Oaxaca: New threats against members of Indigenous Women for Conservation, Investigation, and Management of Natural Resources (CIARENA)

February 8, 2015


In an Urgent Action published on 27 January 2015, Amnesty International calls on State authorities to protect the security of Silvia Pérez Yescas, a human-rights defender for the indigenous people of the community of Matías Romero, Oaxaca, given that she has received new threats, despite having security protocols in place.

The UA details that on 13 January, Silvia Pérez discovered that several members of her organization, Indigenous Women for Conservation, Investigation, and Management of Natural Resources (CIARENA), had been threatened.  A group of people who said they represented a cacique from the zone told them that they should “[abandon] the stupidities because you can even be thrown in jail for being accomplices of Silvia, and anyway she will be fucked over for getting involved in this problem of land distribution.”  Furthermore, they added that “there are people waiting for when she will show her face.”

For more information from SIPAZ (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente en línea México: Defensores de indígenas reciben nuevas amenazas (AI, 27 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Bounty placed on head of female rights-defender for 100,000 pesos (2 September 2014)

Oaxaca: Armed men threaten human-rights defender (29 January 2013)

Guerrero: Victims from the Mountain region carry out “Hunger Pilgrimage” due to lack of governmental support

February 13, 2014

Movilización de damnificados de la Montaña de Guerrero (@CENCOS)

Mobilization of victims from the Mountain region Guerrero (@CENCOS)

On 4 February, more than a thousand indigenous persons from 13 municipalities of the Mountain region of Guerrero state carried out a march in Tlapa de Comomfort, as organized by the Council of Victimized Communities of the Mountain of Guerrero; the action was named the “Hunger Pilgrimage.”  Protestors demanded that the state and federal governments provide them resources given that thousands of people still go without any support after the tropical storms Ingrid and Manuel which struck the region last September.  They noted furthermore that at least 20 communities still must be resettled.  Victims also blockaded the Tlapa-Marquelia and Tlapa-Chilpancingo highways to demand the distribution of domestic goods while residents of the Costa Grande region of the state blockaded the federal highway between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo to demand aid.

In an Urgent Action, the Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (TDT) called on President Enrique Peña Nieto and Rosario Robles Berlanga, head of the Ministry for Social Development (Sedesol), to return to dialogue with the Council of Victimized Communities of the Mountain of Guerrero “so that measures be taken to avert the food crisis foreseen for March and April.”  The federal government calculates that it will provide 30 billion pesos for public works, according to the president’s office.

Robles Berlanga claimed to be calm amidst the protests being carried out by victims, noting that those who did not meet the requirements for aid did not receive it.  For his part, Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero clarified that the distribution of goods has now ended, such that it is illegitimate for some persons to invoke some political program which has never before been seen in the state.

For more information (in Spanish):

Más de dos mil indígenas de Guerrero participan en ‘Peregrinación del hambre’ (La Jornada, 4 de febrero de 2014)

Alertan sobre “crisis alimentaria” en la Montaña de Guerrero (Proceso, 4 de febrero de 2014)

Damnificados en Guerrero amenazan con bloqueos (El Universal, 4 de febrero de 2014)

Robles, tranquila ante protestas de damnificados (El Universal, 4 de febrero de 2014)

AU Red TdT “Delicada situación en la región de la montaña en Guerrero”(Red TdT, 4 de febrero de 2014)

Declaratoria de los integrantes del Consejo de Comunidades afectadas de la región Montaña del estado de Guerrero (4 de febrero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Victims of storms migrate to survive (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: The situation continues to be dramatic for storm victims in Guerrero (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)

Chiapas: those displaced from the Puebla ejido return to their community to harvest coffee

January 22, 2014



On 17 January, 17 families representing 98 persons from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, who had been displaced for more than 4 months returned to their community of origin to harvest their coffee plants.  They were accompanied by Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar, Secretary General for Governance, and national and international observers.

These families fled from the Puebla ejido due to the increase in number of death-threats and aggressions resulting from a conflict over possession of land on which a Catholic church was being built.  In contrast to the failed attempt at return made in August 2013, the displaced were received in Puebla with live music provided by the ejidal commissioner, Agustín Cruz Gómez, and an Evangelical group, both of whom had previously been indicated as being the principal aggressors in the violent acts of the previous months.  White roses were given to officials as a sign of peace.

