We Demand Justice for Mariano Abarca from Mexican and Chiapas Authorities

Miguel Angel Osorio Chong
Minister of the Interior;
Manuel Velasco Coello
Governor of the state of Chiapas;
Raciel López Salazar
General Attorney of the state of Chiapas;
Pierre Alarie
Ambassador of Canada to Mexico.

The assassination of community leader Mariano Abarca Roblero from Chiapas represents a grave violation of the rights to life, security, humane treatment, the freedom of association and to justice.

The Mexican state failed in its obligation to defend and protect the life of this highly regarded community leader who was murdered on November 27, 2009 in Chicomuselo, Chiapas for having spoken out about the negative impacts of the ‘Payback’ barite mine owned by Canadian mining company Blackfire Exploration located in the same municipality.

Before his murder, and throughout this struggle, Mariano Abarca was victim of a lengthy process of criminalization, intimidation, harassment, defamation and threats that included false accusations brought against him by the company that led him to spend days in jail.

Despite investigations having been opened for robbery and aggression against the Abarca family and then for the murder of Mariano, these have all stagnated as of today.

After several people being detained – all of them having worked in some capacity for Blackfire -, including one person having been sentenced in 2010, all are free today and the person who had been sentenced, absolved. New lines of investigation have not been pursued to identify the intellectual and material authors of this crime, which would bring some comfort to the family and to others who were part of the struggle with Mariano.

We demand that the Minister of Interior (SEGOB), the government of Chiapas and the Chiapas General Attorney resume and address in a serious manner the murder of this Mexican environment defender. An objective investigation is needed, which would fully clarify the facts and hold the material and intellectual authors responsible. The investigation should also examine the responsibility that Blackfire Exploration has in his assassination, as well as officials of the Chiapas state government who were implicated.

Attentively,

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