“Fighting With the Heart of a Woman”, book published by SIPAZ for their 20th Anniversary © SIPAZ
FOCUS: “Fighting With the Heart of a Woman ” – The situation and participation of women in Chiapas (1995-2015)”
21/03/2016
2015
11/04/2016

SIPAZ ACTIVITIES (from mid-August to the end of December, 2015)

International presence and accompaniment

Chiapas

Northern Zone
  • In September, we attended the event organized in the Masojá Shucjá community, in the municipality of Tila, to remember the people murdered and disappeared between the years 1994 and 1999 in the North Chiapas zone.
  • In September, we were present at the press conference in which the cathecists and human rights promoters in Salto de Agua demanded the freedom of the Ch’ol, Salomón Vázquez Sánchez, who has been held prisoner for almost a year, accused of the crime of aggravated illegal detention of a member of the Federal Police.
Highlands
  • In September, we were present at the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre, in which 45 people were murdered in the municipality of Chenalhó in December of 1997.
  • In October, we attended the Forum “The Other Justice” (La Otra Justicia) along with over 200 people, which was held in Acteal in the municipality of Chenalhó. It was organized by the Civil Society Las Abejas de Acteal, the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Freedom (Xinich), and the People United in Defense of Electrical Energy (PUDEE).
  • From October 30 to November 3, we accompanied the provisional return of four displaced families from Banavil in the municipality of Tenejapa, during which they visited the graves of their relatives, including that of Antonia López Méndez, daughter of one of the families who died last February at the age of 11.
  • In December, we visited the Saint Martin de Porres Migrant Pastoral Service, a recently created initiative in San Cristobal de Las Casas for migrants in transit.
  • In December, we attended the press conference in which the displaced families of Banavil of the municipality of Tenejapa, again, raised their voices to condemn the four years of impunity of the violence that resulted in their displacement.
  • On December 21 and 22, we attended the commemoration of the 18th anniversary of the Massacre of Acteal, in which hundreds of people participated.
Border Zone
  • In September and December we interviewed members of civil and social organizations along with religious groups who work in the Border Zone in Comitán de Domínguez.
  • In November we attended the 11th anniversary of the community of Las Brisas in the municipality of Trinitaria.
Caracoles/EZLN
  • In the period covered by this report, we visited the five Zapatista Caracoles at least once.
Prisoners
  • We visited Roberto Paciencia, held in the prison of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, on two occasions in the period covered by this report.
  • In November, we were present at an event for the freedom of the prisoners Alejandro Díaz Sántiz (Chiapas) and Mumia Abu-Jamal (US journalist, ex-member of the Black Panther Party) in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The event was organized by the “We are not all present” Work Group (GTNET), with the participation of family members of those deprived of their freedom for the revindication of their rights in different prisons in Chiapas.
Women
  • We attended the Assembly of the Diocesan Coordination of Women (CODIMUJ) in November.
  • On November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Women’s Movement in Defense of Land, Territory, and for Women’s Right to Choose, the Movement in Defense of Life and Territory, and People of Faith of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas organized various activities in the state. SIPAZ accompanied those which took place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Events
  • In September, we attended the presentation of the documentery “Pasos Ciegos”, based on testimonies of Central American women migrants about their passage through Mexico, produced in collaboration with the Mesoamerican Network of Woman, Helath and Migration, Formation and Training AC (FOCA) y Ambulante Más allá.
  • We participated in the 11th Encounter of Peace Builders organized the Comission to Support Communal Unity and Reconciliation (CORECO) which took place in October in the community of Pomarrosa El Chorro in the municipality of Ocosingo with the participation of some hundreds of people.
  • In November we attended the public presentation of the annual report of The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC, better known as Frayba), titled “The Insurgence of Human Rights” (“La Insurgencia de los Derechos Humanos”.)
  • In November, we attended the assembly of People of Faith in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
  • In December, we were present as observers at the meeting/march in which over 15,000 people, the majority indigenous, along with representatives of seven states and countries of Central and South America participated in the Public Proclamation of the Citizens’ Popular Constituent (Proclama Pública del Constituyente Cuidadano-Popular), an initiative which seeks to refound the nation and arrive at a new social pact.
  • On December 18, we were present at the First Festival of Indigenous Child Migrants, which took place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, within the framework of International Migrant Day. Girls, boys, and other young people from Chiapas, Puebla, the Peninsula and Guatemala took part.

