By: Frayba Comunicación
Translated by El Enemigo Común
Harassment and Surveillance of members of the CNI and CIDECI-Unitierra
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) expresses its concern for the robbery and harassment at the home of Alejandra Padilla García (Alejandra), human rights defender and member of Semilla Digna, a space of struggle that forms part of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI). Alejandra also collaborates with the Indigenous Comprehensive Training Center of Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas – Unitierra Chiapas (CIDECI – Unitierra Chiapas). The incidents occurred in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on May 28, 2017.
According to the documented information, the door of Alejandra’s home was found open, as was the door to her room; from there the intruders took a laptop computer with important information regarding the work she does supporting community organizing in Chiapas and other states of the republic.
The harassment and robbery occurred when Alejandra was at CIDECI – Unitierra Chiapas, where the CNI holding a General Assembly in order to form the Indigenous Council of Government and elect its spokesperson.
It is worth highlighting that in the home there were other computers, money in plain view, as well as other valuable items that were not stolen. The perpetrators focused solely on taking the personal computer of the human rights defender.
Alejandra’s work has been characterized by the defense of human rights in indigenous and campesino communities, engaging in organizing and analysis, defending indigenous peoples’ right to autonomy, and in particular supporting the work of the CNI.
It is important to mention that in the last three months, Alejandra and other members of the CNI as well as the support team at CIDECI – Unitierra Chiapas have been subject to surveillance and monitoring by various different individuals aboard suspicious vehicles.
The National Indigenous Congress was constituted on October 12, 1996 with the slogan “Never more a Mexico without us,” establishing itself as the home for all of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, and as a space where they could meet to strengthen their resistance movements with their own forms of organization, representation, and decision-making. The CNI fights to build and defend the autonomy of indigenous peoples to make decisions about their own territories and to organize themselves and build their own future.
On various occasions, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has reiterated to the Mexican State the risks faced by community-based human rights defenders, who work on the front lines of movements to defend the land, territory, autonomy, sacred sites, and natural wealth of indigenous peoples and communities. Women who do this work find themselves particularly at risk.
Frayba expresses its solidarity with and support for the members of the CNI, the Indigenous Council of Government, and the support team at CIDECI – Unitierra Chiapas. We ask the national and international adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle to express their rejection of these acts of aggression, harassment, and surveillance which have recently increased against the individuals, collectives, and communities that make up the CNI.
Frayba condemns such actions which threaten the security of human rights defenders, and whose objective is to fracture the networks of solidarity with indigenous and campesino communities, as well as to instill fear in those who dedicate themselves to supporting the rights of indigenous peoples.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México?June 6, 2017
This post is also available in: Spanish