Armed attack on humanitarian aid brigade in Tabak, Aldama

Photo: Frayba
Armed paramilitary civilian group injures nun María Isabel Hernández Rea with bullet from high-caliber weapon.

 This morning, a humanitarian aid brigade from Cáritas San Cristóbal de Las Casas1 and the Mexican Trust for the Health of Indigenous Children (FISANIM)2, which was delivering food to displaced families in the community of Tabak, Aldama, Chiapas, Mexico, was attacked by an armed civilian paramilitary group from the Santa Martha Sector, Chenalhó.  As a result of this attack, María Isabel Hernández Rea, a nun, was wounded on her right leg at approximately 12:39 pm.

 The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), received this urgent and grave information from the Permanent Commission of the 115 Communal and Displaced Persons of Aldama: “of armed attacks on the community of Tabak, from 8:34 a.m. today, November 18, 2020, from the points of Tojtik, Telesecundaria and Telemax, in Chenalhó.”

 According to Fisanim’s testimony:
“This is a criminal action, we had not been able to get close enough to bring them so much needed food, the people are in a food emergency situation because bullets are fired daily in this community and throughout Aldama. We must join forces in our indignation so that this situation stops now”.

Listen to full testimony in the voice of Ofelia Medina, director of FISANIM:

Link here to audio in Spanish. https://archive.org/details/201118-ofelia-medina-fisanim

María Isabel, 52 years old, belongs to the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Queen of the Holy Rosary and collaborates in the Parish of San Andrés Larráinzar, member of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Her pastoral work with the communities of indigenous peoples has been characterized by her social and prophetic labor, building bridges of dialogue and peace, but also denouncing the injustices that the Tsotsiles families living in Aldama are forced to endure.

 It should be noted that the state government of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas and the federal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador have been negligent in the face of constant calls to cease armed aggressions against communities of the Tsotsil Mayan People of Aldama3, who are surviving the siege that is increasing the human rights crisis, especially the food and health crises.

Frayba condemns this attack and holds the Mexican State responsible for these acts for not guaranteeing the security and integrity of the pastoral agents, civil society organizations and journalists who enter, document, and make visible the violence and accompany the communities in forced displacement.

We demand that the Mexican State disarm and dismantle the paramilitary armed civilian groups in Chenalhó, which are directly responsible for the armed attacks that have caused forced displacement in the Altos de Chiapas region and that put the lives of providers of humanitarian aid at risk.

This notice was posted in Spanish by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights on November 18th, 2020. https://frayba.org.mx/agresion-armada-a-brigada-de-ayuda-humanitaria-en-tabak-aldama/ This English interpretation has been published by Schools for Chiapas.

Footnotes

  1. Civil association founded in June 1994 on the initiative of Bishop Don Samuel Ruiz García, as a response to the emergency in Chiapas due to the outbreak of the armed conflict. http://www.caritasancristobal.org/
  2. Fisanim has been working since 1990 for the right to health and food in communities of indigenous peoples in forced displacement in Mexico. https://www.fisanim.org/
  3. Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center. The Mexican State persists in its failure to protect life in Los Altos de Chiapas Urgent Action No. 14. October 11, 2020. y Armed attacks on communities of the Tsotsil Mayan People of Aldama intensify. Urgent Action No. 17. November 13, 2020