SIPAZ Activities (March – July 2007)31/08/2007
INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND ACCOMPANIMENT
Human rights defenders
- On August 14 and 15, we participated in a workshop on “Risk analysis and protective measures for human rights defenders”, organized by Project Counseling Service.
- In October, before, during and after the municipal elections, we were present in various communities and cities in the Northern Region of Chiapas. There, we conducted meetings with various actors in the area: leaders of different political groups, governmental organizations, members of the church, Zapatista support bases, as well as peasant farmer and grassroots organizations. We also traveled to Choles de Tumbalá, near Palenque, a Zapatista community displaced for a period of three months in 2006 as a result of a violent eviction.
- On September 29, we attended the opening of the autonomous public market “1st of January” in the municipal center of San Andrés Sakamch’en de los Pobres. Despite the threats against the autonomous council, which were received only a few days before the event, thousands of people from the region participated in the celebration.
- On August 8 we participated in the Forum Against Repression which was held in the community El Carrizal, in the municipality of Ocosingo, with the participation of representatives of the organizations from Chiapas, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, San Luís Potosí, Veracruz and Michoacán which form the National Front of the Fight for Socialism (Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo, FNLS).
- On September 6, we accompanied the relocation of the families from Nuevo San Manuel and Buen Samaritano (Montes Azules) who were evicted from their communities on August 18 this year. They were moved from La Trinitaria to Ocosingo.
- In October, we held meetings with various non-governmental, religious and grassroots organizations in Ocosingo, Chilón, Bachajón and Yajalón.
- We conducted visits to three of the five Caracoles.
- In October, we participated as observers in the First Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples of America, conducted in Yaqui territory in Vicam, Sonora, in the north of Mexico.
- In August, we conducted a 10-day visit to Oaxaca to coincide with the dates of the state’s Congressional elections. We met with various grassroots organizations, non-governmental organizations and government authorities (see the report in Spanish “Actualización: Un conflicto todavía abierto: la situación socio-política y las violaciones a derechos humanos en Oaxaca” on www.sipaz.org). We also visited David Venegas and Adán Mejía in the Ixcotel prison.
- We updated the Guerrero section of our website.
- We received visits, delegations (for example, from Chiapas Peace House Project and Unitierra Oaxaca), students and journalists. We gave these groups an introduction to the current political context of Chiapas and the work of Sipaz.
- In August, we attended a workshop on the Alliance for the Security and Prosperity in North America (Alianza para la Seguridad y la Prosperidad en América del Norte, ASPAN), jointly organized by the Center or Economic and Political Research for Community Action (Centro de Investigaciones Económicas y Políticas para la Acción Comunitaria, CIEPAC) and the Mexican Network for Action Against Free Trade (Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio, RMALC).
- In August, together with CIEPAC and the Network of Human Rights Defenders (Red de Defensores de Derechos Humanos) we launched the monthly space for reflection, analysis, debate, contributions and suggestions called Speaking Out Loud (En Voz Alta). See the Spanish-language blog).
PROMOTION OF PEACE
- In September, we participated in an ecumenical space for prayer and reflection, organized by the Ecumenical Group for Analysis of the Current Political Reality (Grupo Ecuménico de Análisis de la Coyuntura de la Realidad, GEACR), of which Sipaz forms part.
- We are currently facilitating workshops on transforming conflicts with the organization Economic and Social Development for Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI).
- In August we facilitaded a 5-day diploma course “Ministries for Peacebuilders in Contexts of Violence”, organized by the Mayan Intercultural Seminary in San Cristóbal de las Casas.
- SIPAZ participated in the monthly meetings of the Network for Peace (Red por la Paz), a space for action and reflection comprised of 16 organizations who seek to support peace and reconciliation processes in Chiapas.
- On August 16, together with the Ik Collective, SIPAZ called a meeting of organizations working with prisoners. The participants shared information, actions and analyzed the current issues.