Monday, September 30, 2013

Guanajuato Preaudience Denounces Violations of Right to Clean Water // Preaudiencia Guanajuatense Denuncia Violaciones del Derecho al Agua Limpia

This past September 20th saw the presentation of the National Preaudience on the Devastation of the National Hydraulic System in Mexico.  The hearing was an incredible experience, with 13 cases presenting over the course of the day.  Roughly 500-600 individuals attended throughout the day. 
Despite the wonderful attendance, many were unable to attend in person.  For those unable to be present, there is a wealth of information available about the hearing, as well as about the case presented by the Coalición en Defensa de la Cuenca de la Independencia (CODECIN).  Some of those materials will be shared here in this space.


El pasado 20 de septiembre, se realizo la Preaudiencia Nacional sobre la Devastación del Sistema Hídrico Nacional.  La Preaudiencia fue una experiencia increíble, con la presentación de 13 casos sobre el transcurso del día.  Alrededor de 500-600 personas asistieron al evento durante el día.
Aunque hubo una asistencia muy buena, muchos no pudieron asistir en persona.  Para las personas quienes no pudieron estar presente, exista una gran cantidad de información sobre la Preaudiencia, tanto sobre el caso presentado por el anfitrión, la Coalición en Defensa de la Cuenca de la Independencia (CODECIN).  Se compartirá algunos de estos materiales aquí en este espacio. 


1) An impressive article chronicling the day of the Preaudience. // Un articulo  impresionante con una crónica del día de la Preaudiencia: 


2) Audio recordings of the case presentations during the hearing. // Grabación por audio de la presentación de los casos durante la Preaudiencia:


            As more documentation of the hearing is made available, this website will continue to update with those resources. // Mientras que se publica más documentación de la Preaudiencia, este sitio se actualizará con dichos recursos.

 Photo courtesy of CATIS-Mexico. 
Foto cortesia de CATIS-Mexico.

Photo courtesy of the Periódico Ketzalkoatl.  
Foto cortesia del Periódico Ketzalkoatl.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Publicidad Sigue por la Preaudiencia Nacional en Guanajuato

La Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (ANAA) difunda publicidad sobre la Preaudiencia Nacional "Devastación del Sistema Hídrico Nacional", el 20 de Septiembre en Guanajuato:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Preaudiencia Nacional del Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos sobre el Tema del Agua en Guanajuato, México este Septiembre

El 20 de septiembre del 2013, en San Miguel de Allende, estado de Guanajuato, la Coalición en Defensa de la Cuenca de la Independencia (CODECIN) realizará una preaudiencia nacional del Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos.

El tema de la sesión será el sistema hidráulica en toda la republica mexicana, con una énfasis en el caso del Acuífero de la Independencia, ubicado en la parte norte del estado de Guanajuato.

Se ha publicado un breve anuncio de forma audio, anunciando el evento y su lugar.  Aquí se comparte el anuncio en castellano:

Se publicará mas detalles sobre el evento muy pronto.

National Session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal to be held in Guanajuato, Mexico on the Issue of Water

On September 20th, 2013, in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, the Coalition in Defense of the Independence Basin (la Coalicion en Defensa de la Cuenca de la Independencia, CODECIN) will host a national session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal. 

The theme of the session will be the national hydraulic system of Mexico, with a special focus on the case of the Independence Aquifer located in the northern part of the state of Guanajuato. 

A brief audio clip has been released, announcing the event and its location.  That audio clip, in Spanish, is shared here:

More details to be released soon about the event.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Mexico Chapter of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal: Free Trade, Violence, Impunity and Peoples’ Rights

            Legal systems are established to deliver justice to wrongfully injured parties.  Nevertheless, in societies around the world, the law is frequently used to impede, rather than to facilitate, access to justice.  In such situations, the State might use its attributes and powers to benefit private interests that are contrary and prejudicial to public interests.  The Mexico chapter of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) characterizes this phenomenon -- of private interests’ co-opting a State and diverting the State’s resources to private, rather than public, needs -- as “desviacion de poder”: that is, “misuse of power.”[1]

            The concept of “misuse of power” is the central concern of the Mexico chapter of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT).  The Tribunal does not simply affirm legal rights, but also highlights the incompatibility of the free trade economic model with universally recognized rights.[2]  In the Mexico chapter of the Tribunal, the Tribunal’s main theme is “Free Trade, Violence, Impunity, and Peoples’ Rights.”

General Structure of the Mexico Chapter of the Tribunal

            To understand the Tribunal’s work in Mexico, one must understand the Tribunal’s structure.  The Tribunal consists of different audiences and pre-audiences throughout Mexico.  The audiences include (i) a general introductory audience; (ii) seven thematic audiences; and (iii) a final audience. 

The Tribunal held a general introductory audience during May 2012 in Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua.  At this audience, the Tribunal listened to communities and organizations present evidence on the destructive relationship between free trade policies and the seven thematic audience topics.  The Tribunal issued a finding at the end of the general introductory audience about the results of the hearing and initiated the seven thematic audiences.[3]

The seven thematic audiences will continue until the Tribunal adjourns in 2014.  These separate audiences, which are the Tribunal’s “work groups,” cover the following topics: (i) dirty war; (ii) violence against migrants; (iii) violence against women; (iv) violence against workers; (v) violence against food sovereignty; (vi) environmental devastation; and (vii) violence against the media.

Each thematic audience will involve a hearing devoted to one of these topics, considered in relation to the structural violence produced by a free trade, neoliberal economic model.  For example, the Tribunal’s judges will hold a separate hearing on the violence inflicted on women by this economic model.  The Tribunal’s judges will also hold a separate hearing on the environmental devastation caused by free trade neoliberal policies. 

During the separate thematic audiences, the goal is to reveal the relationship that each theme has to violence generated by free trade neoliberal economic policies.  The Tribunal encourages the presenting of witnesses’ testimony at each audience, but does not require it.  Each thematic audience lasts about a day and a half or two days.  The judges issue a finding that is made public at the end of the audience.  Because the Tribunal is a public opinion court, the findings do not legally bind the State or individuals.  Nevertheless, grassroots movements and organizations may use the findings as part of their overall strategies for engaging in civil resistance.

After the seven hearings for the different thematic audiences, the Tribunal will conclude with a final audience.  In the final audience, the judges will use the information collected and the findings issued in the other hearings to discuss free trade’s adverse impact on the rights of the people, to indicate those responsible for violating the people’s rights, to publicize the violations, and to shed light on the relationships between free trade, violence, and the judicial system.[4]

Structure of the Thematic Audiences and Pre-Audiences

Although the work done in each thematic audience is notable, the bulk of the grassroots component of the Tribunal arguably occurs during the pre-audiences. 

The next article in this series will examine the pre-audiences, their structure, their importance to the Tribunal’s mission, and their role in organizing communities practicing civil resistance.

[1] Silvia Ribeiro, Desviación de Poder, La Jornada, July 28, 2012, at

[2] Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos, Boletín Informativo No. 3, at  

[3] Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos, Dictamen de la Audiencia General Introductoria, May 27-29, 2012, at

[4] Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos, Boletín Informativo No. 3, at