International accompaniment of the return of the displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chiapas, April 2014 © Frayba
ARTICLE: International accompaniment, a means of opening spaces for peace
21/05/2014
© Félix Márquez
ANALYSIS: Human rights in Mexico – “regression,” “simulation,” and “impunity,” argue civil organizations
05/09/2014

SIPAZ ACTIVITIES (From mid-February to mid-May 2014)

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND ACCOMPANIMENT

CHIAPAS

Northern Zone
  • At the beginning of April, we visited communities below Tila and in Palenque for a week, holding interviews with different actors. A former SIPAZ member accompanied us, presenting puppet shows in several locations on the question of reconciliation.
Highlands
Border Jungle
  • From 11 to 13 April, the report “Justice for San José del Progreso” was presented in San Cristóbal de las Casas and in the Chicomuselo municipality. It summarizes the work of the Civil Observation Mission that was carried out in Oaxaca in November 2012 following the request of the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Territory.
Caracoles/EZLN
  • During the time covered by this report, we visited each of the 5 Zapatista caracoles at least once.
Prisoners
  • At the end of February, we met with the newly released former prisoner Alberto Patishtán.
  • In April, we visited the San Cristóbal de Las Casas prison to see Alejandro Díaz Santis, a prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate, an organizational process comprised of adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle.
Women
  • In February and May, we participated in the Assembly of Diocene Coordination of Women (CODIMUJ).
  • On 8 March, we participated in events organized to observe International Women’s Day in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. This same day, we also accompanied the pilgrimage-march organized by the Las Abejas Civil Society in the Chenalhó municipality.
Events
  • On 1 March, we attended the first Regional forum of NGOs for the rights of children and adolescents in southeastern Mexico, as organized by Melel Xojobal A.C., REDIM (Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico), and REDIAS (Network for the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chiapas).
  • In March, we were present at the seminar “Corporative extractivism of Communal Goods in Chiapas” as organized by Other Worlds A.C.
  • From 17 to 19 March, we participated in the “International Forum on human rights: from memory to hope” that was held in observance of the anniversary of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights.
  • In April, we participated in the preparation and realization of the Second Meeting of organizations for international observation and accompaniment, held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

OAXACA

  • In March, we visited the state of Oaxaca for a week. In Oaxaca City, we met with civil organizations: the Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH), the Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño Regional Center for Human Rights (BARCA-DH), Witness for Peace, Peace Brigades International (PBI), Omar Esparza from the Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), Being Mixe, Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Gender Equity, and Services for an Alternative Education A.C. (EDUCA). We also met with the commissioner for human rights of the state government, Eréndira Cruzvillegas Fuentes, as well as with the first visiting general of the Defense Institute for Human Rights in Oaxaca. On 10 March, we attended the public presentation of the report “Justice for San José del Progreso.” On 14 March, in observance of the “International Day of Action against Dams and for Rivers, Water, and Life,” we attended as observers the activities prepared by the Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Verde River (COPUDEVER) in the Santiago Jamiltepec municipality to protest the construction of the Paso de la Reina dam.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

  • In February, we met with French senators in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. In March, we met with Danish parliamentarians.
  • In April, we held interviews in Mexico City with officials from the U.S. and Dutch embassies as well as with representatives from the Mechanism for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists.
  • In April we met with the Subsecretary for Juridical Affairs and the Subsecretary for Religious Affairs of the Chiapas state government.
  • In April, we also met with members of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH).

PEACE PROMOTION

WORK WITH RELIGIOUS ACTORS

  • In March and May, we attended the Assembly of the Believing People, an organizational process pertaining to the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese.

EDUCATION FOR PEACE

  • In April, we facilitated an intensive week of courses on the question of “restorative justice and peace” at the Mayan Intercultural Seminary. During one of the sessions, members of the Center for Indigenous Rights (CEDIAC) participated.
  • In March, we participated in a new session of the courses on Positive Transformation of Conflicts that SIPAZ organized jointly with CORECO and SERAPAZ, as held in the Huixtan municipality.

ARTICULATION

  • We attended the bimonthly meetings of the Peace Network, a space for action and reflection comprised of 10 organizations that seek to support processes of peace and reconciliation in Chiapas.
  • In March, we opened a space for training and exchange of experiences among members of the GPPAC (Global Alliance for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts) in Mexico City. We also participated in the assembly of its members.

INFORMATION

  • We received visits from delegations, students, journalists, and members of our coalition interested in learning more about the context in Chiapas and the work of SIPAZ.

INTERNAL TRAINING

  • In March, we participated in a workshop on the methodology of evaluation called “significant change” which was organized by Mensen met een missie.
  • In March, we also attended a workshop on reform and agrarian rights of women as organized by the Chiapas Center for Women’s Rights.