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."