IACHR Orders Cautionary Measures in Favor of Indigenous Families of 12 Communities of Aldama

by Isaín Mandujano

Residents of Aldama and Chenalhó Photo: Facebook

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas.  — From Washington, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the Mexican government to implement precautionary measures in favor of the indigenous families of 12 communities of Aldama that live under fire from armed civilian groups operating in San Martha, Chenalhó.

This Tuesday, the IACHR released Resolution 35/2021 issued last Friday the 23rd within the international body of the Organization of American States (OAS), which demands that the government of Mexico put an end to the continuous harassment and attacks experienced by the indigenous Tzotzil civilian population of Aldama.

The precautionary measures are in favor of families living in 12 communities: Coco’, Tabac, Xuxch’en, San Pedro Cotzilnam, Chayomte, Juxtón, Tselejpotobtic, Yetón, Chivit, Sepelton, Yoctontik and the municipal seat of Aldama.

Since 2018, several deaths have been recorded in these communities, in addition to injured people, with permanent consequences due to gunfire received from armed civilian groups operating from the Santa Martha Sector, Chenalhó municipality, the neighboring municipality of Aldama.

In an official letter, the Commission considered that “prima facie” (on the face of it) the situation meets the requirements of seriousness, urgency and irreparability contained in Article 25 of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR.

The request filed by organizations such as the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center and the National Network of Civil Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT) indicated that the indigenous families in the communities of Aldama are “in a situation of risk due to aggressions, harassment and threats due to the presence of armed persons in the area, which has caused their displacement at various times, in the context of a territorial conflict in the area”.

In view of this, the IACHR valued the actions adopted by the State to address the alleged situation; “however, after monitoring the matter, it noted that the armed aggressions continued to occur, even despite the existence of a Non-Aggression Agreement; as well as the considerations of the National Human Rights Commission, which on several occasions urged the State to guarantee the rights of the inhabitants of the area”.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested that the government of Mexico  “adopt the necessary and culturally relevant security measures to protect the life and personal integrity of the beneficiary families; specifically to guarantee security within their communities, and during their displacements with a view toward preventing threats, harassment, intimidation or acts of armed violence by third parties.”

Likewise, it demanded that the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador “agree on the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives, and report on the actions taken to investigate the facts that gave rise to the adoption of the present precautionary measure and thus prevent their repetition”.

It explained that the granting of the precautionary measure and its adoption by the State does not constitute a prejudgment of a petition that may eventually be filed before the Inter-American System in applicable instruments regarding a possible violation of the rights protected.

This article was posted in Proceso on April 27th 2021. https://www.proceso.com.mx/nacional/estados/2021/4/27/cidh-ordena-medidas-cautelares-favor-de-familias-indigenas-de-12-comunidades-de-aldama-262845.html This English interpretation has been re-posted by Schools for Chiapas.