Oaxaca

  • In November, we had meetings with some co-partners in the city of Oaxaca: “Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño” Regional Centre for Human Rights; meeting with the Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights Gobixha, A.C. (CODIGO DH); attendance at the weekly seminar of socio-political analysis at the University of the Earth (UniTierra); Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA); Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, Oaxaco (Consortium Oaxaca). We attended the recording of the radio program “With all their letters…Let’s Have Dialogue for Equality” (“Con Todas sus Letras… Dialoguemos para la igualdad”), of Consortium Oaxaca, in the installations of the Oaxaca Corporation of Radio and Television (Corporación Oaxaqueña de Radio y Televisión – CORTV). Afterwards, we took part in the Regional Forum “Rivers and Mountains in Danger. Peoples and thier Right to Territory”, with the participation of 51 communities from the coastal region.

Guerrero

  • At the end of August, we were at the celebration of the XXI anniversary of the Mount Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights, which was held in the Tlapa de Comonfort and which was attended by some 3,000 people.
  • Related to the State of Guerrero, as observers we accompanied the march and events organized in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on September 26, one year since the forced disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School, Ayotzinapa. The following day, we were also in Mexico City to take part in a meeting with the relatives of the disappeared, members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH) along with solidarity organizations.

Public Relations

  • At the end of August, we met with members of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas and also in Mexico City. On the same dates, and also in Mexico City, we met with members of Mechanism for the Protection of Defenders and Journalists as well as the represenataion of the European Union in this country.
  • In September, we met with representatives of the United States Embassy in Tuxtla Guttierez, Chiapas.

Education for Peace

  • In September, we facilitated a space for analysis of reality during the Assembly of Cathecists and Ecclestical Posts in the community of Macedonia in the municipality of Ocosingo, in which over 120 people took part.

Articulation

  • We attended the bi-monthly meetings of Network for Peace, a space for action and reflection made up of ten organizations that seek to support processes of peace and reconciliation in Chiapas. In November, as observers we accompanied the dialogues which took place between representatives of the state and federal government in the case of the forced displacement of the community of Poblado Primero de Agosto in Las Margaritas.
  • We held a meeting with members of the Swedish International Peace Brigades and Movement for Peace (SweFOR), both of which are part of our coalition, in Mexico City in August.
  • In September, we attended the forum “Utopia today, spiritualities and the good life” (“Utopía hoy, espiritualidades y buen vivir”), held in Mexico City by Mensen met een Missie (MM) from Holland. Later we took part in a meeting with participants in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas.
  • In October, a member of SIPAZ attended a series of events in New York, USA, in the framework of the 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325 of the Security Council of the United Nations (UNSCR) on Women, Peace and Security. The program included a presentation of the results of a research project called “Voices from the Field: Obstacles to the Implementation of Resolution 1325”, in which we had previously participated on the invitation of the Global Association for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC, of which we are members), Cordaid and Women Peacemakers Program (WPP).
  • At the beginning of October, as part of GPPAC, we held a workshop facilitated by the Organizations Fundar and PODER (Project for Organization, Development, Education, and Research), called Judicial-Organizational Strategies and Tools for the Defense of Land, Territory, and Natural Resources. It had some 30 participants from civil and social organizations interested in the theme.
  • In December, in the framewrok of a project together with Pax Christi International and the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), we travelled to Paraguay to take part in a train-the-trainer workshop on Transformation of Conflicts caused by extractive companies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Members of organizations from Latin American countries also attended.

Information for action

  • We received visits from delegations, students, journalists and members of our coalition interested in getting to know or deepening their knowledge of the conjuncture of Chiapas and the work of SIPAZ. We coordinated the arrival of a group from Global Exchange (US) that visited Chiapas for a week in November.

Anniversary of SIPAZ

  • On November 27 and 28, the forum “20 Years Accompanying Lights of Hope” was held in San Cristobal de Las Casas to celebrate the XX anniversary of SIPAZ. More than 130 people, men and women from communities, organizations, human rights centers, academics, and activists, from Mexico and from other countries, attended the event. In this framewrok, we presented two fruits of the effort of systematization of the year: a book titled “Fighting With the Heart of a Woman – The situation and participation of women in Chiapas (1995-2015)”, along with a video documentary we made together with Koman Ilel: “That the heart not be broken – Non-violent struggles for justice and in defense of territory.”
  • This documentary was presented in December in Kinoki in an event organized for the 18th anniversary of the massacre at Acteal in Chenalhó.

Internal training

  • In October and December, members of the SIPAZ team took part in workshops for “Strengthening the Heart”, facilitate by CORECO in San Cristobal de Las Casas.