Statement Regarding the Events of October 27th, 2006 in Oaxaca

Mexican Indigenous and Human Rights Organizations call for action regarding violence in Oaxaca

October 28, 2006 – Civil society organizations, human rights centers, community authorities, and citizen participants in the national meeting for follow-up of the recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples held in Mexico City the 27th and 28th of October, 2006 declare the following with respect to the current situation in Oaxaca, Mexico:

• Acts that took place yesterday in Oaxaca revealed the grave situation for human rights, the suspension of constitutional guarantees and the vulnerability of citizens. At this time there are 4 confirmed deaths as well as a numerous injuries (approximately 30).

• The non-governance in the state of Oaxaca is more evident today than ever. The government response in this case thus far has been repression and systematic violation of human rights under the pretext of enforcement of rule of law, with the use of public force on all three levels, local, state and federal.

• The situation in Oaxaca is a historic problem of accumulated human rights violations against the population. The demands of social organizations, unions, municipalities and non-government organizations have been repressed throughout the last two administrations of state and federal government. The violent and repressive action against the teachers union and the attempted expulsion on June 14th of this year, mobilized the society behind one clear demand: the dismissal from office of Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the governor of Oaxaca. This situation unleashed unprecedented repression expressed in illegal detentions of leaders, armed attacks against peaceful protests, criminalization of social movements, and ultimately, the presence of the armed forces in Oaxacan territory.

Given the situation:

FIRST: We hold the Governor ULISES RUIZ and his CABINET directly responsible for the assassinations and violent acts that occurred yesterday the 27th of October and the aggressions leading to these events since the 14th of June of this year. This is based on the lack of capacity to govern and bring a solution to the conflict, and the irresponsible manor with which Governor ULISES RUIZ continues to grip his power, refusing to resign or solicit formal permission to be relieved of his duties, as a signal of political civility for the distention of the conflict. On the contrary he has initiated systematic repression through the use of state-sponsored mercenary groups and paramilitaries.

SECOND: We also hold responsible the government of Vicente Fox for his omission in exercising his legal faculties and for not recognizing a political and social conflict that goes beyond the characterization of local and of labor union demands. The government of Vicente Fox also refused to take into their own hands an open and pluralistic dialogue process that would leave aside interests of political parties and the politically powerful in Mexico. His responsibility is further increased by the fact that early on in the conflict he had resources to meet initial demands of the teachers union and chose not to.

The Secretary of the Interior is equally responsible for the grave situation in Oaxaca for his tepidness and double discourse which have prolonged the solution with nonviable and confusing proposals not based on consensus. This actions play into the marriage between Ulises Ruiz and the political party Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), due to the proximity of the arrival to power of next President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon.

THIRD: We hold responsible the Senate of the Republic of Mexico. Prioritizing their interests for power and interests of the political parties, the Senators backed the state powers in Oaxaca, despite the fact that they themselves recognized an absence of authority. This decision lead to increased violence in the state of Oaxaca by state-sponsored armed groups.

Based on the above:

1. We demand that Ulises Ruiz leave office immediately as a measure for the distention of the conflict, which would allow for the beginning of a profound and integrated social process of changes in the state of Oaxaca.
2. We reject the use of public force as a path for solutions, as it in no way guarantees the reestablishment of the rule of law.
3. We demand the implementation of a plan for the security of the people and reactivation of the economy that would allow citizens to return to their activities.
4. We make and URGENT APPEAL to international and national human rights organizations to be present in the vigilance, observation, documentation, monitoring and denouncement of human rights violations in this difficult moment for Oaxaca, most importantly that their presence help stop the lose of human lives and repression of the social movement.
5. We call on society to get involved, be informed regarding the developing events happening in Oaxaca and that they express their solidarity.
6. We call on the media to fulfill its commitment to the truth, impartiality, and to publish in a responsible manor this overall situation.
7. We inform that this group of organizations will meet today with the representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico and with the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples to express our concern and urge them to take immediate measures regarding the acts that have occurred in Oaxaca.

Finally we express our desire that Oaxaca be a source of hope for all inhabitants of Mexico.

1. UCIZONI (Unión de comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo.
2. Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, Acteal Chiapas,
3. Centro Regional de Defensa de Derechos Humanos José María Morelos y Pavón, Chilapa Guerrero.
4. Centro Profesional Indígena de Asesoría, Defensa y Traducción AC de Oaxaca.
5. Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de Coapinola Municipio de Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero,
6. OIPM (Organización Independiente de Pueblos Mixtecos, Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero.
7. Comité de la Radio Ñomndaa, la palabra del Agua, Municipio de Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero.
8. BARCA, (Centro de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño), Oaxaca,
9. EDUCA (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa AC), Oaxaca.
10. Luna del Sur A.C., Oaxaca,
11. CAAJIAC (Centro de Atención y Apoyo Jurídico Integral AC), Oaxaca.
12. SER Mixe AC, (Servicios del Pueblo Mixe A.C.). Oaxaca.
13. Consejo Tradicional de Pueblos de Sonora, A.C., Sonora.
14. Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña, TLACHINOLLAN, Tlapa Guerrero.
15. MAIZ, (Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista).
16. Indignación A.C. Yucatán. (Promoción y Defensa de Derechos Humanos).
17. Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Chiapas.

By Mexican Indigenous and Human Rights Orgs
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