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On June 19th, 2016, prolonged tensions due to the Mexican government’s educational reform came to a head in Asunción Nochixtlán, a Mixtec municipality an hour’s drive from Oaxaca City, where at least 8 people were killed and 226 civilian injured during protests. During this incident, the  government of Oaxaca—a southern territory known for Indigenous and popular resistance—once again proved that it does not hesitate to use excessive force to impose its will.

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30 months after the Nochixtlán massacre, justice has yet to be served. On the contrary, the state has repeatedly denied authorities’ responsibility, instead placing the blame for confrontations on local residents and demonstrators. “Neither the victims nor their families have had full access to justice or health care,” explains the local NGO Codigo DH; “no actions have been taken to comprehensively repair the damages they suffered.”

In November, as the UN conducted a comprehensive review of human rights in Mexico, Oaxacan civil society organizations again turned their gaze to Nochixtlán as an emblematic case of state violence and impunity, which they say worsened during the last presidential and gubernatorial terms. In the context of the UN Human Rights Commissions’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Oaxaca NGOs including EDUCA A.C. published the shadow report, Under attack. Human Rights in Oaxaca 2013-2018, which cites the Nochixtlán massacre in analyses of worsening attacks against human rights defenders, violence as a key strategy for the imposition of structural reforms, and the criminalization of social protest in Oaxaca.

On December 10th, communities and civil society organizations gathered in the central plaza of Oaxaca City to present the conclusions and final report of the first Peoples’ Trial against the State and Mining Companies in Oaxaca. This historic tribunal—in which representatives of 52 Indigenous and farming communities judged corporate and government actors for polluting their land and violating their rights—has given rise to historic conclusions: a grassroots network that is militating for the prohibition of mining in one of Mexico’s most culturally and biologically diverse states.

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This December 10th—International Human Rights Day—also found Mexico bracing itself for a cold front in the early weeks of its first leftist presidency, secured through campaign promises to uproot corruption, reduce inequality and cultivate faith in democratic institutions. Yet questions abound with regard to the extractive industries policy of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose proposal involves levying taxes on mining companies in order to fund development projects in affected communities. For the Mexican Network of Peoples Affected by Mining (REMA), such “remedies” “form part of the systematic lie employed by companies to obfuscate their looting,” and thus point to a “continuation of the same permissive, promotional policies.”

Civil society organization “EDUCA – Una Educación Alternativa A.C.” strongly advises the UN to include the following suggestions in their final recommendations release at the end of the UPR evaluation on Human Rights in Mexico.

These suggestions include and consider the current Human Rights situation in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, as it was documented and listed by various civil society organizations within Oaxaca.

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  1. Cancel the Educational Reform and perform a consultation process with various actors of educational institutions to establish an education which is aligned to stress the right of education of girls and boys and addresses cultural differences as well as social and economic inequalities in Mexico.
  2. Convict and punish those who are perpetrators of human rights violations that were reported by the Oaxaca Truth Commission. Design a mechanism to guarantee the right of truth and justice within the framework of transnational justice.
  3. Guarantee free exercise to defend human rights, including social protest.
  4. Evaluate national and state mechanisms responsible for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists to detect their effectiveness and the coordination between federal and state level.
  5. Thoroughly review the listed cases of arbitrary detention involving the relevant civilian groups to ensure proper criminal prosecution.Resumption of current legislation and the UPR's past recommendations on “arraigo” and preventive detention.
  6. Implement mechanisms endowed with trained personnel and budget at federal and state levels, related to the LGPIST (“General Law to Prevent, Investigate and Punish Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”).
  7. Evaluate public policy and state budget available for the investigation and punishment of torture.
  8. Establish a legal framework that guarantees media companies to comply with legal labor obligations, as minimum wages, social security and benefits of law.
  9. Harmonize the government´s legal framework with international human rights standards, in recognition of the right to self-determination, autonomy and territory of indigenous peoples and communities.
  10. Immediately approve the constitutional reform on the rights of the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples, as it was demanded in the initiative presented in 2014, at the Oaxaca State Congress.
  11. Generate a state information system that safeguards the rights of girls, boys and adolescents, that yields sustained figures and that allows the evaluation of public policies and social programs aimed at this sector.
  12. Promote a citizens´ observatory on the rights of children and adolescents in the state of Oaxaca, with the participation of civil society.
  13. Review the legal framework, public policy and budget to rise attention, sanction and eradicate feminicide violence.
  14. Guarantee the full exercise of women´s political rights in service to their communities and political participation in service and representative positions.
  15. Guarantee the right of legal abortion for all adolescents and adults who request it.


