In a communique published in May, Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA) denounced that in the first half of the year, the civil society organization suffered defamation, aggressions and criminalization due to their work in defense and promotion of human rights.
EDUCA works in Valle Ocotlán and Ejutla with communities and organizations that defend land and territory rights where mining projects at various stages of exploration and exploitation are in progress.
EDUCA receives PBI accompaniment due to the risk they face while carrying out their legitimate work in defense of human rights in Oaxaca, which is related to processes of resistance that they accompany in the state.
In its early warning, published on 14 September, 2016, the office of the Oaxaca State Human Rights Ombudsman (DDHPO) emphasized that land and territory defenders are one of the groups that suffer the most aggressions in Oaxaca.
The context in which EDUCA works is exemplified by complaints made by agrarian and municipal authorities as well as community organizations in Valle Ocotlán and Ejutla such as COPUVO, which works alongside EDUCA, regarding a series of threats they received related to their work in defense of land and territory.
Several villages united against the “San Jose” mining project were also forced to suspend a meeting convened by civil society organizations to continue their work, despite precautionary measures issued by the DDHPO in favor of CSOs and agrarian authorities from Valle Ocotlán and Ejutla in order to attend the meeting.
In their communique, EDUCA expressed concern for the situation and alerted to defamation and harassment campaign that they are experiencing.
In the preliminary report on ending his recent visit to Mexico, Special Rapporteur on the situation of HRDs, Michel Forst highlighted that community leaders and those defending environmental and land rights in opposition to large scale economic projects face violence due to their work.
PBI has accompanied EDUCA since 2013, and has consistently urged the Mexican government to take concrete actions in order to guarantee that those who call attention to irregularities in consultation processes, as well as the negative impacts caused by extraction and infrastructure projects, are able to carry out their legitimate work with adequate security.