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Mexico: Fear of arbitrary detention / possible prisoners of conscience

, N° d'index: AMR 41/011/1998

180 International human rights monitors in Chiapas State: AI is concerned that foreign nationals among the delegation of human rights observers presently monitoring the situation in Chiapas after the massacre of 45 people in Acteal on 22 December 1997 are at risk at being arbitrarily detained and expelled from the country.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/11/98
This is a limited action. Please restrict appeals to 15 per section
EXTRA 17/98 Fear for arbitrary detention / Possible prisoners of conscience 20 February 1998
MEXICO 180 International human rights monitors in Chiapas State
Amnesty International is concerned that foreign nationals attached to
non-governmental human rights organisations visiting Mexico are at risk at
being arbitrarily detained and expelled from the country.
An international delegation of 180 human rights observers is presently in
Chiapas State to monitor the situation there, following the massacre of 45
people in Acteal, Chiapas, on 22 December 1997 (see UA 409/97, AMR 41/117/97,
23 December 1997). Amnesty International’s concerns that foreign nationals
observing the human rights situation in the country may be expelled have been
heightened by the expulsion of Tom Hansen, a US citizen. On 18 February 1998,
Tom Hansen, ex-director of Pastors for Peace, a non-governmental human rights
organisation, was detained and later expelled from the country.
In the wake of the massacre, the authorities publicly declared that the concern
showed by international human rights organisations in relation to the Acteal
massacre constituted an interference in the domestic affairs of the country.
Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of international human
rights monitors being expelled from Mexico in the context of their legitimate
work for the protection of human rights (see Amnesty International's report:
Mexico- The arbitrary expulsion of international human rights monitors, AMR
In June 1993, Mexico, together with 120 other state parties adopted the Vienna
Declaration at the United Nations (UN) World Conference on Human Rights (WCHR).
The spirit and wording of the Declaration clearly underlines the universality
and indivisibility of human rights and recognises the role to be played by
national governments, international governmental organisations, and both
domestic and international non-governmental organisations in the protection
of human rights. Article 38 of the Declaration states that 'Las organizaciones
no gubernamentales deben ser dueñas de realizar sus actividades de derechos
humanos sin injerencias, en el marco de la legislación nacional y de la
Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos', ‘non-governmental organisations
should be free to carry out their human rights activities, without interference,
within the framework of national law and the Universal Declaration of Human
Amnesty International believes that the human rights situation in Mexico has
sharply deteriorated over the past four years, and that by taking a position
towards domestic and international human rights monitors which does not
facilitate their legitimate work, the Mexican government is failing in its
international commitment to implement the Vienna Declaration.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/express/airmail letters in or your own
- expressing concern at the recent expulsion of Tom Hansen, ex-director of
Pastors for Peace, from Mexico on 18 February 1998;
- calling for guarantees that all international human rights observers in Mexico
be allowed to carry out their legitimate activities free from interference;
- expressing deep alarm at the level of harassment against all those who work
in defence of human rights in Mexico, whether they be Mexican or foreign
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lic. Rosario Green Macías
Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores
Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores
Av. Ricardo Flores Magón No.1,
Col. Nonoalco Tlatelolco
06995 México D.F.
Faxes: + 52 5 782 4109
Salutation: Sra. Secretaria / Dear Minister
Governor of the State of Chiapas
Lic. Roberto Albores Guillén
Gobernador del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno, Piso 1
Col. Centro, 29000
Tuxla Gutiérrez
Estado de Chiapas
Faxes: + 52 961 20918
Salutations: Sr. Procurador / Dear Governor
Human rights organisation
Centro de Derechos Humanos
"Miguel Augustín Pro Juárez" A.C.
Serapio Rendon 57-B
Col. San Rafael, 06470
México D.F. MEXICO
and to diplomatic representatives of MEXICO accredited to your country.

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