Protest against attacks on attacks on indigenous people of Aldama, Chiapas, México

Copenhagen, Denmark, the 21st of August 2020.

From Danish and international citizens and civil society.

We protest against the ongoing attacks on indigenous people of Aldama, Chiapas, México, and demand from the Mexican and Chiapaneca authorities comprehensive and immediate protection of the people under attack.

We are deeply worried that current escalating events in the Chiapas highlands may lead to serious violations of the lives and security of the residents who have already suffered a series of armed attacks and displacement.

The well-known and experienced human rights organization in Chiapas, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A.C. (FrayBa) documented on the 17th of August that up until that date, the communities of Aldama had been under recent siege 17 days with 56 armed attacks by a paramilitary group from the community of Santa Marha Chenalhó. A total of 12 communities from the Aldama area was considered at risk, and gunfire had been reported at 20 sites in the area. On the 17th of August, 30 families or at least 150 persons from the community of Yeton were displaced as they had fled to neighbouring communities or to the mountains.   

Additionally, on the 19th of August, Mexican newspaper La Jornada cited official sources that an indigenous man from the area died and another was injured from a bullet after armed attacks between residents and the neighboring Aldama municipality.

According to human rights organization FrayBa and Mexican human rights defenders, the attacks intensified the 14th of August 2020 and continues at the time of writing 21st of August.

On the 15th, the aggressions intensified and the residents of Aldama reported that the armed group from Santa Martha had crossed the lines to the community and fired shots and heavy detonations, including directly at families resulting in their need to displace themselves to another community. The residents reported that state police installed in the Tabak community did not intervene in this situation. FrayBa reports that the armed group continued attacks on the 16th against the communities of Yeton, Ch’ivit and Tselejpotobtik in Aldama municipality, and that once again, state police installed in Tabak did not act to stop the armed attacks. Later in the evening of 16th, attacks continued from at least 8 different sites, and went on during the night and following day the 17th. FrayBa reports on the 17th that shooting had not stopped despite their urgent calls on the state authorities.

We, the signing individuals and organizations, are alarmed about this fact that police present in the local area did not intervene between an armed and attacking paramilitary group and refuging civilians. We recall the precedents of the 1997 massacre of Acteal where police posts were manned, armed and present during both the conflicts leading up to the massacre – which are strikingly alike and not very far from the present ones in Aldama – and the inhuman massacre itself where 45 people were brutally murdered.

We are extremely worried because of the fact that this conflict is not new, and that there has been several attempts of peace negotiations and agreements, over disputed 60 hectares of land which a unitary Agrarian Court decision granted to Aldama in 2009. Lastly, in June 2019, the federal administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador promoted a non-aggression pact between Aldama and Santa Martha. However, the shootings began a few days later and in late July 2019 Filiberto Pérez Pérez, a young man from Tabak community (Aldama), was murdered by a sniper during his grandfather’s wake. A bullet struck him in the neck. Along the years and up until now, the Aldama community has experienced about 350 attacks from the paramilitary groups. 7 persons has been murdered and 16 persons injuried, according to newspaper La Jornada. For this reason, we fear that the armed attackers are capable and willing to continue the attacks, despite legal agreements already reached. The time has come for sanctions and disarmament of the responsible individuals.

Reports from FrayBa say that at least 26 of the armed attacks were carried out with high caliber weapons by the paramilitary group from Santa Martha, and that the violence creates an environment of terror and fear in the attacked communities. The organization points to the fact that the COVID-19 epidemic puts people even more at risk, the attacked persons who have fled to the mountains because of the attacks being primarily women, children and elderly people at risk.

For the same reason, we urge the Mexican and state authorities to protect and help the displaced residents, by protecting their lives, security, and communities against armed attacks and attempts of displacing and terrorizing the indigenous residents. Furthermore, to provide food (as this is a food emergency situation), shelter, health care, water, latrines, and other basic needs, and to take special considerations when it comes to the needs of children and the elderly.

We also urge authorities to investigate, sanction, disarm and dissolve the armed paramilitary groups in Chenalhó who have been directly responsible for the armed attacks, as documented by human rights organization FrayBa. This cannot wait. We urge authorities to take immediate and proper action, under Mexican law and international human rights regulations, and we urge Mexican and international civil society to remain vigilant and observe this case now and in the future.  

We encourage the Danish and international civil society to sign the call from FrayBa:

We are sending this protest letter to the following responsible Mexican authorities:

Lic. Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Presidente Constitucional de México Residencia Oficial de los Pinos. Casa Miguel Alemán. Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850 Ciudad de México. Fax: (+52) 55 5093 4901 Correo: amlo@presidencia.gob.mex Twitter: @lopezobrador_  

Lic. Olga Sánchez Cordero. Secretaria de Gobernación de México Bucareli 99, 1er. piso. Col. Juárez. Delegación Cuauhtémoc C.P. 06600 Ciudad de México. Fax: (+52) 55 5093 34 14; Correo: Twitter: @M_OlgaSCordero  

Lic. Rosario Piedra Ibarra. Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Edificio “Héctor Fix Zamudio”, Blvd. Adolfo López Mateos 1922, 6°piso. Col. Tlacopac San Ángel. Delegación Álvaro Obregón. C.P. 01040; Ciudad de México. Fax: (+52) 0155 36 68 07 67 Correo: /Twitter: @CNDH  

Lic. Rutilio Escandón Cadenas. Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009. Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México Fax: +52 961 61 88088 – + 52 961 6188056; Extensión 21120. 21122; Correo: Twitter: @JuntoscnRutilio  

Lic. Ismael Brito Mazariegos. Secretario General de Gobierno en Chiapas Palacio De Gobierno, 2o. Piso, Centro C.P. 29000 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Conmutador: (961) 61 8 74 60 Ext. 20003 

Lic. Juan José Zepeda Bermúdez. Presidente de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos Avenida 1 Sur Oriente S/N, Edificio Plaza, 3er y 4to piso, Barrio San Roque C.P. 29000 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Conmutador: (961) 602 89 80; 961-60289-81 Ext. 206; Lada sin costo 01800-55-282-42 Fax: (961) 60 2 57 84 Correo:  Teléfono: 01 (967) 67 465 94 Fax: 01 (967) 67 465 94 

Lic. Luis Manuel García Moreno. Secretario Ejecutivo del Consejo Estatal de Atención Integral al Desplazamiento Interno del estado de Chiapas. Carr. Emiliano Zapata Km. 1.9 , Terán C.P. 29050 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Teléfono: (961) 61 551 78, 615 47 12 correo:  

Lic. Juan José Zepeda Bermúdez. Presidente de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos Avenida 1 Sur Oriente S/N, Edificio Plaza, 3er y 4to piso, Barrio San Roque C.P. 29000 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Conmutador: (961) 602 89 80; 961-60289-81 Ext. 206; 01800-55-282-42 Fax: (961) 60 2 57 84 Correo: Teléfono: 01 (967) 67 465 94 Fax: 01 (967) 67 465 94

Gudrun Gadegaard Pedersen    Kontakt forfatteren af dette andragende

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