Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Yaqui: From Mexican Prison for Water Rights to Ireland's Frontline Defenders Platform 2019



In Dublin, Ireland, Mario Luna Romero, Vicam Yaqui from Sonora, Mexico, with U.N. Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst, during the Inaugural of the Dublin Platform for Human Rigths  Defenders at Risk.
Espanol: Desde Dublín Irlanda, entrevista con Michel Forst (Relator especial de la ONU para Defensores de Derechos Humanos) ; durante acto inaugural de la plataforma Dublín, FrontLine Defender

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Vicam Yaqui gather in Sonora to discuss water rights in 2012. Photo Brenda Norrell, Censored News.

Yaqui kidnapped and imprisoned by Mexican government for defending water rights during Vicam Yaqui highway blockade,  is in Ireland with Human Rights Defenders at Risk

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Mario Luna Romero was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Mexican government for one year, as Vicam Yaqui maintained a two-year road blockade in defense of their water rights. The City of Hermosillo was intent on stealing Yaqui water for the Independence Aqueduct.

Mario is the Traditional Government's Secretary of Vicam, Sonora, Mexico. He is a community organizer and designated spokesperson of Vicam Yaqui, protecting the water of the Yaqui River against the government of Mexico's aqueduct. On September 11, 2014, Luna Romero was imprisoned and set free one year and ten days later. There was no proof of any charges against him. 

The Vicam Yaqui highway blockade was an incredible two-year highway blockade, as Yaqui blocked a major highway, delaying semi-trucks through their land, slowing trucks to the U.S. and elsewhere near the Pacific coast of central Mexico. Earlier, Vicam Yaqui welcomed the Zapatistas and held water forums to uphold their water rights.


Mario shared the photo above, as the Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders at Risk began today.

Meanwhile, five countries have blocked activists from attending the Platform in Ireland.

Five human rights defenders, who were due to attend an international conference in Dublin, have been prevented from traveling by their governments. Cuba, Russia, the Philippines, Azerbaijan and Algeria have blocked human rights defenders from traveling to Ireland for the Platform.

Photos: Human Rights Defenders at Risk

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The Irish Times reports:
Five activists have been prevented from travelling to Dublin by their respective governments for a conference on human rights.
The Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, which got underway on Tuesday and which runs until Thursday, is organized by Frontline Defenders.
More than 120 human rights activists from about 80 countries are in attendance to call for greater protection and support.
Front Line Defenders executive director Andrew Anderson said that five activists were prevented from travelling to Dublin.
They are Khadija Ismayilova from Azerbaijan; Oyub Titiev from Russia; Said Boudour from Algeria; Michel Matos from Cuba; and Marivic Danyan from the Philippines.
“Human rights defenders are guaranteed the right to do their work without harassment or intimidation,” said Mr Anderson. “In these five cases, governments are afraid of the words these human rights defenders will deliver to their peers - that is the message of this cowardly effort to silence them.”
The opening ceremony featured a testimony by Bahraini woman Ebtisam Alsaegh who has been prevented from travelling for several years.
Mr Anderson said Bahraini authorities have repeatedly arrested, detained, tortured, sexually assaulted and subjected to Ms Alsaegh to travel bans for her outspoken condemnation of human rights abuses in the Gulf country.
Speaking in Dublin, she called for an immediate end to gendered and sexualised attacks against women human rights defenders around the world.
On Thursday evening, the activists will march to Christchurch Cathedral as part of the “set them free” campaign, calling for the release of activists facing multi-decade prison sentences around the world.
The campaign includes former Front Line Defenders protection coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is now serving a life sentence in Bahrain for his role in the peaceful pro-democracy uprising of 2011.

2019 Dublin Platform Statement

1 October 2019
Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders at Risk Opened by Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, TD, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet
[Dublin, Ireland] Simon Coveney, TD, Ireland’s Foreign Minister, and Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the 2019 Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders by welcoming over 120 human rights defenders (HRDs) from more than 80 countries and calling for greater protection and support for HRDs at risk. Front Line Defenders Executive Director, Andrew Anderson, said that five human rights defenders were prevented from traveling to Dublin – Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan), Oyub Titiev (Russia), Said Boudour (Algeria), and Michel Matos (Cuba).
The opening ceremony featured a testimony by Bahraini woman human rights defender (WHRD) Ebtisam Alsaegh, who was finally able to leave Bahrain and attend Dublin Platform years after first being invited. Bahraini authorities have repeatedly arrested, detained, tortured, sexually assaulted and subjected to Ebtisam travel bans for her outspoken condemnation of human rights abuses in the Gulf country, including her detailed reports of the sexual violence she personally endured in custody. Speaking in Dublin, she called for an immediate end to gendered and sexualized attacks against women human rights defenders around the world.
Over three days, human rights defenders will share tactics and strategies for their protection and security, while learning from each other about their struggles, protests, resistance movements and victories. On Thursday evening, the HRDs will march in a procession to Christchurch Cathedral as part of the “Set Them Free” campaign, calling for the release of HRDs facing multi-decade prison sentences around the world. The campaign includes former Front Line Defenders Protection Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Bahraini HRD Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, now serving a life sentence for his role in the peaceful pro-democracy uprising of 2011.


For more information:
Irish Media 
Flor MacCarthy                     Grace Barrett
flormaccarthy@gmail.com    gbarrett@frontlinedefenders.org
+353 85 863 3655              +353 87 174 3228
International Media

Erin Kilbride
erin@frontlinedefenders.org
+1 207 450 5585

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