Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: "Human rights" group blames government for everything

A group of activists from Europe, calling itself La Comisión Civil Internacional de Observación de Derechos Humanos (CCIDH), has issued a report to the press which blames the state government for all of the civil unrest which has occurred over the past 8 months here in Oaxaca. I don't know who these people are, but they are not to be taken too seriously for a whole host of reasons.

  • The CCIDH released this report to the press without first or at least simultaneously giving it to the government.

    This would indicate to me that the group is more interested in self promotion than in actually accomplishing anything. As of this morning, the state government still did not have a copy of the report but government officials were being questioned about it. Not yet having even seen the report, let alone read and analyzed it, they were unable to respond.

  • The CCIDH blames 20 deaths of APPO activists on the government police and/or paramilitary hit squads. The group's spokesman, one Ignacio García, says,"There is not one shred of evidence that any of these deaths occurred in armed confrontations."

    That is, to put it succinctly, a bald faced lie.

  • The CCIDH says, "The government's prosecutors and judges have not respected, in every single case, the rights of due process not have they acted as guarantors of the application of the law."

    Let's examine that statement for just a moment. A federal policeman (PFP) has a nail laden rocket fired at him from almost point blank range on Macedonio Alcala. Surviving that attack, the PFP officer and his compatriots chase down and arrest the gunner. The gunner is hauled off to jail. The state prosecutor (Ministerial Publico) takes the report from the police officers and files formal charges against the rocketeer. A judge reads the report and issues an order to keep the gunner in jail and sets a bail amount. A week or so later, someone pays that bail and the APPO thug is back on the street, awaiting his trial date.

    That happened 144 times on November 25 and in the weeks that followed. But the CCIDH says that "in every single case" the government has not followed due process.

  • The CCIDH rejected the idea that APPO was a violent group and had any "armed elements".

    Obviously, the CCIDH had no representatives on the ground here in Oaxaca from mid May through the end of November. If it did, those observers were deaf and blind.

  • The CCIDH report does not mention, states not one word about barricades in the streets interfering with the daily lives of innocent people, the loss of 4 months of the school year for 1.3 million school children throughout the state, the hijacking of government and privately owned buses, trucks and cars, the torching of those vehicles in the streets, the spray painting of public and private property all over the state requiring some 300 million pesos to clean up, the economic disaster brought on by APPO's violent acts in the streets, the kidnapping of and assaults on both government employees and civilians, the torching of privately owned businesses, the vandalism and robberies of both government and private property nor even the assaults on the homes of Double Whoppers with Cheese and Big Macs where the children's play areas bore the brunt of the vandalism.

Have there been human rights abuses on the part of the government? Of course there have been. Has the state government violated the law? Of course it has. But if one, or more specifically, a group wants to take the government ot task for those violations, it must be fair and even handed. The CCIDH has gone public as a mouth piece for APPO. The organization should not, therefore, be taken seriously.

When a report such as this is issued that is pock marked with inconsistencies, glaring discrepancies, omissions and statements of fact that are easily refuted by just looking around, then the entire report is suspect. One has to question the report in its entirety when there are so many obvious errors. And one has to question the goal, scope, scheme and agenda of such a group.

In fact, this website says that the CCIDH did not arrive until 18 December and yet it has already issued its report. In less than four weeks this organization has managed to investigate - it claims to heve interviewed "more than 350 APPO members and state and federal government employees", research and write and issue a "report" - to the press.

For its part, the state government has responded through the state Secretary General of Government, Manuel García Corpus, who told reporters he had not yet received the reports of the various human rights groups operating in Oaxaca. He reminded reporters that the state government would respond only to the National Human Rights commission, The Inter-American Human Rights commission and the United Nations' High Commission on Human Rights. All three of these organizations have staffs in Oaxaca and are working on their respective reports.

I don't expect those various reports to be particulary complimentary to the state government. But I also don't expect those reports to absolve APPO goons of any and all responsibility for what occurred here from mid May through November of 2006. I they do, then those reports are not to taken seriously either.

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