By: Isaín Mandujano
From Washington this Tuesday the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the government of Mexico to implement precautionary measures in favor of the indigenous families of 12 Aldama communities, who live under fire from civilian armed groups that operate in Santa Martha, Chenalhó.
Today, the IACHR announced Resolution 35/2021 issued last Friday, April 23 in the bosom of that international body of the Organization of American States (OAS), a resolution that requires the government of Mexico to put an end to the continuous harassment and attacks that the civilian Tsotsil indigenous populations of Aldama experience.
The precautionary measures are in favor of the Tsotsil indigenous families that live in the following twelve communities: Coco´, Tabac, Xuxch´en, San Pedro Cotzilnam, Chayomte, Juxtón, Tselejpotobtic, Yetón, Chivit, Sepelton, Yoctontik and Aldama (the town and municipal capital) that are in Aldama Municipality.
Since 2018, these 12 communities have suffered various deaths and injuries to people with permanent consequences due to shots from civilian armed groups that operate from the Santa Martha Sector in Chenalhó municipality, the neighbor municipality of Aldama.
In an official letter, the Commission considered that the situation meets “prima facie” the requirements of gravity, urgency and irreparability contained in Article 25 of the IACHR Regulations.
The request filed by organizations such as the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center and the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All Rights for Everyone” (TDT Network) alleged that indigenous families in the Aldama communities are “in an situation of risk as a result of attacks, harassment and threats due to the presence of armed people in the area, which would have caused them to be displaced at different times, in the context of a territorial conflict in the area.”
Given this, the IACHR evaluated the actions adopted by the State for attending to the alleged situation; “however, after monitoring the issue, it warned that armed attacks continued to occur, despite having a Non-Aggression Agreement; as well as also the having the considerations of the National Human Rights Commission who, at different opportunities, urged the State to guarantee the rights of the area’s inhabitants.”
Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of IACHR Regulations, the Commission asked that the Mexican government: “adopt the necessary and culturally appropriate security measures to protect the life and personal integrity of the beneficiary families; specifically, to guarantee security within their communities, and during their displacements, with a view to preventing threats, harassment, intimidation or acts of armed violence on the part of third parties.”
Likewise, it demanded that the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador “agree on the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and report on the actions taken for the purpose of investigating the facts that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus prevent their repetition.”
It explained that the granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not constitute a prejudgment of a petition that may eventually be filed before the Inter-American System about a possible violation of protected rights in the applicable instruments.
The IACHR recalled that it’s an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate emerges from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. And that the Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and act as an OAS consultative body on the matter.