Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission Should Immediately Ensure Precautionary Measures for Defenders of Life in Colima

In the last few days, a request for precautionary measures was presented to the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico (CNDH by its initials in Spanish) to protect the physical integrity of human rights defenders from the organization Bios Iguana, the Indigenous Council for Territorial Defence in Zacualpan, as well as other community members of Zacualpan who have been living through an alarming and worsening situation of persecution, threats, displacement, verbal, psychological and physical aggression, and slander on the part of other residents and municipal and state politicians.

The signatories of this letter demand immediate action from Mr. Raúl Plasciencia Villanueva, President of the CNDH to grant the requested precautionary measures. Concurrently, this message is being copied to the State Governer of Colima and the politicians implicated in these accusations.

 

Attn:
Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
President of the National Human Rights Commission

Around the world, nations, citizens and Indigenous peoples are involved in a historic struggle to defend nature, territory, land, life with dignity, and against discrimation and in favour of free and full participation. These include cultures that are struggling against colonialization, as well as resistance to the imposition of cultures, exploitation of labour and knowledge, as well as the efforts of states to appropriate and rid us of – in the most insolent manner – the natural commons that are in our territories and around the world, without undertaking the most basic steps to consult with civil society or, as is taking place in indigenous communities, to eliminate any possibility of processes related to free, prior and informed consent.

Politicians are wrapped up in ignoring and trying to delegitimate public, peaceful demonstrations of all sorts by hundreds of groups that day after day are taking to the streets, the courts, and the media with the objective of making their struggles visible and to bring about respect and the defence of collective human rights.

As a result, while omission, impunity, impertinance and criminalization reigns as the means of “addressing problems”, without a doubt confrontations will continue to occur between groups in resistence and in defence of human rights against those who make pillage a way of governing and who develop policy to justify the protection of those who violate human rights, rather than those who respect them and defend them. In this way, those who govern prefer to avoid dealing in the mildest manner with a company that harms and exterminates life, while they are predisposed bring down the “full force of the law” against those groups, communities and individuals who fight against the violation of their rights.

In this context, once again, we would like to respectfully draw your attention, asking for your immediate and energetic attention to urgently respond to the request for precautionary measures that were requested months ago from the CNDH and that have yet to be provided. In this regard, members of Bios-Iguana A.C., the Indigenous Council for Territorial Defence in Zacualpan, and other community members of Zacualpan have been living through an alarming and worsening situation of persecution, threats, displacement, verbal, psychological and physical aggression, and slander from other residents and municipal and state politicians, who are trying to enable the entry at all costs of a mining company onto Zacualpan’s lands. This is a terrible and complete act of omission that also puts at serious risk the population’s health, as well as risks irreparable environmental damages. Neither does this take into consideration the serious risk for the population of the capital of Colima given the potential risk of contamination of their water supply, given that water from Zacualpan flows toward the city of Colima.

We are aware that you are fully abreast of the details of this case because your personnel have made reference to it. However, it is vital that you arrive at a resolution in order to ensure the physical integrity of the above-mentioned defenders who are in grave risk given that the local and state government – ignoring the decision of the agrarian tribunal – pressure for and instigate the denial of rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The situation in Zacualpan requires immediate attention from the CNDH because it is the group responsible to protect all of those citizens whose daily actions value, respect and recognize rights by way of their actions, underscoring the labour of the entity that you preside over.

The below-signed groups and individuals urge immediate action, Mr. Plascencia, to protect the integrity of the members of Bios-Iguana A.C., the Indigenous Council for Territorial Defence in Zacualpan, and other community members of Zacualpan. It is urgent that the CNDH immediately put in place the precautionary measures that have been requested from your organization.

Similarly, we have already issued communiques in which we have urged local and municipal authorities in Zacualpan, as well as authorities and state agencies of Colima and the central government who are involved in the case of Zacualpan to stop their harrassment, persecution and smear campaigns against those who are opposed to mining and in favour of life. We have urged them to review the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because we cannot allow authorities and elected representatives to slander us in the media, to demonstrate such tremendous ignorance about human rights and little capacity to govern with respect for the human rights that this country has agreed to respect through signing multiple national and international treaties.

We await your response to this situation in the respectful, but equally urgent manner, that we are making this request.

Sincerely,

Read complete document of precautionary measureseer (in spanish)
Read Press Release (in spanish)

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