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Indian council wants UN intervention over human rights violations in Mexico

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the Yaqui Tribe Traditional Authorities of Loma de Bácum, in Sonora, México on Monday, May 28, 2018, filed an Urgent Action to various UN Special Rapporteurs requesting their intervention to halt ongoing human rights violations being carried out by the government of México against that community.

António Guterres
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. Photo credit: UN /Mark Garten

Among the examples presented in the Urgent Action, the community claims they have endured armed attacks in their territories that have resulted in death, injuries, kidnapping, harassment, illegal incarceration, and intimidation, including by low-level helicopter flights over their territory, as well as death threats to Traditional Authorities, their Legal Counsels and technicians, and human rights defenders.

The community members of Pueblo de Bácum or Loma de Bácum have actively opposed the construction of the Megaproject known as “Gasoducto del Noroeste”, in its fraction/section Guaymas-El Oro, which crosses the territory of the Yaqui Nation by 90 kilometres in length and 6 kilometres in width, encompasses 54 hectares, which would then be occupied for a period of 25 to 30 years, with compensation of only $60 million pesos as payment for this term, which equates to $1,111.11 pesos by hectare (11 cents by square metre), a value that represents dispossession of territory. Additionally, there is a risk of explosion of the pipeline to the communities that are within the reach of direct and indirect effects of this gas pipeline.

The Traditional Authorities of the Heroic Pueblo of Loma de Bácum, which belong to the Yaqui Tribe, Sonora, México, appealed to the applicable federal authorities and won a demand of Protection to halt the construction of said mega-project in their territory, as per the resolution emitted by the Judge of the 7th District in the City of Obregón, Sonora, México, and in favour of the Yaqui Peoples of Loma de Bácum.

Although they have this judicial resolution, federal, state of Sonora’s and municipal authorities have violated its disposition and have continued to move towards the construction of this mega-project, and have also committed acts of aggression against the Pueblo of Loma de Bácum. Said project has been made violating the right to self-determination and without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Indigenous Peoples of Loma de Bácum and the entire Nation of the Yaqui Tribe.

The Urgent Action also calls for justice for the Indigenous relatives assassinated: Cruz Buitimea Piñas and Víctor Adolfo Molina Vázquez; calls for the release of Fidencio Aldama Pérez, incarcerated unjustly; and that any investigation file against the Traditional Authorities of the Heroic Pueblo of Loma de Bácum, their technical advisors and human rights defenders that defend the sacred territory of the Yaqui Tribe be cancelled. Also, that the delinquent actions that occurred with the illegal imprisonment and disappearance of Human Rights Defenders of the Yaqui Nation, María Anabela Carlón, and Isabel Lugo Molina, be sanctioned.

The Urgent Action request was directed to the following UN Special Rapporteurs on: the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the situation of human rights defenders, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, hazardous substances and wastes, safe drinking water and sanitation, so they can exercise their mandates and call on the Government of México to put a halt to the wave of violence, repression and violation to their fundamental Human Rights that the federal, state and municipal authorities have been carrying out against the Heroic Pueblo of Loma de Bácum, hence the Yaqui Tribe.

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