Members of an indigenous community in Oaxaca, southern Mexico have been threatened by security staff from a wind farm construction company. The company has been building on their land. Two human rights defenders have also received death threats. Their lives are a risk.
On 21 October, around fifty workers from a wind farm company arrived on land belonging to the indigenous Zapoteca community of Unión Hidalgo in Oaxaca state. The workers destroyed the fence surrounding the land. According to witnesses, they then threatened and insulted community members. A former police officer employed by the company to guarantee security of the project told human rights defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velazquez "if you come back here again we'll burn and kill you" ("si vuelves por acá te vamos a quemar y te vamos a matar"). Another human rights defender Maribel González was told to "leave this place now, we're going to kill you" ("váyanse que los vamos a matar"). Four men believed to be employed as security by the company beat up Arquimides Gómez, a local teacher who has been supporting the community. He was punched in the ribs several times and threatened with a hammer. The community has filed a complaint with the state Public Prosecutor's Office (Procuraduría General de Justicia) against the threats and aggression.
Members of the indigenous community are opposed to the wind farm being built on their land. They argue the construction is taking place without their free, prior and informed consent in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and they are concerned about the impact of the construction on their agriculture and land. As a result of their opposition, they have been subject to threats and intimidation for several months. The construction project was halted on 24 May but the wind farm company has continued to exert pressure on the community and enter their lands.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
• Urge the authorities to provide appropriate protection to the community of Unión Hidalgo and human rights defenders supporting their protest, especially those who have already been threatened by security staff working for the wind farm company
• Urge them to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into the attacks and intimidation, and bring those responsible to justice, ensuring the wind farm company takes measures to prevent misconduct by its staff;
• Urge them to ensure that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities is obtained on the basis of reliable and accurate information on the impacts of the project.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 6 DECEMBER 2011 TO:
Minister of the Interior
Lic. José Francisco Blake Mora
Secretario de Gobernación
Abraham González No.48
Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México, D.F, C. P. 06600, Mexico
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414