PRESS RELEASE
April 14, 2000

IED/HLP CONDEMNS MEXICO'S WAR AGAINST THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF CHIAPAS

IED/HLP today denounced Mexico's "duplicity" in the peace process with the EZLN before the 56th Session of the UN Commission of Human Rights in Geneva. The Mexican Government "pays lip service to the ideal of dialogue, while undermining the possibility of meetings in good faith," declared Adam Branch, IED/HLP delegate, in the statement. "The Government presents to the world the fa┴ade of seeking dialogue and working to fulfil the San Andr╚s Accords," remarked Lydia Brazon, IED/HLP executive director in Los Angeles, "but their actions belie this attitude. Every day, more troops occupy the indigenous communities, the 'paramilitaries' extend their terror with total impunity, and the Government refuses to implement any of the agreements already signed. Is this really the search for dialogue? No."

As proof of the continuing militarization, IED/HLP cited the stepped-up counterinsurgency campaign of the summer of 1999, which included assaults on the communities of Nazareth and Amador HernĚndez, and the attack upon Tojolobal villagers of San Jos╚ La Esperanza, during which time 10,000 new troops were positioned in the Lacand█n Jungle.

"The government shamelessly makes promises of democracy and peace to the EZLN, to Mexican civil society, and recently to High Commissioner Mary Robinson, none of which are ever kept," declared Brazon. "We have been informed of military incursions into at least five indigenous communities in Chiapas just since her visit in November, and we are greatly alarmed about the potential for violence in the months after the presidential elections in July."

Until the Mexican Government complies with what it has already agreed to, IED/HLP argued, its new calls for dialogue, especially the 1999 "One More Step to Solve the Conflict in Chiapas," have "no credibility." The proposed Technical Assistance Program between Mexico and the UNHCHR was also of concern to IED/HLP. "Mexico wants to treat this program as a panacea," stated Branch. "They want the world to believe that since they have agreed to this program, the problem of human rights abuses in Mexico is solved. The truth is quite different, however. If the Mexican Government is allowed to exclude Mexican civil society and NGOs from the program's implementation, it will just become another hypocritical part of their human rights rhetoric and divert attention from genuine solutions."


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