THE WORLDWIDE DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS
WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DELIVERED
Today, being the first day of the second phase, “From Truth to Action, Stopping the Repression”, of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas” campaign, and also the Day of Indigenous Resistance, a protest was organised at the Mexican Embassy in London, England, by activists from Bristol and Dorset, against the attacks by the bad government of Mexico against the Zapatista communities. News had just broken of a new attack on the community of Guadalupe los Altos, and the imprisonment of 6 Zapatistas.
The following document was delivered to the Embassy:
THE WORLDWIDE DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF THE ZAPATISTAS
The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, representing groups, individuals and collectives from throughout the United Kingdom, hereby send this message to accompany our presentation of the ‘Worldwide Declaration in support of the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico’ to the Embassy of Mexico in London, England.
We are delivering the Declaration today, Friday 12th October, 2012, because it is the Day of Indigenous Resistance, and marks the 520th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, and the start of the colonial endeavour to destroy the indigenous peoples of these lands. This date also marks the beginning of the second phase of the ‘Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas’ campaign.
The Declaration has been signed by 112 organisations and 162 individuals from 24 different countries, all of whom are shocked and appalled at the blatant acts of violence, abuse, intimidation, harassment and attrition currently being directed against the Zapatista support base communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in violation of their inalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed.
Since this Declaration was issued in July 2012, there has been an alarming escalation in acts of aggression against Zapatista communities, and 83 members of two villages remain displaced more than five weeks after being attacked by paramilitary groups with firearms, openly supported by the local authorities and police force.
We wish to reiterate our horror and dismay that a government which seeks to portray itself as a model of liberty and justice could openly support such hostilities against its own indigenous people.
WORLDWIDE DECLARATION DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR THE ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES AND FREEDOM FOR FRANCISCO SÁNTIZ LÓPEZ
We view with profound concern, and demand an immediate end to, the continued acts of intimidation and aggression and the human rights abuses being committed against members of the Zapatista support base community in San Marcos Avilés, official municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. We also call for the immediate liberation of the Zapatista political prisoner Francisco Sántiz López, who has been jailed since December 2011 in a flagrant abuse of justice.
Responding to the numerous denouncements and calls issued by the Zapatista Good Government Junta of Oventic and the community of San Marcos Avilés, we manifest in this declaration our solidarity with our brothers and sisters there, as well as with Francisco Sántiz López.
We are aware of the very serious new threats being made against the community of San Marcos Avilés by representatives of political parties in the area. Of particular concern are the open and blatant threats of displacement, physical violence, and the on-going climate of hostility promoted by these individuals. We consider such reprehensible aggression to be extremely serious in light of the events of September 2010, when vigilantes from the Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), led by Lorenzo Ruiz Gómez and Vicente Ruiz López, attacked Zapatista support bases, displacing 170 people and destroying their property and crops.
In relation to the case of Francisco Sántiz López, a Zapatista support base from the Banavil ejido of Tenejapa, who was originally detained in December 2011 under false charges of having orchestrated a conflict in Banavil, we affirm the evidence collected by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Centre and recounted by several witnesses, that he indeed was not present at the location where the events took place on 4th December 2011. His false imprisonment and the continued refusal of local authorities to examine this evidence are, in our view, further indication that the judicial system in Chiapas is wielded as tool of political repression against those who struggle for justice.
In respect to current events in San Marcos Avilés, we demand:
· An immediate end to all death threats, verbal and physical harassment, and threats against the property and well-being of the Zapatista Support Base members by elements of the political parties in the San Marcos Avilés ejido
· Protection for the life and safety of the Zapatista support base members of San Marcos Avilés
· Respect for the Zapatista Support Base community’s inalienable right to autonomy as indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the internationally recognized ILO Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which the government of Mexico has signed
In respect of the case of Zapatista support base Francisco Sántiz López, we demand his immediate and unconditional release, as well as a swift investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence in Banavil, Tenejapa Municipality, Chiapas.
To our brothers and sisters suffering injustice and violence in Chiapas, we remind you that your struggle is not carried out in silence, nor is it invisible. Indeed, countless individuals, organizations, and communities from around the world remain vigilant regarding your situation and have joined an international campaign in solidarity with your struggle. For our part, from cities across the world we send you a warm embrace, to let you know that we know who you are and what you are fighting for, and to say that we will do whatever we can to support you. We will all continue to make an echo of your just demands, an echo that resonates with the collective heartbeat of the earth.
To view the full list of signatures: http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/worldwide-declaration/