SIPAZ Activities (November 2006 – February 2007)30/03/2007
ANALYSIS: Chiapas – a reactivation of a state of social conflict31/10/2007
International Presence and Accompaniment
The Situation of Human Rights Defenders
- In June, we participated in a meeting with 15 European embassies in Mexico City that addressed the work of human rights activists and other issues related to human rights in Mexico.
- In March and the beginning of July, we interviewed different actors in the northern region of Chiapas from various communities and cities: displaced community members, leaders of different political groups, government offices, church members, Zapatista supporters, as well as, peasant farmer(campesino) and grassroots organizations. In July, we also had a chance to visit Choles de Tumbalà, a Zapatista community located near Palenque, and displaced for three months as a result of their violent removal last year.
- We visited in March the Zapatista Community Ecological Reserve in Huitepec near San Cristobal de Las Casas, located in the same area as the Protected Nature Reserve Huitepec-Los Alcanfores. The nature reserve was created by the state government after the Ecological Reserve was established. Community members of the area have denounced the state nature reserve since they were not consulted in the process of its creation.
- On April 7th, we accompanied the relocation of displaced community members belonging to the community organization Las Abejas in the municipality of Pantelhò. We also made a follow-up visit to the community in June due to concerns over gunshots that had been heard during the evenings.
- In July we interviewed various religious, grassroots, and non-governmental organizations in Ocosingo, Chilòn, Bachajòn, and Yajalòn.
- We were able to visit each of the 5 Caracoles at least once. On June 25th, we attended an event in San Cristòbal de Las Casas marking the tour of various Zapatista commanders in the northern states of Mexico as part of the second phase of “The Other Campaign.”
- July 21st to the 30th, we participated as observers in the Second Meeting of Zapatistas with the People of the World that took place in different Zapatista Caracoles.
- In April, we visited Oaxaca for a one-week period. During this time we took part in the Third International Forum on the Defense of Human Rights in Oaxaca and interviewed diverse grassroots and non-governmental organizations and government authorities (see the report “Still an Open Conflict: The socio-political situation and human rights violations in Oaxaca” -in spanish-).
- We participated on 5th and 6th in a civil observation mission (composed of 16 national and international organizations and networks) that attended a community assembly held in Cacahuatepec, concerning the project to construct a hydroelectric dam in La Parota.
- In June, we attended the Thirteenth Anniversary of the Center for Human Rights of Monataña Tlachinollan that coincided with the state forum “The Roads of Resistance.” The forum gave 400 persons and 16 grassroots organizations from 40 different communities the opportunity to share forms of resistance in the defense of land and offered a space where they could articulate their struggles. We also visited the municipalities of Ayutala and Xochistlahuaca (Costa Chica, a zone particularly affected by increased militarization).
- We received visits from delegations (including from SIPAZ coalition member, Global Exchange), students and journalists, orientating them on the situation in Chiapas and the work of SIPAZ.
- In June, we attended an event organized by SEREPAZ and the Swiss Program of Observation and the Promotion of Peace (PROPAZ) on “Militarization in Mexico and Latin America,” in which over 80 persons participated. The event was meant to foster analysis on the issue of militarization in the region.
- We also inaugurated the SIPAZ blog in both Spanish and English, where we post frequent and up to date information on the different activities we are involved with.
PROMOTION OF PEACE
EDUCATION FOR PEACE
- We participated in the month of March in an inter-faith event reflecting on the current situation in Chiapas. In May we also attended a weeklong event on Christian unity.
- We are currently facilitating workshops on transforming conflicts with the organization Economic and Social Development for Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI).
- We participated in monthly meetings with the Peace Network (Red por la Paz), a space for reflection and action, composed of 16 organizations that support peace processes and reconciliation in Chiapas.
- In March, we attended a training workshop on visiting detention centers organized by the network All Rights for Everyone (Todos los Derechos para Tod@s) held in Mexico City.
- We visited El Cerezo 5 (woman’s sections in San Cristòbal de Las Casas).
- In March, we attended the Third Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America (Aba Yala) that took place in Guatemala.
- In April we co-organized with the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas and CMC Holland the forum “Analysis and Strategies of Civil Society in the Face of Current Challenges in Chiapas”, in which community civil organizations and human rights promoters participated.
- We participated in the anniversary of SERPAJ, a member of our coalition, celebrated April 12th in Cuernavaca, Morelos.
- In June we held meetings with our counterparts, NGOs, networks and solidarity groups in Holland and France.