I used to work for Enlace in the Lacandona jungle region in Chiapas, southern Mexico, on the issues of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, as well as that of food sovereignty, solidarity economy and sustainable agriculture. It was from having this job for eleven years that brought a certain form of persecution to my life from the State Government. In November 2009, our house was raided, we were assaulted and tortured; my children, my wife and myself were all separated from each other for around fifteen minutes, which was a form of torture in itself.
After this, we started to file reports. First, we filed a public report and subsequently we filed a formal criminal complaint, with the help of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre. As we continued to endeavour to protect ourselves, my family and I started receiving death threats. The perpetrators tortured my wife, kidnapped and raped her; this was a way of attacking me personally.
As a result of this, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights implemented some preventative measures on behalf of the state, that we didn’t really want, because the same thing happened, in that they raided our house and assaulted us. However, now we have preventative measures in place implemented by the police. One of these measures is to carry out an investigation into what happened and punish those responsible; but to date nothing has been done and the Government and the State has not acted in accordance with the law. They have not pursued our case despite listening to our appeals. At the moment I am unemployed. As a result of these preventative measures, we have been stigmatised and we are now without colleagues or friends. This has been very difficult. However, Front Line Defenders has given me the opportunity to be here and tell you about this case.
Today, I would like to request on behalf of my family for those organisations that have supported us (Front Line Defenders, the World Organisation Against Torture, Amnesty International, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and the offices of the European Union Embassies) to continue to speak out against the Government of Juan Sabines Guerrero, who is still threatening defenders in the region and its journalists.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here and I salute and respect the work that Human Rights Defenders carry out in all corners of the world.
As a result of these preventative measures, we have been stigmatised and we are now without colleagues or friends. This has been very difficult.