Oaxaca: government disputes rights report; police block religious gathering

An international commission of human rights observers announced Jan. 21 that at least 23 people were killed and a number of cases of physical abuse and sexual assaults against women were recorded during the months-long conflict in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca last year. The Barcelona-based International Civil Commission for Human Rights Observation (CCIODH), headed by Spain’s Ignacio Garcia, presented a preliminary report on the violations of the rights of civilians, teachers and activists of the Oaxaca People’s Assembly (APPO).

In that regard, Mexican writer Carlos Monsivais, who participated in the presentation of the report, condemned the aggressions against citizens and representatives of the media. “We cannot allow the violation of human rights in the name of a democratic process,” he said. The Oaxaca state government only admits between 11 and 17 killed in the conflict.

The commission, comprised of representatives from eight countries including the United States, Canada and Europe, will present its conclusions about rights violations during the conflict in the coming days to the Mexican government and to the European Parliament. (El Universal, Jan. 21)

Civil rights abuses appear to be continuing in Oaxaca. Organizers protested Jan. 21 that Oaxaca City police blocked access to the courtyard of the city’s central Cathedral of Santo Domingo to prevent people from attending an ecumenical religious gathering entitled “For a Peace that is Born from Justice,” organized by representatives of various denominations acorss the state. Riot police surrounded the city’s central square, the zocalo, and blocked off all streets leading to the cathedral. “These lamentable facts were clearly acts of intimidation,” charged Alejandro Castillo of Oaxaca’s Center of Ecumenical Studies. (La Jornada, Jan. 21)

Sources archived at Chiapas95

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