Eduardo Ramirez called on the displaced to judge whether they would remain definitively, promising his support if they did so: “We understand that you go to cut your coffee and that you will evaluate whether to stay or not in your ejido; we will be attentive to your decision.  The state executive sent me, and there are national human rights groups, in addition to the presence of non-governmental organizations that are recording everything, so that you know that for us it is important than the Puebla ejido, Chenalhó municipality, be at peace or on the way to peace.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) noted in an Urgent Action published on the occasion of the provisional return that “the 10-day stay of the displaced persons who will go harvest their coffee as a means of survival constitutes a civil and peaceful act that demands principally that the state authorities immediately guarantee the necessary conditions for permanent return, in addition to the restitution of the individual and collective rights of which they had been arbitrarily deprived.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Familias desplazadas del ejido Puebla retornan para el corte de café” (CDHFBC, 17 de enero de 2014)

Blog de la Misión de Observación: http://caravanapuebla.wordpress.com/

Los 98 desplazados regresan al ejido Puebla (Cuarto Poder, 18 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Those displaced from the Puebla Colony announce return for coffee harvest (15 January 2014)

Chiapas: Solidarity requested for those displaced from the Puebla Colony (16 September 2013)

Chiapas: After attempting to return, the displaced of the Puebla Colony transfer themselves to Acteal (13 September 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in violence in Puebla Colony, Chenalho (4 August 2013)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society, “the government is using two weapons in its strategy, lead bullets and sugar bullets” (25 June 2013)

Urgent Action in the case of Alberto Cerezo Contreras, human-rights defender

April 17, 2010

On 15 April, the organizations Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (Serapaz), the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, the Fray Francisco de Vitor Human-Rights Center, the Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), The Inter-Ecclesiastical Commision for Justice and Peace (Colombia), the Associazione Centro di Accoglienza e di Promozione Culturale E. Balducci (Udine, Italy), and Protection International (Belgium) published an Urgent Action that has to do with the harassment, vigilance, and stalking that Alejandro Cerezo Contreras, member of the Cerezo Committee-México and vice-president of Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defender AC, has recently experienced.

According to Contreras, on 13 April, at the close of the forum “Criminalization of social protest:  new challenges for human-rights defenders” that was held at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) in México City, he noticed that he was being filmed by a stranger from a distance of approximately 50 meters.  Later, Contreras and two colleagues of his from Peace-Brigades International (PBI) came to realize that they were being filmed once again by the same person from a distance of about 55 meters; this time, though, he was accompanied by another stranger.

Two days later, Contreras suffered new stalking-episodes on the part of one of the same persons who had been filming him on the 13th, among others.  Contreras says that he was followed by people on foot as well in a car, and that they attempted to take his picture.

The organizations that signed on to the Urgent Action made four demands:  that the Mexican government “immediately” take “the appropriate measures to guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity of Alejandro Cerezo Contreras, his family-members and friends, as well as that of members of the Cerezo Committee-México and Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defenders AC,” undertake “an immediate, exhaustive, and impartial investigation into the vigilance, stalking, and harrassment suffered [by Contreras], the findings of which are to be made public, and those responsible dealt with justly,” assure “the application of the demands of the Declaration on Human-Rights Defenders,” and “realize in its actions that which is called for by the pacts and international conventions ratified by México.”

The Urgent Action concludes by calling on “international human-rights organizations” to “express their concern regarding the gravity of the acts and pressure the Mexican government to attend to recent petitions.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgent Action, 15 April

CHIAPAS: Frayba Denounces Criminalization of Human Rights Work

September 3, 2009

Director del CDHFBC

In an “Urgent Call to Action” declared on August 28th, Human Right Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas (Frayba) denounced new cases of harassment toward their workers as well as the communities and organizations they work alongside.

The Urgent Call to Action makes reference to events that have occurred since June, including harassment against Frayba’s director, Diego Cadenas Gordillo, the center’s president, Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia (who is the bishop emeritus of San Cristobal de Las Casas) as well as other employees of the Center. The Urgent Call to Action also refers to the criminal complaint made against Frayba by Esdras Alonso Gonzalez for “attacks to communication lines, attacks against the peace and security of the people, biodiversity and breaking and entering.” The accusations are linked to follow-up activities carried out by Frayba in Mitziton.

According to the Urgent Call to Action, during a protest on August 10th and 11th to denounce the liberation of prisoners accused of the Acteal massacre, a person taking pictures and asking Frayba workers about the event’s organization turned out to be a member of the military. On August 17th, after a ceremony and press conference with the Mexican representative of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Frayba’s workers were followed and under surveillance by people in a Ford Fiesta with no license plate. The car slowed down along with the workers, proving that their goal was to closely follow the workers movements.

