PBI-Mexico shares Tlachinollan alert on security risk to defenders Manuel Olivares Hernández and Teodomira Rosales Sierra

Published by Brent Patterson on

On April 3, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project posted an alert from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, which PBI has accompanied since 2003.

The Tlachinollan alert notes:

In recent days, on 22 and 26 March, extremely serious information was published, which puts the life of defender Manuel Olivares Hernández at risk. The publication that circulated on social networks points to comrade Manuel as “defender of drug trafficking.” It disqualifies his work for accompanying the victims of internal forced displacement in the municipality of Leonardo Bravo.

Since November 13, 2018, more than 1,800 people from five communities in this municipality have been forced to leave their homes due to the violence caused by groups of armed civilians. …Unfortunately, the agreements they signed with the Ministry of the Interior have not been able to guarantee the return of displaced families to their communities.

For a year, the struggle has been arduous due to the situation of violence in the mountain region and the climate of animosity that has been generated against comrade Manuel Olivares and comrade Teodomira Rosales Sierra.

At the end of December, comrade Teodomira was the victim of a sexual assault by an elite group of the state police, commanded by the secretary of public security David Portillo Menchaca. The comrade Teodomira, in addition to throwing her to the ground and submitting her, a police woman put her charge weapon on her chest.

During the month of March this year, several acts of violence have been registered in the communities of Carrizal de Bravo, Balzamar and Tepozonalco in the municipality of Leonardo Bravo, registering several dozen people killed and some homes burned down.

As companions of civil human rights organizations, we demand from federal and state authorities security guarantees for comrades Manuel Olivares and Teodomira Rosales, as well as all members of the Morelos Center, who accompany victims of forced internal displacement.

We demand that the federal authorities, both the Secretary of the Interior and Public Security, comply with the commitments assumed to guarantee the return to their communities of the displaced families, as well as to restore order and security in the region.

To the state authorities, we reiterate our position not to criminalize or disqualify the work of human rights defenders from the Morelos Center. Police officers who sexually assaulted comrade Teodomira and those who beat comrade Manuel have to be investigated.

They also have to investigate the origin of these smear campaigns, which emanate from the state security organs and which aim to discredit their work and encourage violent action against the defenders of the Morelos Center.

This alert has been signed by 86 groups including the Saltillo Migrant Shelter, the Juan Gerardi Human Rights Centre, the Paso del Norte Human Rights Centre, the Fray Juan de Larios Centre for Human Rights, the Cerezo Committee, and the Gobixha Committee for the Comprehensive Defence of Human Rights all of which are accompanied by PBI-Mexico.

The full statement can be read here.

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