Download: Under attack. Human Rights in Oaxaca 2013-2018. Citizen report (PDF, 32 pp.)

In the following statement, the Human Rights Observation Mission in Veracruz denounces threats from Mexican police and immigration officials; “We have been treated like human traffickers” (Read the original statement in Spanish)

Córdoba, Veracruz. November 3, 2018, 20:00 hours.

Mexican federal police and immigration authorities threatened to initiate legal proceedings against Julián Verónica, priest of the Paraje Parish in the town Amatlán de los Reyes and member of the Veracruz Observation Mission, as well as the municipal president of Córdoba, Leticia López Landero, for supporting humanitarian assistance to the caravan of Central American migrants in their passage through the gulf state of Veracruz.

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Attempts to criminalize support of the migrants represents a drastic change in policy vis-à-vis the situation of Central Americans in transit to the United States, who until yesterday were granted attention and free passage by police in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz.

Despite public statements by Veracruz Governor Miguel Angel Yunes Linares promising humanitarian assistance to the migrants, members of the Human Rights Observation Mission in Veracruz—comprised of ecclesiastical and civil society organizations—say authorities treated them like human traffickers and inhibited their work, which had already been complicated by the dispersion of the caravan in a region that poses great risks for migrants and non-migrants alike.

Moreover, state and federal officials impeded the ability of local authorities to assist vulnerable migrants. Landero, the municipal president of Córdoba, had hired 10 buses to ensure the transit of women, children and entire families to Puebla following their long journey from southern Veracruz. However, these buses were later canceled when state police threatened to prevent their passage.

CAPÍTULO VIII VIOLENCIA FEMINICIDAAs the United Nations prepares to review Mexico’s human rights recordin November, civil societyorganizations in Oaxaca publish their own evaluation,from one of the states with the highest number of violations in the country. In the following series Educa, a contributor to the report, summarizes its main findings:

In Oaxaca, femicide—the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender—is constantly on the rise. From 2013 to 2017, 475 femicides were committed, 67% more than the cases documented when the UN last reviewed Mexico’s human rights record in 2013.

There is a lack of political will to carry out the UN recommendations for guaranteeing women’s rights.The impunity rate for these types of crimes is 99%, and the previous government left 8,500 unattended inquiries into crimes against women.Leadership of the Secretary of Oaxacan Women has changed three times from December 2016 to February 2018, which has prevented the development of public policiesthat meet women’s needs. Moreover, the Prosecutor specializing in crimes against women resigned after one year, citing a lack of trained staff, infrastructure and budget.

Femicide violence in Oaxaca impacts girls and young people more and more frequently. In 2013 there were 35 cases of disappeared young women, while in 2017 the number of cases rose to 78—an increase of 123%. During this same period, resources to combat gender violence were reduced, with the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Attention to Gender Violence being demoted to a Special Prosecutor’s Office. There is still no state shelter for victims of violence.

In spite of legislation protecting their political participation, many women whoassume decision-making roles suffer threats, smear campaigns, attacks and even femicide that prevent them from performing their duties. From December 2016 to date there were 21 attacks of this type.

In terms of health, between 2015 and 2017, 2,666 pregnancies in girls and adolescents under the age of 15 were registered in Oaxaca.Legal abortion is only permitted in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s life, accidents and malformations, and each year approximately 9,200 abortions occur in secret.


 Download: Under attack. Human Rights in Oaxaca 2013-2018. Citizen report (PDF, 32 pp.)

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