The final complaint was made regarding an event that is documented in detail in the text of the Urgent Call to Action. A person who claimed to be a member of the “Campesina Organization of Independent Workers” and supposedly sent by the General Secretary of the State of Chiapas, Noe Castañón, asked to speak to the director of Frayba to “establish direct contact and communication with you (Frayba) and Las Abejas.” According to Frayba the person stated, “the Governor has failed to carry out his campaign promises, has deceived people, and has been a disaster for the state government.” The person went on to say that’s why the Government Secretary “wants to talk to Don Samuel and Gonzalo Ituarte as well as the president of Las Abejas as soon as possible, so that they can ask for what they want” and for this, he asked for Frayba’s help to make contact. He also indicated that “Juan Sabines will no longer be Governor after presenting his government report, and it’s certain that Noe Castañón will become Governor” and that “he will immediately respond to everything Frayba demands.” When Frayba contacted Noe Castañón about his supposed representative, Castañón said “he hadn’t sent anyone and he was certain that this person was an impostor.”

Given this situation, Frayba reports “the accumulation of acts of harassment, surveillance, threats, defamation, slander and intimidation against its workers constitutes an attack against the personal and psychological integrity of the Frayba team. Besides being a violation of human rights, these acts impede and put at risk the development of our work in favor of the indigenous and non-indigenous people and communities of Chiapas.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: “En Chiapas se criminaliza la defensa de los Derechos Humanos”, CDHFBC (28/08/2009)

More information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: concern regarding threats faced by human rights defenders (june 2009)

Guerrero: Reports of military torture and harassment of three communities in the region of Cuyuca de Catalan

July 21, 2009


From the 9th to the 13th July a group of soldiers entered into three communities in Guerrero (Las Palancas, Puerto de las Ollas y El Jilguero) in the region of Coyuca de Catalán, in the area of Tierra Caliente. The soldiers fired gunshots into the air and at those who tried to flee into the mountains.

The aim of the military excursion was to detain members of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente (ERPI), in particular the so-called commander Ramiro, whose real name is Omar Guerrero Solís, who organized a press conference from hiding on the 31st May. In his declaration, the commandor Ramiro accused a local political boss of using a paramilitary group with the aim of intimidating agricultural workers from the area who opposed deforestation or the cultivation of drugs in the area.

Although on the 9th June, 60 soldiers entered into the communities, on the following day, even more arrived so as to provide reinforcements to those already there, bringing the grand total of soldiers up to around 500. During the five days, women and children of the area suffered harassment by the soldiers, and in some cases, torture. At last, the army withdrew on the 13th June, when a team of observers arrived, formed of Human Rights organizations, as well as various Civil Society organizations, such as the Human Rights Defense Commission of the state of Guerrero (Coddehum).

The reports submitted by the Civil Society organizations talk of the specific torture of two individuals, as well as of house raids and the use of knifes that were placed on three women’s throats to make them give information regarding the whereabouts of their husbands. In addition, members of the communities suffered robberies, threats and various attempts by the soldiers to falsify tests that would suggest links between community members with armed groups and drug-traffickers, through the sowing of poppy seeds, as well as arms and other military equipment.

For more information (spanish):

Chiapas: new Urgent Action regarding the eight indigenous tzeltales detained in El Amate

May 7, 2009

In an Urgent Action on May 4, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartlomé de las Casas (CDHFBC) denounced the legal situation of the eight indigenous tzeltales from the Ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón. The lack of due process in all of the cases has been well documented by the CDHFBC. A major concern for their future trial is the fact that all eight have signed confessions, however without knowing the content because of the lack of a translator. Although the law prohibits such declarations of guilt, they were accepted by the Public Prosecutor’s office.

The CDHFBC called attention to the fact that “the Judge in the case has until Friday, May 8 to indict them or free them”. They stated that the trial could form part of the repression that “the government of Juan José Sabines Guerrero has begun, initially by way of the Special Unit on Organized Crime (FECDO), against the members of the Other Campaign of San Sebastián Bachajón and the Zapatista support base of the region of Agua Azul and Agua Clara”.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Riesgo que el juez de la causa dicte auto de formal prisión ante de la detención arbitraria, de ocho indígenas tseltales de la región de Agua Azul, CDHFBC (4/5/2009)

Acción Urgente: Temor de ausencia de garantías judiciales/Alegaciones de malos tratos/Preocupación por malos tratos/Preocupación por seguridad e integridad personal, OMCT (6/5/2009)

En condiciones inhumanas, 8 tzeltales esperan sentencia en penal de Chiapas, La Jornada (5/5/2009)

Abogado de indígenas consignados en el penal El Amate denuncia ‘falta de ética’  en el caso, La Jornada (6/5/2009)


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