Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 13, 2021

Indigenous Rights Defenders Battle to Their Deaths in Mexico

Simon Perez, David Valdez, Tomas Rojo, Luis Urbano

Indigenous Rights Defenders Battle to Their Deaths in Mexico

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

MEXICO CITY —  Indigenous Rights Defender Simón Pedro Pérez López, Tzeltal, was murdered by a gunman on a motorcycle in southern Mexico. Simon was the fourth well-known Indigenous rights defender to be assassinated in Mexico since May.

Simon was gunned down outside a market in Simojovel, a town in Chiapas state, on July 5. He was known better as Simón Pedro and had been active in a social justice organization born out of the 1998 massacre of 45 Indigenous people in the nearby town of Acteal.

Simon, shown on the screen, was honored in Paris, as the Zapatistas delegation arrived in Paris this week. Simon was assassinated in Chiapas on July 5, 2021.

The Mexico Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-DH) condemned the murder.

The UN indicated that the murder of the Tzotzil indigenous and human rights defender Pérez López "is another tragic evidence of how violence restricts the work of those who defend human rights in the country."

Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado, representative of the organization in Mexico pointed out that the lack of attention by the authorities to the complaints of human rights defenders puts them at risk, and “the indigenous communities that they dare to raise their voices in this context of insecurity."

Yaqui Indigenous rights leader Tomás Rojo Valencia was assassinated in the northern border state of Sonora.

Tomas disappeared May 27 on his walk at dawn in Vicam Pueblo. Two people have been arrested for the murder of Tomas, who was a leader in the battle against an aqueduct stealing Yaqui River water for the City of Hermosillo. The Yaqui rights struggles include opposing gas development on Yaqui territory, without consultation or approval of Yaqui.

The coordinator of the Citizens' Movement for Water, Alberto Vizcarra Ozuna, questions the versions of the Sonora Prosecutor's Office about the conflict over the installation of a toll booth as the motive for the murder of Tomás, because that was not on the list of priorities of the Yaqui leader.

Tomas' fight was not against the criminal underworld, he says, but against the criteria of a water policy.

"It is evident that the motivations for this crime transcend the simple dispute over a toll booth in Yaqui territory," says Vizcarra in the text we share here.
Read article at Censored News:

The tar sands corporation TC Energy in Canada is linked to the gas pipeline companies in Mexico protested by Yaqui who were assassinated.
Read the article at Censored News

Luis Urbano Domínguez Mendoza, defender of Yaqui natural resources, was shot to death in Ciudad Obregón, in the municipality of Cajeme, in the northern state of Sonora.

Luis accompanied elders of the Traditional Authority of Vicam Pueblo, which maintained the highway blockades in Vicam spanning years to protest the aqueduct using Yaqui River water for Hermosillo.

Luis was leaving a bank in Ciudad Obregón when he was shot and killed on June 8.

The 35-year-old activist was a fierce political and social fighter for respect for the natural resources of the Yaqui tribe. Since 2012 he joined the fight for water and Yaqui lands and in 2019 he participated in the documentary “Yo’eme Labyrinth," in which he recounted the dispossession of the waters of the Yaqui River and its lands.

“Luis always cared about the well-being of his beloved Yaqui tribe and never hesitated to defend it," said Sergi Pedro Ros, director of the documentary, wrote on his social networks.

Further south in Nayarit, David Díaz Valdez was shot to death as he got into his car on July 2. He had led opposition to the building of a power generating plant in his largely Indigenous community on the Pacific coast, and he had recently been jailed, apparently for refusing to hand over an ambulance used by his community.

David said in jail he feared for his life because of government opposition.

Mexico's governmental National Human Rights Commission said 12 activists have been killed so far this year, eight of whom were environmentalists.


jpierre said...

These acts against humanity will eventually turn against the establishment... Just ask the French aristocracy. Oh, wait ... there is none left to ask.

Unknown said...

Hello! I am a French journalist, writes about and published a book about land defenders...
Thank you for your vigil !
I wonder why it isn't possible to copy at least the defenders name in your articles...
It seems to me that the easiest it is to pread these stories, the better.
I'll try writing about Tomas Rojo and the other Mexican heroes you drew my attention to...
Best wishes to you!
Elisabeth Schneiter

Censored News, publisher Brenda Norrell said...

Thank you for commenting. Please e-mail me for a copy of the text in this article. Thank you, Brenda.