The Washington Office on Latin America strongly condemns the April 27 attack against human rights activists in the state of Oaxaca that left two people dead and several others injured. We are concerned by the Mexican government’s failure to promptly investigate the incident; according to media reports the state authorities did not go to the area until the day after the attack.
On April 27, 2010 a group of approximately 30 human rights observers, including several Mexican organizations and networks and citizens from Finland, Germany, Italy and Belgium, were ambushed by an armed group while en route to the San Juan Copala community in the Trique Indigenous area of Oaxaca. Two observers – Tyri Antero Jaakola from Finland and Beatriz Cariño the head of the organization CACTUS based in Oaxaca – were killed. Five other Mexicans, some with bullet wounds, were trapped in the area until April 29 when they were able to escape.
The Triqui region of Oaxaca is one of the most marginalized in the country; it is also the source of intense inter-community conflict that has resulted in several deaths. The residents of San Juan Copala have been without basic services for several months due to a blockade by an armed group based in the area. The state and federal governments have not adequately addressed these conflicts or taken appropriate measures to investigate and sanction those responsible for the violent acts that have occurred.
WOLA laments the death of the observers Tyri Antero Jaakola and Beatriz Cariño. We urge the Mexican government to provide urgent medical attention to the observers who were wounded in the attack and to protect all of those affected by this violent act. We further call on the government to carry out an urgent, thorough and impartial investigation into the attacks against these observers and to bring those responsible to justice.
Associate for Mexico and Central America