Frayba: the Government continues without recognizing the Army’s human rights violations in Chiapas

In February 1995, the Mexican Army entered Zapatista communities in the Lacandón Jungle and committed an extrajudicial execution in La Grandeza.

By: Desinformémonos Editors

Mexico City

The Mexican government continues without recognizing the grave human rights violations committed by the Mexican Army in the implementation of the Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).

To the contrary, Frayba indicated, “the Mexican State maintains the logic of war with militarized structures, without respect for the human rights of the population.”

It pointed out that 26 years after the military incursion into the La Grandeza ejido, in Altamirano municipality in Chiapas, the Mexican State has not complied with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) with respect to the extrajudicial execution of the indigenous Tseltal Gilberto Jiménez Hernández, committed by members of the 17th Infantry Battalion.

The extrajudicial execution of Jiménez Hernández occurred during the military incursion of the Rainbow Task Force of the “Yabur” grouping, a branch of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena, its Spanish acronym), when he and his family fled into the mountains as forcibly displaced persons. “Gilberto was carrying one of his daughters tied to his back with a shawl,” the Frayba remembers.

He added that: “faced with impunity in Mexico,” in November 2016 the IACHR recommended that the Mexican State repair the human rights violations and carry out an impartial, effective and timely investigation into the execution of Gilberto Jiménez.

However, mote than 4 years after the recommendation “the investigations don’t present any progress, breaking with a reasonable time period, without identifying the lines of investigation to follow, without knowing the corresponding administrative, disciplinary or penal measures against the actions or omissions of the state officials who contributed to the denial of justice and the impunity in which the facts are found, without adopting measures of non-repetition that include legislative, administrative and any other measures in order to ensure that the use of force on the part of State agents is compatible with international standards.”

Therefore, the Frayba urged the Mexican State to comply with the measures that the IACHR issued, as well as to suspend the militarized national security model, “as well as to prevent crimes committed by members of the Armed Forces and to stop their impunity.”

Here is the full statement:

At 26 years after the military incursion into the La Grandeza Ejido, in the municipality of Altamirano, Chiapas, the Mexican State has not complied with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights1 (IACHR) relative to the extrajudicial execution of Gilberto Jiménez Hernández (Gilberto) and continues without recognizing the grave human rights violations that the Mexican Army committed in the implementation of the Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan.2

Starting in February 1995, the Mexican Army intensified the siege of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional,3 EZLN) with the occupation of territories of the Native Peoples and the siege of the population. The objectives of the military intervention were embodied in the “Chiapas 1994 Campaign Plan,” designed by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA, its Spanish acronym) to “destroy and disorganize the EZLN’s political military structure.” The action of the Mexican Armed Forces changed from dealing directly with national security to dedicating themselves more actively to the control of internal security; as a result they perpetrated arbitrary detentions, torture, extrajudicial executions, disappearances, forced displacement, among other human rights violations.

It was in this context that members of the 17th Infantry Battalion committed the extrajudicial execution of Gilberto Jiménez Hernández, of Tseltal origin, on February 20, 1995, around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, between the Patiwitz and La Grandeza ejidos, during the military incursion of the Rainbow Task Force of the “Yabur” grouping, a branch of the Sedena. He and his family were fleeing into the mountains as forcibly displaced persons, and Gilberto was carrying one of his daughters tied to his back with a shawl.

Faced with the impunity in Mexico, the facts and their consequences were presented to the (IACHR), a body that on November 30, 2016, issued its Admissibility and Background Report No. 51/16 on Case 11.564, in which it recommended that the Mexican State: repair the human rights violations taking into consideration the community effects of the application of the Chiapas 1994 Campaign Plan; carrying out an impartial, effective investigation inside a reasonable time period for the purpose of completely clarifying the facts, identifying the intellectual and material authors and imposing the sanctions that correspond to the human rights violations, taking into account clarification of the context.

More than 4 years after the international recommendation, the investigations don’t present any progress, breaking with the reasonable period of time, without identifying the lines of investigation to follow, without knowing the corresponding administrative, disciplinary or criminal measures against the actions or omissions of the state officials who contributed to the denial of justice and the impunity in which the acts are found, without adopting non-repetition measures that include legislative, administrative and any other measures in order to ensure that the use of force on the part of State agents, is compatible with international standards.

The IACHR established as precedent that the military incursion into the La Grandeza Ejido was part of an official Plan that the Mexican Army implemented and that it generated a favorable framework for arbitrary and discriminatory behavior, as well as the excessive use of anti-subversive force.

The current Mexican government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has the historic and progressive challenge of building a path that leads to the acceptance of the facts and of the context, which includes the recognition of the strategy implemented through the Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan and executed by the Mexican Army. Elements like those above will fully comply with the recommendations of the IACHR. Their acceptance would emerge as a measure of satisfaction for the Native Peoples who suffered a grave impact faced with the counterinsurgency war, in addition to providing non-repetition guarantees regarding the use of excessive force in military operations.

However, the Mexican State maintains the logic of war with militarized structures, without respect for the human rights of the population. Starting in 2019, with the creation of the National Guard and with the 2020 presidential agreement, public security is in the hands of the Armed Forces permanently.4 Therefore, the Frayba urges the Mexican State to suspend the militarized national security model, as well as to prevent crimes committed by members of the Armed Forces and to stop their impunity. We urge guarantying the collective rights of the Native Peoples to autonomy, territory and self-determination.

Notes:

1 CIDH, Informe No. 51/16, Caso 11.564. Fondo. Gilberto Jiménez Hernández y otros (La Grandeza). México. 30 de noviembre de 2016. Disponible en: https://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/2016/MXPU11564ES.pdf

2 Plan de Campaña Chiapas 94. Available at:https://frayba.org.mx/historico/archivo/articulos/941001_plan%20de_campana_chiapas94_sedena.pdf

3 On January 1, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) started the armed uprising, taking the municipal seats of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano and Las Margaritas in the state of Chiapas. The Mexican Army’s presence in the region has increase since then.

4 As of July 2020, the National Guard was composed of approximately 90,000 members, of which 51,101 had been transferred from the Army and 10,149 from the Navy. Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center. “Security Models.” Mexico. 2020. Page. 57.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Desinformémonos

Monday, February 22, 2021

https://desinformemonos.org/gobierno-sigue-sin-reconocer-violaciones-del-ejercito-a-los-derechos-humanos-en-chiapas-frayba/

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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