Mexico - Human rights defender subjected to threats and intimidation

 

 



30 March 2012
 

Mexico - Human rights defender Mr Nataniel Hernández Núñez subjected to threats and intimidation from civil servants
 

On 27 March 2012, human rights defender Mr Nataniel Hernández Núñez received threatening and intimidating sms text messages purportedly from civil servants of the Chiapas State Government. Nataniel Hernández Núñez is the director of the Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa (Digna Ochoa Human Rights Centre), a non-profit civil association based in the Istmo region of Chiapas which works to promote civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as providing legal advice. He was the subject of a Front Line Defenders' urgent appeal dated 23 March 2011 following a campaign of judicial harassment against him.

On 27 March 2012, at approximately 6:55 am, Nataniel Hernández Núñez received a message to his mobile phone from a number which belongs to Antonio Gamboa López, the present Sub-Secretary of Government and Human Rights in the Chiapas State Government. It warned him “Sigo luchando por asunto y me dicen que vas a reincidir. No te compliques. Ya es cuestión de días para resolver” (I continue fighting for this issue and they tell me you are going to insist. Don't make your life more complicated. It is now a matter of days before it is solved). He received four further intimidating messages from the same number that day, one of which said “al que delinque se le persigue” (whoever commits a crime will be persecuted) and with another one minute later stating: “no delincas” (so don't do it).

He also received two messages from the Sub-Secretary of the Government of the Istmo Costa region, Dr. Saín Cruz Trinidad, which read “amigo te hablo con mucho respeto en nombre del Sr. Secretario General de Gobierno nos ayudes a que no se lleve a cabo el paro carretero del 29 ayúdanos para que no afectes a terceros” (Friend I am talking to you with great respect in the name of the Secretary General of the Government help us to prevent the strike on 29th help us so that you don't affect others) and “Ayúdanos a mantener la paz en Chiapas amigo“ (Help us to keep the peace in Chiapas).

The threatening and intimidating messages come in the context of a demonstration organised for 29 March 2012 by members of the Consejo Autónomo Regional de la Zona Costa de Chiapas (Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas), which the Government of Chiapas, through the Sub-Secretariat Istmo Costa and Government Delegation, were trying to stop. The Consejo Autónomo Regional de la Zona Costa de Chiapas is supported by the Centro de Derechos Humanos Digna Ochoa.

Later the same day, at 6:43 pm Nataniel Hernández Núñez received a series of calls from an unknown number and for that reason he did not answer the phone. It was later discovered that the number was that of the offices of the Pijijiapan Delegation in the Sub-secretariat of the Government of the Istmo-Costa region headed by Mario Ramon Becerra.

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern for the physical and psychological integrity of Nataniel Hernández Núñez in light of the intimidating and threatening text messages he received on behalf of officials of the Chiapas State Government. Front Line Defenders believes that these messages are directly related to his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights activities.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Mexico to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the aforementioned threats sent to human rights defender Nataniel Hernández Núñez, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Nataniel Hernández Núñez;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Mexico are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.