Altar at the Diocene Congress for Mother Earth, January 2014 © Diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas
ARTICLE: Pastoral Congress for Mother Earth
21/02/2014
Salil Shetty, director-general of Amnesty International in Mexico © CADHAC
ANALYSIS: Mexico – Legislative avalanche could restrict freedom of expression and right to protest
21/05/2014

SIPAZ ACTIVITIES (From mid-November 2013 to mid-February 2014)

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND ACCOMPANIMENT

CHIAPAS

Northern Zone
  • On 6 and 7 December, we attended the pre-audience of the People’s Permanent Tribunal (TPP) Mexico chapter, part of the focus on “Dirty War—violence, impunity, and lack of access to justice,” as held in Susuclumil, Tila municipality. Subsequently, we visited several communities in the zone below Tila to interview several different actors.
Highlands
  • On 22 November, we were present at the monthly commemoration of the Acteal massacre.
  • On 22 December, we attended the pilgrimage and were present at the celebration organized to observe the sixteenth anniversary of the Acteal massacre.
  • From 17 to 22 January, we participated in the national and international observational brigade accompanying those displaced from the Puebla Colony, Chenalhó municipality, when they were returning to their community to harvest coffee.
Border Region
  • At the end of November, we carried out a visit with several counterparts in the Comitán municipality to share analyses and reflections regarding the prevailing context in the region.

Center

  • On 16 December, we met with members of the OCEZ-CP (Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization-People’s House) together with other civil organizations to share with them information regarding the prevailing context in Venustiano Carranza.
Caracoles/EZLN
  • During the time covered by this report, we visited each of the 5 Zapatista caracoles (autonomous regions) at least once.
  • On 31 December and 1 January, we were present at the La Garrucha caracol during the event organized to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Zapatista insurrection.
  • In January, several team-members participated as students in the Zapatista Escuelita, both in La Garrucha and in CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Prisoners
  • On 30 and 31 November, we were present at the events organized to celebrate the arrival of Alberto Patishtán Gómez to Chiapas following his release, both in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, as in El Bosque, his home.
  • In February, we visited the San Cristóbal de Las Casas prison to meet with Alejandro Díaz Santis, a prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate, an organizational process that adheres to the Other Campaign.
Women
  • On 24 and 25 November, we participated in events organized to observe International Day against Violence against Women in Chiapas.
  • On 3 February, we attended the round-table onNeoliberalism and women, which formed part of the event “Let Us Unify the Seeds and Fruit of the Struggles of Women,” as organized by the Center of Investigation and Action for Latin American Women (CIAM).
Events
  • In February, we attended the forum “Structural Reforms: An Evaluation in terms of Human Rights,” as organized, among others, by the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights in Mexico City.

OAXACA

  • From 20 to 25 November, we visited the state of Oaxaca, where we met with several organizations in the capital city: the Gobixha Committee for Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights (Código DH), Witness for Peace, the Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño Regional Center for Human Rights (BARCA-DH), Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Gender Equity, Services for an Alternative Education A.C. (EDUCA), Peace Brigades International (PBI), and Unitierra. In Juchitán, we also met with members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus in Defense of Land and Territory (APIIDTT), the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People, and Radio Totopo. On 25 November, we were present at the event organized to commemorate the confrontation which took place between civil society and the pólice in 2006, as well as activities held to mark the International Day of Non-Violence against Women.

GUERRERO

  • In February, we presented a workshop for analysis of reality with members of the Malinaltepec parish in response to the invitation from the Center for Ecumenical Studies (CEE). We accompanied the Observation Mission A Light against Impunity on 9 and 10 February, which had the objective of making visible the human-rights defense processes as well as insecurity experienced in Guerrero. The observation mission was organized by the Solidarity Network Decade against Impunity, the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM), and the Front of Democratic Organizations of the State of Guerrero (FODEG). We also met with other counterparts in the state, including the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights and the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in the State of Guerrero (CODDEHUM).
PUBLIC RELATIONS
  • In January, we participated in a meeting with the German ambassador regarding the present situation of human rights in Mexico, a meeting that was also attended by representatives of the political and international cooperation foundations of the German State.
  • On 26 January, we attended the event at which the French ambassador to Mexico, Elisabeth Beton Delègue, awarded the 2013 Honorary Mention for Human Rights to the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights.
  • On 28 January, we were present at the teachers’ conference on the “Human Rights of Indigenous Women,” as organized by the State Commission on Human Rights (CEDH).
  • In February, we held interviews in Mexico City with members of the Dutch and Spanish embassies and with representatives from the Danish embassy in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
  • Also in February, we met with members of the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico and with members of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).

PEACE PROMOTION

WORK WITH RELIGIOUS ACTORS

  • In November, we attended the assembly of the Believing People, an organizational process which pertains to the San Cristóbal de Las Casas diocese.
  • On 25 November, we accompanied the pilgrimage organized in Ocosingo for the fiftieth anniversary of the Dominican mission in the Lacandona Jungle.
  • In January, we participated in the Inaugural Conference of the Indo-Afro-Latino Caribbean-American Network of Churches for Peace, as held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. We participated with a talk entitled “Characteristics and mechanisms behind structural violence on the southern border of Mexico.”
  • Between 22 and 24 January, we attended the Congress for Mother Earth, as organized by San Cristóbal diocese to observe the forty years since the 1974 Indigenous Congress and the third anniversary of the death of bishop Samuel Ruíz García. On 25 January, we accompanied the pilgrimage of the Believing People which ended with a mass in the Cathedral plaza.

PEACE EDUCATION

  • In November, we participated in a new session of courses for the Positive Transformation of Conflicts (TPC) which we organized jointly with CORECO and Serapaz, as held in Huixtan.
  • On 28 November, we participated in a space of analysis organized by the Believing People in Peña Chavarico, Estrella Region.
  • On 7 December, we facilitated a space for analysis with artisan women from the Highlands and Lacandona Jungle in response to the invitation from RICAA-Women of Maize in Resistance.

ARTICULATION

  • We attended the bimonthly meetings of the Peace Network, a space for action and reflection comprised of 10 organizations which seek to support peace and reconciliation processes in Chiapas.
  • At the beginning of December, we held a space for training and Exchange of experiences among members of the GPPAC (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict) in Mexico City. In parallel terms, an assembly of members was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas in January.
  • We participated in the fourth awarding of the Jtatic Samuel Jcanan Lum Recognition in January 2014. SIPAZ is part of the organizational team for this award.

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. Many journalists requested interviews in the days running up to the anniversary of the EZLN’s insurrection, including Al Jazeera, the German radio station ARD, Alba TV (Venezuela), El Mundo (Spain), and Volkskrant (Netherlands).

INTERNAL TRAINING

  • In February, we organized an internal workshop regarding informational security as well as a workshop at the Center for Women’s Rights Chiapas, as part of a popular campaign against violence against women and femicide in the state.