Sr. Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obredor, President of the Republic of Mexico
Sra. Ministra Olga Sánchez Cordero, Minister of the Interior of Mexico
Dear President López Obredor and Minister Sánchez Cordero:
We are very concerned about the assassinations of Noé Jiménez Pablo and José Santiago Gómez Álvarez, members of the Independent Regional Campesino Movement (MOCRI) in Amatán, Chiapas State. They disappeared on January 17 when a group of unidentified armed men attacked MOCRI demonstrators who were protesting the failure of authorities to guarantee the basic needs of the community. On January 18, their bodies, showing signs of torture, were found in a garbage dump near Amatán.
MOCRI, part of the non-governmental organization National Coordinator Plan of the National Ayala Movement (CNPA-MN), works in several states in Mexico campaigning for economic, social, and cultural rights. They have a long history in Amatán denouncing corruption and demanding improvements in living conditions and basic public services in the community. Members of MOCRI had been maintaining a peaceful sit-in demonstration in Amatán since November 2018; an armed commando broke up the demonstration on January 17.
On January 19, community supporters held a funeral march carrying the coffins of Noé Jiménez Pablo and José Santiago Gómez Álvarez. Jesus Gutierrez Valencia, spokesman for the MOCRI-CNPA, denounced that this crime occurred despite the fact that 31 people from that municipality were already being monitored by the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders of the Secretariat of Government (SEGOB), including Noe Jimenez Pablo.
During 2018, Amnesty International documented a series of harassment and attacks against MOCRI members in Amatán and other localities. The attacks increased in violence and included the use of firearms against the population, including MOCRI members and supporters. Amnesty International warned the Mexican government of the escalation of violence. Local and federal authorities did not react to those calls.
We strongly urge that you
- conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the murders of Noé Jiménez Pablo and José Santiago Gómez Álvarez, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice;
- take all necessary measures to prevent further attacks against social leaders in the Amatán community
- guarantee that members of MOCRI can carry out their human rights work without fear of retaliation.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker Martínez
Alejandro Gertz Manero, Attorney General of Mexico ~ via US mail
Martha Bárcena Coqui, Mexican Ambassador to the US ~ via email
John S. Creamer, Chargé d’Affairs, US Embassy in Mexico ~ via fax and US mail
Political Officer, Mexico Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Rapporteur for Mexico, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
S!Paz ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email