SIPAZ Activities (From mid-May to mid-August 2010)30/07/2010
INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND ACCOMPANIMENT
- In September and October, we visited several communities in the zone below Tila to interview different actors of the region: leaders of different political groups, governmental offices, church-members, as well as campesino and social organizations. We also held interviews in Yajalón, Chilón, Bachajón, and Palenque.
- At the end of September, we met with several civil organizations in Comitán to discuss the prevailing situation in the Frontier Jungle zone.
- Between August and November, we visited all of the Zapatista caracoles at least once.
- In September, we attended a Meeting of the Organization of Relatives of Prisoners of Ocosingo held in the same city.
- In October, we visited professor Alberto Patishtan, member of la Voz del Amate and adherent to the Other Campaign, who is being held in the San Cristóbal de Las Casas prison.
- From 16 to 18 August, we participated in the observation-mission “Water is Life; Let us Defend its Existence” that was organized by the Flor y Canto A.C. Center for Indigenous Rights. The mission took us to several indigenous communities in the central valleys of Oaxaca; it examined the problem of water in the region as well as the local organizational processes that have sought to reverse such.
- At the beginning of October, we visited Oaxaca for a week, during which time we spoke with civil and social organizations both in Oaxaca de Juárez and the Tehuantepec Isthmus. We attended the replica of the Third Global Meeting of the Movement of those Affected by Dams that was held in Temacapulín in the state of Jalisco also in October, as well as the Meeting of the National Network of Civil Resistance against High-Electricity Prices south-southeastern region.
- From 8 to 13 October, we attended the Second Indigenous Social Forum (FSI) held in the community of La Ciénaga, municipality of Malinaltepec in the mountainous zone of Guerrero. From 13 to 16 October, we were present at the National Meeting for Justice and Security of the Peoples in San Luis Acatlán, which was organized by the Regional Coordination of Communal Authorities-Communal Police (CRAC-PC), in observation of their fifteenth anniversary. During this trip, we also met with members of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the Workshop for Communal Development (TADECO), and Radio Ñomdaa.
- From 30 August to 2 September, with the participation of part of the SIPAZ’s International Board of Directors that found itself in the country for our annual meeting, we carried out a number of political meetings in Mexico City. We met with those in charge of political affairs in the embassies of the United States, Germany, France, Belgium (which currently holds the EU presidency), Portugal, and with the representation of the European Union in Mexico; with the Secretary for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights a part of the Secretary of Governance; with several members of the General Directory for Human Rights and Democracy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; as well as with several members of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico. The general subjects of concern as expressed in these interviews had to do with the general human-rights situation in Mexico, the status of human-rights defenders (including that of international observers), impunity and the justice system, and conflicts regarding land and territory.
- In September, we met with Pedro Raúl López Hernández, Special Prosecutor for the Protection of Non-Governmental Organizations to discuss the same questions.
- On 1 October, we were present in the space of civil and social organizations with the Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Teachers and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul.
- In October, we had an interview with the official responsible for the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) who will participate in the “Peace and Reconciliation” project developed by the UN in Chiapas.
- On 18 October, in observation of the close of the Third International Action for the Global Women’s March, we attended the discussion-group in which testimonies and materials were shared regarding the situation of women within contexts of political violence and militarization in such countries as Mexico, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- On 30 October, we attended as observers the meeting of the State Network the Voice of Our Heart in resistance to high-electricity prices, held in Teopisca.
WORK WITH RELIGIOUS ACTORS
- In September, we participated in an ecumenical space of prayer and reflection carried out by the Ecumenical Group for the Analysis of Reality (GEACR), of which SIPAZ is a part. The priority in this year is the analysis of conflicts with religious overtones.
- In October, we participated in a workshop on “spirituality and human rights” carried out by Pax Christi International.
- In September, we held a workshop with the team of the Commission of Support for Unity and Reconciliation..
- We participated in bi-monthly meetings of the Peace Network, a space for action and reflection comprised of 11 organizations that seek to support processes of peace and reconciliation in Chiapas. In October, the first report of the “Civil-Observation Mission of Human Rights and Social Conflict,” was publicly presented which was carried out in four municipalities of the Border Zone of Chiapas (Comitán, Trinitaria, Comalapa, and Chicomuselo).
- From 19 to 21 August, we attended the fifteenth Meeting of Women, organized by the Coordination of Campesina and Indigenous Women of Mexico’s Southeast. The event, attended by 250 women from Yucatán, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco, and the Area of Women from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese, focused on the following theme: “In spite of poverty and injustice, women continue to construct a dignified life with hope.”
- At the close of October, we participated in the Assembly of the Diocene Coordination of Women (CODIMUJ) in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
- We received the visit of delegations, students, and journalists interested in learning about the situation lived in Chiapas and SIPAZ’s work.
- In September, we attended a meeting with América del Valle, from the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land in Atenco.
- We attended presentations on books and reports regarding relevant questions for our work: for example, Silvia Marcos’ book Crossing borders: Indigenous Women and Feminisms from below and to the left and the pamphlet “Are you familiar with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?” presented by Amnesty International in September.
- We continued our process of investigation on the question of “Tying together the work of gender and peace,” which has brought us to carry out interviews with several women’s groups and organizations in Chiapas and Guerrero.