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Third break-in to the house of environmental human rights defenders Juan Carlos Flores Solis and Miryam Vargas Teutle

Estatus: 
Break in and Death Threat
About the situation

On 14 April 2022, unknown persons carried out the third break-in this month into the home of environmental human rights defenders Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Miryam Vargas Teutle in the community of Santa María Zacatepec in the municipality of Juan C Bonilla, in the state of Puebla. The environmental human rights defenders are members of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa del Agua y de la Tierra de Morelos, Puebla y Tlaxcala (FPDATMPT) in the municipality of Zacatepec de Hidalgo, in the state of Morelos. Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Miryam Vargas Teutle report that the police did not respond in time to the request of The Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists that suggested that a patrol should guard the house after the first raid on 5 April 2022.

About the HRD

Juan Carlos Flores SolisJuan Carlos Flores Solís is a human rights defender who, as part of the FPDATMPT, works as a lawyer with more than a dozen Nahua communities affected by the Morelos Integral Project (PIM) and the large-scale developments proposed for the Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala region.

21 Abril 2022
Third break-in to the house of environmental human rights defenders Juan Carlos Flores Solis and Miryam Vargas Teutle

On 14 April 2022, unknown persons carried out the third break-in this month into the home of environmental human rights defenders Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Miryam Vargas Teutle in the community of Santa María Zacatepec in the municipality of Juan C Bonilla, in the state of Puebla. The environmental human rights defenders are members of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa del Agua y de la Tierra de Morelos, Puebla y Tlaxcala (FPDATMPT) in the municipality of Zacatepec de Hidalgo, in the state of Morelos. Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Miryam Vargas Teutle report that the police did not respond in time to the request of The Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists that suggested that a patrol should guard the house after the first raid on 5 April 2022.

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Juan Carlos Flores Solís is a human rights defender who, as part of the FPDATMPT, works as a lawyer with more than a dozen Nahua communities affected by the Morelos Integral Project (PIM) and the large-scale developments proposed for the Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala region. Miryam Vargas Teutle is a Nahua indigenous communicator and women human rights defender from the Choluteca region who, as a member of the FPDATMPT, works in the defence of their territory against the energy megaproject Proyecto Integral Morelos. Members of FPDATMPT have faced various human rights violations including judicial harassment, imprisonment, torture, death threats and killings. In 2019 human rights defender and member of FPDATMPT Samir Flores Soberanes was murdered as a result of his work peacefully defending the territory of his community.

During the latest break-in on 14 April 2022, the unknown persons took papers from a bookcase in one room, a backpack containing several belongings and political event badges, and left the house dishevelled.

On 9 April 2022, unknown persons broke in to Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Miryam Vargas Teutle’s home for the second time through the main bedroom window. The unknown persons took the knife left on the bed in the previous break-in on 5 April 2022, however, this time they left Juan Carlos Flores Solís’ wardrobe open and stole the cistern pump, as well as a gas tank from the garden.

On 5 April 2022, environmental human rights defender Miryam Vargas Teutle found the door to her house open, the gate and padlock on the door broken and signs that a tree in the garden had been cut down. During the break-in, unknown persons left a knife on the bed where both environmental human rights defenders sleep and stole personal items such as a TV screen, important FPDATMPT documents and a printer. They left other valuables in plain sight on the premises.

The continuous raids and the death threat against the environmental human rights defenders takes place after a recent meeting between the President of the Republic and the leader of the Cuautla River Irrigation Association (ASURCO), i to finalize the imposition of the PIM and end the legal and social opposition to the project in the region. There are serious concerns that these acts of intimidation could spread to other communities of human rights defenders in the region, particularly in the context of the development of the campaign "Caravan for Water and Life", which aims to denounce the plundering and looting of natural resources suffered by communities in the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Mexico City, State of Mexico, Morelos, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Querétaro. The plundering of water has been specifically denounced by members of the community of the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, in the state of Puebla, where there is growing social resistance against the plundering of wells and aquifers by the Bonafont bottling company.

The new aggressions come in addition to other violent acts that have been reported by the FPDATMPT to Front Line Defenders such as the intimidation of human rights defenders by the Puebla State Police during a peaceful demonstration in Santa María Zacatepec on 10 June 2021.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern for the lack of protection provided by authorities for the environmental human rights defenders, as well as for their safety and for the safety of other members of FPDATMPT and those who peacefully defend the territory of the community. It believes that the intimidation of environmental human rights defenders is intended to hinder their valuable work in defence of environmental and land rights in Mexico, and represents a pattern of violence against communities who peacefully oppose the exploitation of their territories.