Mexico: illegal raid on the home of Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Myriam Vargas Teutle

Luis Alvaz / Creative Commons

MEX 002 / 0422 / OBS 028
Trespassing /
Threats /
Intimidation
Mexico
26 April 2022

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Mexico.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has received with concern information about the illegal search of the home of Mr. Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ms. Myriam Vargas Teutle, both members of the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua (Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water, FPDTA-MPT), an organisation that defends human rights, land, territory, environment and self-determination of Indigenous peoples in the states of Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala.

On 5 April 2022, unknown persons broke into the home of Juan Carlos Flores and Myriam Vargas Teutle in the village of Santa María Zacatepec, municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, state of Puebla. The fence of their land and the door of the house were forced and their room was searched. Both defenders found their personal documents lying on the floor. The perpetrators stole several valuables and left threatening messages in the house, including a knife on the bed and tampering with a photo of them and their family. These acts constitute a direct threat against the integrity and life of Juan Carlos Flores, Myriam Vargas Teutle, and their family.

On 10 April, Juan Carlos Flores found his home broken into once again, despite having alerted the Mexican authorities about the violent events of 5 April. The perpetrators broke the window pane to gain access to the house, where, once inside, they removed the belongings of both human rights defenders and removed the knife from the bed that Mr. Flores and Ms. Vargas had previously left intact with the intention of preserving evidence of the crime. On 15 April, both defenders went to the house and discovered that a new break-in had occurred between the 11th and the early hours of 15 April. The perpetrators had taken Mr. Flores’ documents and IDs for political events. Ms. Vargas’ IDs were also left lying in the garden.

In the last year, Juan Carlos Flores’ work as a member and lawyer of the FPDTA-MPT has focused on accompanying different Indigenous Nahua communities fighting against the extraction and contamination of water, both in the Cuautla river, in the municipality of Ayala, Morelos, and in Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla. Several companies have been identified as interested in these territories in order to exploit their resources and generate enough electricity to guarantee an industrialisation plan for the region. At the same time, the community of Santa María Zacatepec initiated a process for the recognition of their self-determination as an Indigenous people, which was legally accompanied by Juan Carlos Flores.

The Observatory stresses that Juan Carlos Flores has been subjected to harassment and threats for the past eight years. In 2014, he was imprisoned for 10 months in reprisal for his work in defence of human rights and against the Morelos Integral Project (PIM). At the same time, he faced three judicial processes with arrest warrants, obtaining his complete freedom in May 2018. A year later, in February 2019, Juan Carlos Flores, after the murder of community leader and Indigenous rights defender Samir Flores Soberanes, received threats indicating that he would be one of the next victims.

The Observatory firmly condemns the house raid and threats against Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Myriam Vargas Teutle, and their family, which constitute reprisals for their legitimate work in defence of human rights, land, territory, water and Indigenous peoples’ rights.

The Observatory expresses deep concern for the security risks faced by Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Myriam Vargas Teutle, and their family, as well as the collectives and communities of which they are part.

The Observatory urges the Mexican federal authorities and the authorities of Puebla to put an end to the judicial harassment against Juan Carlos Flores Solís, Myriam Vargas Teutle, and their family. The Observatory urges the authorities to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into the raids on their home, as well as the threats against them, so that those responsible are brought before a competent, independent, fair and impartial tribunal, and are subjected to the criminal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided for by law.

Finally, the Observatory calls on the authorities to immediately adopt effective measures to guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity of all the people who form part of the collectives and communities of which Juan Carlos Flores, Myriam Vargas Teutle, and their family are members, including the members of the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water (FPDTA-MPT).

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Mexico, asking them to:

- immediately take the most appropriate measures to guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity of Juan Carlos Flores, Myriam Vargas Teutle and their family, and of all the members of the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water (FPDTA-MPT);

- conduct an immediate, independent, exhaustive, effective and impartial investigation into the raids on the homes of Juan Carlos Flores, Myriam Vargas Teutle and their family, as well as the threats against them, so that those responsible are brought before a competent, independent, fair and impartial tribunal, and are subjected to the criminal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

- immediately put an end to all violence and harassment, including at the judicial level, against Juan Carlos Flores, Myriam Vargas Teutle and their family, and all members of the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water (FPDTA-MPT), as well as against all human rights defenders in Mexico;

- include as a central issue in the federal government’s human rights agenda the establishment of a comprehensive policy of guarantees for the exercise of the right to defend human rights in Mexico, with broad civil society participation.

Addresses:

- Mr. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of the United Mexican States, Twitter: @lopezobrador_
- Dr. Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior. E-mail: secretario@segob.gob.mx
- Mr. Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, Undersecretary for Human Rights and Population, Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB), E-mail: ajencinas@segob.gob.mx
- Mr. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, E-mail: canciller@sre.gob.mx
- Ms. Martha Delgado Peralta, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), E-mail: mdelgadop@sre.gob.mx
- Ms. María del Rosario Piedra Ibarra, President of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), E-mail: presidente@cndh.org.mx / correo@cndh.org.mx
- Mr. Luis Miguel G. Barbosa Huerta, Governor of the State of Puebla. E-mail: margarita.leon@puebla.gob.mx, Twitter: @MBarbosaMX
- Mr. Ulises Sandal Ramos Koprivitza, Prosecutor of the Specialised Prosecutor’s Office for Human Rights of the Puebla State Attorney General’s Office, E-mail: fiscalia.derechoshumanos@yahoo.com
- Mr. Dr. José Félix Cerezo Vélez , President of the State Human Rights Commission of the State of Puebla, Twitter: @CDHPuebla, E-mail: presidencia@cdhpuebla.org.mx
- Ambassador Erika Gabriela Martínez Liévano, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva, E-mail: mission.mexico@ties.itu.int / mexicounoge@sre.gob.mx
- Ambassador Mauricio Escanero Figueroa, Mission of Mexico to the European Union and Embassy of Mexico to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Duchy of Luxembourg, E-mail: embamex@embamex.eu / hacosta@sre.gob.mx
- Ambassador Luz Elena Baños Rivas, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the Organisation of American States, E-mail: mexico.oea@sre.gob.mx / jlomonaco@sre.gob.mx

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Mexico in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, April 26, 2022

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal (MEX 002 / 0422 / OBS 028) in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
- E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
- Tel. OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39
- Tel. FIDH: + 33 (0)1 43 55 25 18

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