Indigenous Resistors to Wind Farm Project in Mexico Facing Violent Threats

4 Sep

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The Gobixha Committee for the Integral Defense of Human Rights (CODIGO DH) would like to express concern for the lack of institutional attention to the conflict generated by the construction of the wind farm Strength and Energy Bií Hioxo, owned by the Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) Company. This situation has generated a wave of violence against supporters of the Popular Assembly of the People of Juchitán (APPJ). We are concerned about the indifference of the authorities and their lack of action during the last eight months.

The last act of violence against members of the APPJ took place on Sunday, August 25, when they where attacked by gunshots at the summit of the place named Chigueeze, inside the area of the Bií Hioxo park. These actions took place approximately at noon when APPJ members were walking on communal lands to document the effects of the wind farm project. At this time they were stopped by armed men in a white suburban who threatened them with death, took their pictures, and shot at them. The men briefly held Sara Lopez prisoner and tried to stab her, but she was defended by the people who were with her, and was able to escape. The armed men also tried to run over another person with their vehicle.

Due to this situation, the APPJ members left the area, but not before realizing that State Police Patrols, as well as Auxiliary, Banking, Industrial and Commercial Patrols (PABIC) were also pursuing them. The patrols tried to detain some of the APPJ members, causing them to run. At this time they could hear gunshots behind them, which were apparently being fired in the air. After leaving the area, APPJ members noticed black smoke, such as the type produced when tires are burned. Later the company and some of the local media attributed the smoke to the burning of some of the company´s machinery. Such machinery can be seen at: http://www.quadratinoaxaca.com.mx/noticia/nota,81670/ [link currently broken]

We would also like to point out that the company, through its contracts, has coopted some local residents who now work as employees, and act as armed guards, as evidenced by the events previously described. This is causing high levels of tension between residents of the area and increased levels of aggression, intimidation, and surveillance towards members of the APPJ. This situation can lead to even more violence that will put at risk the lives and physical integrity of men and women, as it has happened in the past.

Due to the above, CODIGO DH demands:

1. That the state and municipal police, as well as employees related to GNF, guarantee the physical and emotional integrity of APPJ members.

2. A halt to the harassment and criminalization of APPJ members. It is also urgent that the authorities investigate, as mandated by law, the events that took place on August 25th, and that they properly delineate the responsibilities regarding the supposed burning of the machinery.

3. Unhindered respect of the rights of indigenous peoples as established by Convention 169, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as by the current laws that apply to the construction of the wind farm Bií Hioxo owned by the GNF Company.

We ask that you send an urgent appeal to:

Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexican President, Phone number: +52 55 27891100; Fax number: (52.55) 5277.2376, enrique.penanieto@presidencia.gob.mx

Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, State Secretary, Phone and fax number: (55) 5093 3400 Ext. 34200, secretario@segob.gob.mx

Gabino Cue Monteagudo, Oaxaca State Governor, Fax number: +52 95 1501 8100, ext. 40068, gabinocue@oaxaca.gob.mx, gobernador.gabino.cue@gmail.com

Manuel de Jesús López López, Attorney General of Oaxaca, Fax number: +52 951 501 6900 (dial 20635), procuradoroaxaca@hotmail.com

Arturo Peimbert Calvo, Defender of Human Rights in Oaxaca, Phone number: 01 951 513 51 85; 01 951 513 51 91 EXT, 102 Y 103, correo@derechoshumanosoaxaca.org

Please send a copy of your letter of appeals to: The Gobixha Committee for the Integral Defense of Human Rights (CODIGO DH). E-mail: contacto@codigodh.org

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