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Urgent Act: Armed Police Raid Zapotec Communities, Oaxaca, please help them before it's too late :)
Take Urgent Action: Armed Police Raid Zapotec Communities in Oaxaca :)
In clear violation of the Indigenous and Tribal People's Convention, on May 6th approximately 1500 state and federal police officers raided a peaceful blockade at the "Trinidad" mining site of Cuzcatián Mining Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines, Inc. of Vancouver, Canada.
Take action now to tell Mexican authorities and Fortuna Silver Mines to respect indigenous territories and human rights.
The indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico continue to face violent government repression as they attempt to protect their territorial, land and water rights from the destructive practices of this Canadian mining corporation.
"Killer Mines Get Out" - Komala Ramachandra*
Since March 16th, community members have peacefully blockaded the mine, citing concerns about environmental impacts and dwindling water resources. Prior to the people's efforts to shut down the mine, independent laboratory tests confirmed the presence of cyanide, mercury, arsenic, and lead contamination in regional water supplies.
It is estimated that at least 150 community members were occupying the mine when police arrived and began their armed raid. The police aggressively removed community members using tear gas, police dogs, firearms and beatings. Many of the community members have been detained by police and some are even missing. Other communities in the region were surrounded by police and not permitted to leave.
Mexico ratified the Indigenous and Tribal People's Convention of the International Labor Organization, which requires that a government with sub-surface or mineral rights formally consult affected people before granting permission for mining exploration. However, the Zapotec communities resisting the Trinidad mine say they were never informed of the mining concessions made on their land. What followed was an escalation of rights violations:
First, their land was given away to a transnational mining corporation by the government without their knowledge and prior informed consent.
Protests against the mine mounted when cattle began to die, water tables dropped, and lethal chemicals were detected in the water supply.
Fortuna hired paramilitary forces to intimidate and harass protesters at the mine.
Finally, when the community decided to occupy the mining site to prevent further damage to their territory, they were met with armed state repression.
Demand that Mexican authorities and Fortuna Silver Mines be held accountable for these grave human rights violations.
Grassroots International's partners in the region, the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) and Servicio del Pueblo Mixe (Ser Mixe), have been the leading voices in defense of the resource rights of the Zapotec and other indigenous communities of the Central Valley region and stand in firm solidarity with those resisting the Trinidad mining site. UNOSJO and Ser Mixe demand:
1. An end to the repression of activists
2. Release of political prisoners protesting the Trinidad mine, and
3. An investigation of the human rights abuses that occurred, and immediate suspension of the concessions of indigenous territories to mining corporations.
Please join people worldwide to stand together against the blatant repression that Mexican authorities have perpetrated against the Zapotec people, who seek only to protect their natural resources, their cultures, and their livelihoods. Your voice is needed to amplify their call.
*Photo above from The Dominion
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