On Tuesday, April 27th a caravan of 25 human rights observers, reporters and teachers was ambushed by an armed group of paramilitaries in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Two members of the delegation were killed in this attack, Betty Alberta Cariño, the director of Center for Community Support Working Together (CACTUS) along with Tyri Antero Jaakkola, a human rights observer from Finland, with 15 more reported injured.
This delegation, including representatives from Mexican organizations, members of the independent teachers union, reporters and European observers, was attacked en route to provide humanitarian assistance to a Triqui (indigenous people of that region) community located within the municipality of San Juan Cópala in western Oaxaca – which had declared autonomy in 2006. Community members had long-reported human rights abuses at the hands of armed paramilitary groups reportedly aligned with state authorities. The delegation had planned to investigate and document these abuses, abuses that have reportedly intensified since January of this year when paramilitaries created a blockade around the community that has effectively cut off access to basic services, including electricity and water, and shut down the local school.
We urge you to join groups both in Mexico and around the world to condemn these murders and call for Mexican authorities to carry out a prompt and thorough investigation into these attacks, and take steps to ensure the safety of these and other human rights defenders working in this region.
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