Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 11, 2023

Yaqui Disappeared and Assassinated Not Included in New UN Human Rights Report

Tomas Rojo, spokesman for Vicam Yaqui Traditional Authority, assassinated

Yaqui Disappeared and Assassinated Not Included in New UN Human Rights Report

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, Sept. 11, 2023

Tomas Rojo was someone I knew. In his gentle way, he explained how Traditional Vicam Yaqui were protecting the Yaqui River water from being stolen for an aqueduct for the city of Hermosillo. Tomas was the spokesman for Traditional Vicam Yaqui, and they maintained a highway blockade for years to protect their water.

Tomas was bludgeoned to death and left in the desert.

Nearby, Loma de Bacum Yaqui were going for a cow for a traditional feast, when 10 community members were disappeared. They were traditional security guards opposing a gas pipeline in their village.

It is sad to see that these, and the other assassinations and disappearances in Mexico, south of the Arizona border, are not included in the new report on militarization to the UN Human Rights Council.

The United Nations has failed to take seriously the epidemic of assassinations and disappearances of Indigenous Peoples, by mining and development corporations based in Canada, the United States and Australia, and to hold the governments, military and law enforcement responsible for their crimes -- including Mexico.
UN Report Promotes Mexico President's Yaqui Justice Plan -- Which was Protested by Yaqui

Further, the government of Mexico is presented in a positive way in the United Nations report. The government and military of Mexico are not held accountable for their roles in the torture, rape, assassinations and disappearances of Indigenous Peoples -- and the murder of the journalists who report their stories -- in Mexico.

The assassinations and disappearances continue throughout Mexico. Indigenous Peoples in the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca, are increasingly the victims.

The report states:

In Mexico, through a process of consultation and dialogue, the Federal Government and the Traditional Authorities of the Yaqui People reached an agreement in 2021 on a justice plan to address their historical claims to land and territory, and water, and in relation to the environment, and for their well-being, security and full development. At the presentation of the Yaqui Justice Plan, the President of Mexico apologized to the Yaqui people for the historical injustices.

The UN report does not include the fact that the Yaqui Justice Plan was protested by Yaqui in Vicam. The families of the disappeared, Bacum Yaqui, protested as the president of Mexico delivered his so-called 'Yaqui Justice Plan' in Vicam, Sonora.

Loma de Bacum Yaqui protested Mexico's president's Justice Plan at Vicam, and demanded the return of their disappeared family members.

Loma de Bacum Yaqui were uninvited and removed as Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador so-called 'Justice Plan,' in Vicam, Sonora. Bacum Yaqui are demanding the return of their kidnapped family members alive, and say the identification of remains by the government, of five of the ten men, is not credible. 

When they were kidnapped, they were serving as security for Loma de Bacum Pueblo, which is opposing the Sonora gas pipeline and mining in Sonora, south of the Arizona border. They are protesting Sonora gas pipeline IEnova, the Mexican subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy through their village.

Bacum Yaqui said the President's 'Justice Plan' will not halt the theft of Yaqui River water for the City of Hermosillo.

Non-Profits, Professors and Frauds are Benefiting from Grassroots Struggle

Their story, the story of the Traditional Vicam Yaqui, is not included in the new report to the UN Human Rights Council. It is the story of their lives, and their struggle, to protect their water, land, and people. It is the story of the brutal assassinations and the heartfelt loss of disappearances. It is the story of the Yoeme, Yaqui, at their Traditional Vicam Yaqui International Water Forum, organizing their resistance. 

Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, knew Tomas Rojo, and she attended the annual Yaqui International Water Forums of the Traditional Vicam Yaqui Authority, in Sonora, Mexico.

Ofelia also attended the Intercontinental Gathering of Zapatistas, hosted by the Traditional Yaqui Authority in Vicam. During the gathering, Subcomandante Marcos and the comandantes from Chiapas -- who live in the mountains, jungles and along the rivers of Chiapas -- met with those in struggle and resisting, from around the world, including Mohawks in Vicam Pueblo.

Currently, some groups are using the Zapatistas' name, and the name of EZLN, for the purpose of financial profiteering and are attempting to co-op the movement, especially in urban areas of Mexico and the United States.

However, Marcos said that the names of the Zapatistas and EZLN should not be used in connection with any non-profit organization, fundraising or begging for money. The struggle is for autonomy, dignity and self-reliance, Marcos said.

Ofelia said the real people are standing strong, regardless of those who appear before the United Nations to promote their non-profit organizations for financial gain.

Ofelia said the report to the United Nations Human Rights Council is padded with words stolen by college professors and non-profit executives. Those words are used without permission, and without credit to the Native people who live on the land and struggle every day to survive.

"These real people do not know the so-called advocates for the communities, going around to world venues and talking about things they are nowhere near. Living in concrete jungles with all their amenities, they are far from the lives of those who are a hundred miles from a grocery store."

"Their fruitful deceitful lives are publically questioned and their abandoned patriotic flags will be flown."

Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham

The real people are standing strong.

"All the words are directly from the defenders who gave their lives and still stand strong with the real people. The people that traveled for days to arrive at isolated communities to sit on the land and make offerings in their fire.

"The hearts are not on the ground. No pretend indigenous or professor of deceit or gated community book producer, words thief can take our strength.

"Relatives defend your words and own experiences in this lifetime existence. The pretenders return back to your plastic-wrapped lives of greed, and exploit your own delirious delusion."

Tomas Rojo, speaking at the International Water Forum, hosted by the Traditional Yaqui Authority in Vicam, Sonora, said the struggle was for the people and future generations. Vicam Yaqui organized during the gathering, and for several years maintained highway blockades on a major highway through their community, to protect their land and water, and in protest of the theft of Yaqui River water for an aqueduct to the City of Hermosillo.

"In the last 500 years of the Yaqui Tribe, like the majority of Indigenous Peoples, the main element that has always weighed on the conscience of our people and each one of its men, women, children and elders is the struggle for the land and the water," Rojo said in Spanish in 2012, in a video interview with Censored News.

"We will not rest until we connect our objectives and achieve this task that rests in the memory of our elders. The only thing that we do is to give continuity, under conditions not as severe, for what they fought for."

"They fought in the mountains among the stones, among the thorns, among the bush, among the wild animals that were their friends."

Copyright Brenda Norrell and Ofelia Rivas, Censored News, may not be used without written permission. Content may not be used for financial gain, or any other purpose.

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