OAS rights chief blasts Mexico indigenous policy

Florentin Melendez, president of the Interamerican Human Rights Commission (CIDH), in Mexico on an official visit, registered protest on the Mexican government’s policy for indigenous peoples. He said the pre-NAFTA reform of the Mexican constitution’s Article 27, allowing privatization of collective lands, has had a “destructive” effect on indigenous culture. He especially cited the example of Chiapas, where the “individual parcelization” of collective lands has broken up comunities, left many without land, and sparked a violent struggle over conflicting claims. (APRO, April 12)

Melendez officially received reports on the persistence of torture and political violence in Chiapas from groups such as the Fray Bartoleme de Las Casas Human Rights Center and Las Abejas, the Tzotzil Maya pacifist organzation targeted in the 1997 Acteal massacre. (La Jornada, April 12)

Melendez also noted that in Mexico, as in the rest of Latin America, there has been an alarming increase in attacks against human rights workers. (La Jornada, April 12)

All sources online at Chiapas95.

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