Joint Statement: End legal threats against the Nixticuil Forest Protection Committee in Zapopan, Jalisco
On November 17, 2022, a summons was issued to human rights defender Hector de Jesus Aguilar Farias and Velvet Elizabeth Ramirez Marchena; they are summoned for a preliminary hearing on December 8, 2022 at the Federal Center for Criminal Justice of the State of Jalisco in Puente Grande. We express our urgent concern about the increase in legal proceedings against the members of the Nixticuil Forest Protection Committee operating in the municipality of Zapopan.
The document they received has no date or signature from the authorities, but it clearly shows that a case has been opened against them: 54/2022. This hearing gives the authorities the opportunity to formally resume the investigation, violating the right of human rights defenders to defend their territory and freedom (see details below).
The collective was founded in 2005 by people living in areas surrounding the forest, with the goal of protecting approximately 1,800 hectares of land from deforestation caused by real estate developers and increasing urban sprawl in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
Empresa Desarrolladora Jarha initiated this legal action to challenge the decision of SAPI de CV to close the investigation. Thus, the previous decision of the authorities not to proceed with the previous criminal case can be canceled. This previous case, FED/JAL/GDL/0003860/2021, was filed against land rights defenders Hector de Jesús Aguilar Farias, Velvet Elizabeth Ramirez Marchena, Laura Sofia Herrera Rivera, José Martin Preciado Ruvalcaba, as well as legal representatives and members. Committee, Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco and Juan Carlos Flores Solis.
These acts of criminalization, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), “result in the abuse of criminal law, which consists in the manipulation of the punitive power of the state by state and non-state actors. intended to impede their advocacy work and therefore prevent the legitimate exercise of their right to defend their human rights” 1. This additional prosecution sends a message of fear that seeks to undermine their work and undermines the protection of the forest.
Therefore, we call on the federal justice system to:
Respect and always ensure due process of law, due diligence and legal certainty for the benefit of Héctor de Jesús Aguilar Farias, Velvet Elizabeth Ramirez Marchena, Laura Sofia Herrera Rivera, José Martin Preciado Ruvalcaba, Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco and Juan Carlos. Flores Solis.
Guarantee at all times the physical integrity, life and safety of the people who make up the El Nixticuil Forest Protection Committee, as well as their legal advisors.
Stop prosecutions to guarantee free and legal protection of land and territory.
Front line defenders
Swe FOR Mexico
Committee at Defensa del Bosque El Nixticuil
Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos
“All rights for all” (Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos)
Centro de Justice Para la Paz y el Desarrollo AC
ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America; Casa del Migrant Saltillo; Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA); Derechos Humanos Center of Montana Tlachinollan; Centro de Derechos Humanos Zeferino Ladrillero (CDHZL); National Social Communication Center (Cencos); Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH); Contact and information with Mujer AC (CIMAC); Consorcio Para el Dialogo Parlamentario y Equidad, Oaxaca AC; Instituto de Derecho Ambiental AC (IDEA); Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” (RedTDT); and Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (Serapaz). CSO Space is supported by Peace Brigades International (PBI).
After months of uncertainty regarding the legal status of the investigation, during which human rights defenders were unable to access the file and exercise their rights, Committee members learned that the investigation against them was officially closed on December 17, 2021.
In June 2022, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (FGR) prosecuted human rights defenders by creating investigative materials based on an alleged investigation by federal authorities, during which a member of the Committee was illegally detained in their office and questioned about the crime. collective. The defender also visited his home where the photographs were taken without justification or prior formal notice. These persecutions violate their rights to privacy, judicial protection and judicial guarantees.
Real estate developers of Jarha SAPI DE CV and Construvida SAPI. de CV is publicly accused of contributing to deforestation with the “Miralto Residencial” project in the El Nixticuil Forest. The construction is located near the declared area of the “Bosque el Nixticuil-San Esteban-El Diente” Hydrological Conservation Natural Area, which was misclassified as an urban reserve for high-density housing in the Partial Urban Development Plans of the city of Zapopan.
1 IACHR, Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, OEA/Ser. L/V/II. Document 66, 31 December 2011