PBI-Mexico highlights Indigenous community of Ayutla’s lack of water during the COVID-19 pandemic
Residents put this banner up on a main road when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador visited in January of this year. It says: “Welcome to the territory of San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla Mixe, a community with 957 days without drinking water.”
On April 1, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project shared on its Facebook page a message from Codigo DH, a human rights group it accompanies.
Codigo DH notes, “The villagers of #AyutlaMixe this month turned more than a thousand days without water. …In these days of the health emergency we urge reconnection to facilitate preventive work in the face of the Covid-19 crisis and the season’s stretch.”
Educa Oaxaca, which is also accompanied by PBI-Mexico, has previously tweeted, “Indigenous Mixe community of Ayutla has suffered without water, due to land grabs by an armed group from neighboring Tamazulápam. Threats to Ayutla continue, yet the state government asks Ayutla to cede more territory.”
Furthermore, Mexico Daily News has reported, “The municipalities of San Pablo Ayutla and Tamazulapam del Espíritu Santo in the Mixe region of the state have disputed the boundaries of their communities for 50 years, fighting over 3,600 hectares of land between them, on which there is only one spring.”
“Authorities from Tamazulapam say that according to their documentation the spring belongs to them, but residents of the neighboring town beg to differ.”
A clash between the communities broke out over this issue on May 17, 2017.
Proceso adds, “The armed group from Tamazulapam took the spring, cut off the supply of drinking water and destroyed the hydraulic infrastructure of the community (two water tanks and pipes that connected 70% of the indigenous population).”
“That situation was denounced as a crime against humanity. However, state and federal officials, with knowledge of the risks and facts, did nothing to avoid major problems.”
And it notes that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has received the file related to this collective violation of the human right of access to water committed against the entire Ayutla community.
Being able to wash your hands with clean water is an important tool is preventing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.