MEXICO: Indigenous Leaders repudiate "double talk" of Mexican President Peña Nieto at UN High Level Plenary Meeting in NY
Rosa Rojas / La Jornada
The discourse of the Mexican government before the so-called World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) organized by the United Nations in New York "is a fork-tongue discourse" because President Enrique Peña Nieto went on to say that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected in Mexico when "what happens in reality is that they are violated daily by concessions to extractive industries and wind energy projects and now the 'reforms' in the energy grid being implemented without free, prior and informed consent while simultaneously the Indigenous Peoples are as criminalized, repressed and imprisoned" when they defend their lands and territory.
In agreement on the above were Martha Nestor and Guadalupe Martinez Sanchez, of the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Central America and Mexico (AMICAM); Felicitas Martínez, the Regional Coordinator of the Community Police of the Costa Chica and Mountains of Guerrero (CRAC-PC); Bettina Cruz, Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Defense of Land and Territory (APIITDTT) and Marusia López Cruz, Regional Director of JASS (Associates for Justice) Mesoamerica, expressed at a press conference after the so-called WCIP.
All of the above - except Cruz - attended the conference in New York and although in their expositions valued some advances registered in the declaration emitted from the WCIP, they stressed the need for dismantle the "dynamic of simulation" that produces subscription to documents such as the Final Outcome Document while at the international level "the systematic violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples has intensified."
They criticized there was not enough representation of Indigenous Peoples in the international event but instead there was "attendance by high level functionaries of the governments." Also, that in the final Declaration of the WCIP, the aspects regarding militarization as an issue to be addressed in the declaration, were eliminated due to the opposition of some governments (such as Russia) - whereas militarization is a reality that occurs in many indigenous territories across the world, including Mexico.
Lopez emphasized the "forked-tongue" discourse of Pena Nieto in terms of respect for human rights when "at the national level the Mexican government continues to allow or is directly involved in" violations such as the 57 cases of disappearances and the seven assassinations of students of the Normal schools in Guerrero.
Martinez reported that her own fellow indigenous companions emphasized that the central focus of the declaration of the WCIP must point to the defense of the lands and territories of the Indigenous Peoples and that the condemnation against violence towards Indigenous Women and the defense of the right to sexual and reproductive health "was not as important."
Néstor Sánchez and Martínez said that the Indigenous women had to organize their own way to the UN meeting, financing their travel and lodging in New York and that the CDI (National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples) never answered their requests for support.
Felicitas, for her part, emphasized that in Mexico there is ongoing harassment and persecution of indigenous leaders as evidenced by the imprisonment of several of her companions from the Community Police and Arturo Campos, coordinator of the CRAC, the Yaqui leader Mario Luna, the opposition to La Parota José Antonio Own Suástegui and Bettina Cruz.
This last reported imprisonment is now subject to a judicial process, with bail, while being accused of the crimes of "illegal deprivation of freedom" and "consumption of the national wealth" - crimes for which the sentience is between 5 and 10 years of prison. The case awaits the judgment of Sixth District Judge Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, to issue the sentence that will define the legal situation.
Just this Monday was delivered to the said Judge of the Sixth District an Amicus Curiae brief (Friend of the Court) signed by more than two hundred of Human Rights NGO's wherein the court is requested to review some legal considerations that argue to "the absence of necessary elements to estimate culpability for the crime and the penal responsibility of the defendant." as well as considerations for the frame of the "liberty of freedom of expression" as well as lack of determinants of criminal liability of the accused "and the context in which the acts should be framed in terms of the Right to Freedom of Expression". The brief calls for the absolution of the accusations against the human rights defender Cruz Velázquez.