The False Face of Justice. Three Years from the Assassination of Community Defender, Simón Pedro Pérez López

Photo: Frayba

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
July 5, 2024
Bulletin No. 15

Today marks three years since the life of the Mayan Tsotsil human rights defender Simón Pedro Pérez López was taken from him in the municipal market of Simojovel, Chiapas. Last March 31 marked the one year anniversary of the conviction of the perpetrator of the crime; this sentence is insufficient to guarantee the truth and full reparation, however, the State is closing the path to a complete justice.

Despite the fact that Simón’s family, the civil society organization Las Abejas de Acteal, and those accompanying us demanded that his murder be investigated as a reprisal for his work in defense of human rights, the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Chiapas was negligent in this regard and only dedicated itself to proving the responsibility of the perpetrator. With this, the truth was distanced, as neither the motive nor the intellectual authors were investigated.

Days after the murder of Simón Pedro, in this community of Nuevo Israelita, devices and detonators were found that endangered all the people of the community. In order to deactivate them, elements of the Mexican Army and the National Guard had to go to the homes of inhabitants linked to organized crime; the investigation was left in the hands of the Attorney General’s Office without any progress to date.

Simón Pedro was a community servant in different spheres, a catechist, social activist and defender of human rights and Mother Earth. This is how we remember him, as a builder of life.

We maintain that the cause of his assassination was his work for peace and his commitment to non-violence, a spirit that characterizes the civil society organization Las Abejas de Acteal to which he belonged, as well as his work denouncing the injustices and human rights violations that the communities lived and continue to live.

Attacks against human rights defenders not only harm their families, but also their communities and society in general. The aggressions and impunity incite further aggressions and send an intimidating message to those who fight for a dignified life.

We encourage families, communities and peoples to continue organizing to defend their collective rights, their lands and territories, as well as to denounce the human rights violations currently suffered by peoples and communities who find themselves in the midst of a context of acute violence and territorial control by criminal groups.

We demand that the Mexican State acknowledge that Simón Pedro was murdered for his work as a human rights defender and that the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office open new lines of investigation to find the intellectual authors. We demand that impunity does not become a form of tolerance that feeds violence.

Original text published by Frayba on July 5th, 2024.
Translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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