“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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PBI organises meeting on the defence of land and territory in Mexico

On 25 May 2019 PBI organised a meeting between representatives from the international community and organisations that are dedicated to the defence of land and territory rights in Mexico. Two organisations that PBI accompanies attended, Servicios para una Educación Alternativa A.C (EDUCA) from Oaxaca and the Alianza Sierra Madre A.C (ASMAC) from Chihuahua, as well as the Red de Defensores y Defensores Comunitarios de los Pueblos de Oaxaca (Redcom). Additionally, the Australian, Canadian, Spanish, British and Swiss embassies joined the discussion.

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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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PBI México Annual Report 2018

The accompaniment provided by PBI in 2018 benefited to more than 50 civil society organisations and 341 defenders, of whom 65% were women. The work carried out by these people benefits at least 146,351 people and promotes human rights across the whole country.

2018 has been a year of struggle, of resistance, and of extraordinary bravery from those who, on a daily basis, put their lives at risk to defend human rights.

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PBI México Annual Report 2018

The accompaniment provided by PBI in 2018 benefited to more than 50 civil society organisations and 341 defenders, of whom 65% were women. The work carried out by these people benefits at least 146,351 people and promotes human rights across the whole country.

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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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