at least 28 cadavers.  According to Jesús Murillo Karam, head of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), the DNA evidence does not match that of the 43 students.  Argentine specialists who joined the work to identify the bodies that have been located have claimed that this conclusion cannot be definitively reached yet, and that an additional 15 days to 2 months would be required for them to present their conclusions.  For their part, relatives of the disappeared students and communal police from the Union of Peoples and Organizations of Guerrero State (UPOEG) have located four new grave-sites.

In the meanwhile, protests continue both in Guerrero, as in other parts of the Mexican Republic.  Teachers from the State Coordination of Educational Workers of Guerrero (CETEG) and comrades of the students occupied banks and radio stations in Chilpancingo.  One day prior, governmental offices burned in the same city.  The protests have been increasingly radicalized, leading state governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero to report that mayors of 16 of the 81 municipalities of the state decided to suspend activities in said municipalities on Friday 17 October so as to “avoid all types of confrontations,” making reference to the protests that were expected to demand the presentation of the disappeared students.

The Ayotzinapa case has also generated repudiation outside of Mexico.  On 12 October, the representative of the European Union (EU) condemned the violent acts in the Tlatlaya municipality, Mexico State (wherein 22 civilians died, 14 due to gunfire and 8 other due to executions carried out by 3 soldiers after they surrendered on 30 June), a well as the crimes committed against students in the Iguala municipality of Guerrero.

For more information (in Spanish):

18 ayuntamientos de Guerrero cierran ante protestas por el caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 16 de octubre de 2014)

 Y luego de 19 días, con 50 detenidos y 10 fosas, los 43 siguen desaparecidos (Sin embargo, 15 de octubre de 2014)

Halla la UPOEG cuatro fosas y una osamenta de mujer en el cerro Gordo, en Iguala (El Sur de Acapulco, 15 de octubre de 2014)

Miles de universitarios exigen justicia por caso Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 15 de octubre de 2014)

Equipo argentino refuta a la PGR: no identifica aún cuerpos de fosas de Iguala. (Proceso, 14 de octubre de 2014)

La Unión Europea expresa su preocupación por los casos Tlatlaya e Iguala (CNN México, 12 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: Multiple mobilizations and marches for the “Pain” and “Rage” of Ayotzinapa (12 October 2014)

Guerrero: municipal police of Iguala fire on students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. Six have died (11 October 2014)

Guerrero: Impunity continues in the Ayotzinapa case (17 May 2013)

Guerrero: Extrajudicial execution of students from the Rural Normal of Ayotzinapa (21 December 2011)