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Mexico: Fear for safety

, N° d'index: AMR 41/065/1997

Juan Juarez Perez and Jose Lopez Hernandez, indigenous rights activists, and 50 families from the municipality of Sabanilla, Chiapas: At least four people, including children, have been killed by members of the paramilitary group Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice) in the last month. AI is seriously concerned for the safety of more than 50 indigenous families, many of whom have had to flee in fear for their lives.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/65/97
UA 243/97 Fear for Safety 29 July 1997
MEXICO
Juan Juárez Pérez, Indian activist
José López Hernández, Indian activist
and 50 families from the municipality of Sabanilla,
Chiapas
At least four people, including children, have been killed by members of the
paramilitary group Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice) in the last month in
the municipalities of Sabanilla and Tila, Chiapas State. There has been a
recent escalation in attacks and threats by this group targeted at the families
of activists of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), Party of the
Democratic Revolution, a legal opposition party. Amnesty International is
seriously concerned for the safety of more than 50 indigenous families from
communities in the municipality of Sabanilla, many of whom have had to flee
in fear for their lives.
Paz y Justicia which has accused PRD militants of killing one of its leaders
has threatened all PRD members in the region with death, by issuing a statement:
“para cada priísta muerto, serán enterrados cinco zapatistas”, “for every dead
priísta, five zapatistas will be buried”.
Local people, including José López Hernández and Juan Juárez Pérez, whose son
Benito, (12), was amongst those killed by Paz y Justicia, explained that they
feared they would be killed if they stayed. They have informed the organization
that Paz y Justicia have since blocked the way out of Sabanilla to prevent
more families from leaving the area.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty International is seriously concerned about the worsening human rights
situation in the state of Chiapas involving escalating levels of harassment,
threats and attacks directed against the peasant communities by paramilitary
groups, in particular Paz y Justicia acting on behalf of local chiefs linked
to the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), Institutional Revolutionary
Party, the ruling party. Alarmingly, such activities are carried out with
the acquiescence and tacit support of the authorities, whereby most of those
responsible remain unpunished.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish, English or your own language:
- calling for immediate measures to guarantee the safety of all the inhabitants
of the municipality of Sabanilla and neighbouring areas in northern Chiapas;
- urging a prompt, full and impartial investigation into recent killings in
the area;
- calling for effective measures to be taken to disband the paramilitary group
Paz y Justicia in the state of Chiapas, and to bring all those responsible
to justice.
APPEALS TO:
1) Minister of the Interior
Lic. Emilio Chuayffet Chemor
Secretario de la Gobernación
Secretaría de la Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er piso
Col. Juárez, 06699 México DF, MÉXICO
2
Telegrams: Secretario Gobernación, México D.F., México
Faxes: + 52 5 546 5350
Salutation: Sr. Secretario/Dear Minister
2) Governor of the State of Chiapas
Lic. Julio César Ruiz Ferro
Gobernador del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno
Av. Central y Primera Oriente
Colonia Centro, 29009 Tuxla Gutiérrez
Estado de Chiapas, MEXICO
Telegrams: Gobernador Ruiz Ferro, Chiapas, México
Fax: + 52 961 20917 (if voice,ask “me puede dar tono de fax, por favor”)
Salutation: Sr. Gobernador/Dear Governor
COPIES TO:
1) Centro de Derechos Humanos
"Miguel Augustín Pro Juárez" A.C.
Puebla No. 153
Col. Roma, 06700
México D.F. MEXICO
Fax: + 52 5 208 75 47
2)Sr. Editor
La Jornada
Balderas 68
06050 México D.F., MEXICO
Fax: 52 5 521 2763/ 510 1901
3)Survival
11 - 15 Emerald Street
LONDON WC1N 3QL
Fax: 0171 242 1771
and to diplomatic representatives of MEXICO accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 9 September 1997.

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