Lack of political will to address human rights violations in Chiapas is denounced

Women and children of Aldama in the Highlands of Chiapas. Photo: Desinformémonos

By Editorial Office of Desinformemonos

There is “a concerning lack of will and empathy on the part of the authorities” to address the violations and breaches of human and indigenous rights in the northern, highland and coastal regions of Chiapas, denounced the Civilian Observation Mission formed by advocate organizations in the state.

They explained that the principal violations of rights in the indigenous communities are forced displacement, dispossession of land, arbitrary detentions, torture, harassment, threats, criminalization of defenders, and the presence of paramilitary groups that attack the peoples in the three regions.

“We want to highlight the differentiated effect on women and, primarily, on children in all the communities we visited, who present serious psychosocial impacts and the lack of vital basics for the life and dignity of these populations,” the Mission added.

It added that the situation in the communities is aggravated by the lack of security conditions and access to justice, “due to the existence of paramilitary and shock groups that attack the communities with impunity and that imply a latent risk for them and for those who exercise their right to defend human rights.

“We are faced with a serious situation of violence in which the Mexican State must assume the responsibility that corresponds to it and stop with  the simulation and lack of attention to the communities and defenders who suffer violence in Chiapas,” the organizations stated.

The following is the communiqué:

Between the 7th and 10th of this month of December, a Civil Observation Mission composed of 14 organizations belonging to the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for All” (Red TDT) – made up of 86 organizations in 23 states of the Mexican Republic – and accompanied by three international organizations[1] visited communities in the Northern, Highlands and Coastal regions of Chiapas with the objective of documenting different human rights problems. During those days, we were able to witness critical situations of fundamental rights violations in the three regions, with a concerning lack of will and empathy on the part of the authorities.

The Civilian Observation Mission (MCO) had the opportunity to visit the communities of Chalchihuitán, Acteal, Aldama, Nuevo San Gregorio, Moisés Gandhi, Chilón and Tonalá, where we gathered testimonies from people affected by situations of forced displacement, land dispossession, arbitrary detention, torture, harassment, threats, and criminalization, among other aggressions. Apart from that, meetings were also held with authorities from the three levels of government to learn about the follow-up they are offering to the different problems and concrete cases.

The organizations of the TDT Network that participated in this Civil Observation Mission want to express our concern for the context of systematic and structural human rights violations that we have been able to document in the three regions, especially we want to highlight the differentiated effects on women and, primarily, on children in all the communities visited who present serious psychosocial impacts and the lack of vital basics for the life and dignity of these populations.

Equally alarming is the situation of insufficient food, the absence of health services and medicines – including for those who have been injured during the attacks against the communities – which, in addition to the situation of forced displacement, threatens and puts the lives of hundreds of people at risk. Such situations are aggravated by the lack of security conditions and access to justice, in the face of the presence of paramilitary and shock groups  that attack communities with impunity, and that imply a latent risk to the communities and to those who exercise their right to defend human rights. In this sense, we also highlight the death threats, direct aggressions and acts of criminalization against advocates and humanitarian aid workers, who carry out their work in a climate of generalized violence. 

In addition, the organizations of the TDT Network denounce the lack of will and empathy of the authorities that allows the continuation of a serious situation of human rights violations. The outrageous situation of structural violence that is allowed and even encouraged from different levels of government, with little or no willingness to address the conflict, through trivializing, discriminating and criminalizing communities. In addition to this, there is a clear problem with lack of access to justice that is also related to the ineffectiveness of the public security forces to stop the violence, and the lack of action by the State Prosecutor’s Office even when they have clear knowledge of those responsible for the armed attacks. 

We also call for the immediate release of Cristóbal Santis Jiménez, a politically imprisoned for his work denouncing the systematic attacks on the communities of Aldama.

Finally, we would like to point out that the Civilian Observation Mission met with government authorities at all three levels without being able to reach concrete agreements and follow-ups that would guarantee the dignity and lives of the people. Today, December 10, 2020, International Human Rights Day, we find ourselves in a serious situation of violence in which the Mexican State must assume its responsibility and cease the simulation and lack of attention for the communities and defenders who suffer violence in Chiapas.

National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations
“All Rights for All” (TDT Network- made up of 86 organizations in 23 states of the Mexican Republic)

With the accompaniment of Doctors of the World, International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), Swedish Movement for Reconciliation (SweFOR).

This article was originally published in Spanish by Desinformémonos on December 11, 2020. https://desinformemonos.org/denuncian-falta-de-voluntad-politica-para-atender-violaciones-a-derechos-humanos-en-chiapas/ This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas.