Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas
April 2, 2013
Bulletin No. 9
The 13 displaced EZLN sympathizers from the community of Banavil remain in a precarious and inhuman situation
The Office of Indigenous Justice obstructs and denies actions for justice to restore the rights of the internally displaced people
According to information documented by this Human Rights Centre, the men, women and children displaced from the community of Banavil, supporters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), from the municipality of Tenejapa, are in a precarious health situation due to their forced displacement, in addition to the constant threats to their freedom as a result of the dispossession of their lands, the disappearance of Alonso López Luna, and the unsolved murder of Pedro Méndez López. In response, the state government, through the Office of Indigenous Justice, has unreasonably delayed the actions for justice, thus systematically violating their human rights.
On December 4, 2011, the 13 people from Banavil had to leave their homes following attacks by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Currently the displaced are in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where their conditions are inhumane and precarious, living in a habitation made of wood and cardboard, with a tin roof, 3 metres square, with an earth floor. Given the lack of hygiene or enough food to support human life, the women and girls are sick, unable to rebuild their lives, without the means to maintain their livelihood, in addition to the lack of basic services such as education and health.
Concerning the disappearance of Alonso López Luna, the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, headed by Cristóbal Hernández López and the man who is in charge of the case, the Public Prosecutor Cesario Crúz Mendóza, have obstructed investigations into the events of December 4th and have refused to execute the 11 arrest warrants against the aggressors including the public servants from Tenejapa, Pedro Méndez López y Manuel Méndez López, identified as the perpetrators.
According to witnesses, the attackers from the PRI have recently stolen five and a half acres owned by the displaced, one part of the land has been kept by the aggressors and the other part of the land was sold, new actions which worsen the situation of the EZLN sympathizers.
Frayba has made various public and private interventions on several occasions to ask the Government of Chiapas to meet the requests of the internally displaced persons from Banavil. However to date there has been no response; the state is therefore not meeting its obligation to guarantee and protect the human rights of indigenous peoples in Chiapas, and it has violated international conventions signed and ratified by the Mexican government, such as Article 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, Article 14 of ILO Convention No. 169, Article 10 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the application of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in relation, among others, to Article 1 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States.
Therefore we demand:
- An end to all forms of threats and harassment towards the displaced persons from Banavil ejido.
- The execution of the 11 arrest warrants against the aggressors.
- That a serious, prompt and speedy investigation be conducted into the whereabouts of Alonso López Luna.
- A guarantee of the right to the land and the right to return, along with guarantees of the personal integrity and life of the displaced persons from Banavil.
- That the Government of Chiapas, as part of the Mexican state, guarantee and protect the human and indigenous rights of the 13 aggrieved people.
Since 2009 there has been harassment by the cacique (chief) group of the PRI towards families of EZLN sympathizers, due to their opposition to the arbitrary actions of these same caciques, such as: dispossession of land, illegal logging, collection of taxes and arbitrary contributions, raids, beatings, and denial of the right to education, among others, which have been denounced by the victims to the appropriate government agencies, who have failed to respond.
According to documentary information, on December 4, 2011, in Banavil, Tenejapa, a group of members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) attacked four families who are supporters of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) with firearms. The attacks resulted in: the death of Pedro Méndez López, the disappearance of Alonso López Luna, the forced displacement of four families accused of being Zapatista sympathizers, the arrest of Lorenzo López Girón, who was wounded by gunfire and charged with aggravated assault, the arbitrary arrest of Francisco Sántiz López, EZLN support base (BAEZLN), who was elsewhere at the time, and injury to six others.
Lorenzo López Girón and Francisco Sántiz López have now been released, and so far there have been no results from the investigation into the death of Pedro Méndez López, the disappearance of Alonso López Luna or the displacement of the four families of Banavil ejido.