“I always told the men, ‘You shouldn’t fight with your wives – fight the government!’”: Obtilia Eugenio Manue

Obtilia Eugenio Manuel defends the rights of the Tlapanec people in the state of Guerrero and founded the Organisation of the Me'phaa Indigenous People (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa, OPIM). In November 2019 she received Mexico’s National Human Rights Prize in recognition of her “significant trajectory in effectively promoting and defending” basic human rights. PBI accompanied Manuel between 2005 and 2011.

How and when did you start defending human rights?

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A future in the balance

For more than a decade, totonaca indigenous communities in the Sierra Norte de Puebla have fought for the survival of their traditions and the defense of their territory. In January of this year, they won an important legal battle against the building of a hydroelectric dam with the local municipality revoking the permits for Puebla 1 to be built, due to illegal activities in the administrative processes.

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“Yes to life, no to mining”

On June 22, 2019, PBI accompanied EDUCA (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa) at Oaxaca’s first ever “Guelaguetza” against mining, in the municipality San Martín de los Cansecos. Various communities from the Valles Centrales in Oaxaca joined together to commemorate the state’s annual “Rebellion Against Mining Day” and to reaffirm “¡Sí a la vida, no a la minería!”(Yes to life, no to mining!)

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Racial discrimination and the dispossession of natural resources in indigenous territories without free, prior and informed consent: The case of Choréachi

After two decades of struggle, the Rarámuri community of Choréachi in the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range achieved an important sentence in late 2018. The sentence dictates that the boundaries delineating their ancestral territory must be respected and that the logging permits that were illegally granted to a non-indigenous agrarian community, are invalid.

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Defending territory: A high risk activity in Mexico

Photo credits: Reforma

During the past few months, PBI along with other national and international organisations, has called attention to the extraordinary risk people defending their territory against economic projects are living through in Mexico and across the whole region of Latin America.  During the past weeks these warning have become a reality in Mexico, and unfortunately, the situation we foresaw is beginning to take place.

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Defender el territorio: tarea de alto riesgo en México

Crédito de la foto: Reforma

Durante los últimos meses, PBI junto con varias otras organizaciones nacionales e internacionales, hemos llamado la atención sobre el riesgo extraordinario en que viven las personas quienes defienden su territorio en contra de proyectos económicos en México y por toda la región de América Latina. Durante las últimas semanas en México estas advertencias se han convertido en realidad, y lamentablemente, la situación que prevenimos se ha empezado a llevar a cabo.

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Weighing up the new government

From PBI we observe certain important actions from AMLO´s new government that favour the protection of human rights defenders in Mexico, however at the same time we have noted a few tendencies that concern us.  In this article we look at a few achievements and challenges for the new government and the reactions from Mexican and international civil society about the first few weeks of the MORENA government.

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