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UN expert concerned over rights violations in Mexico violence

[JURIST] A UN human rights expert expressed concern Tuesday about human rights violations allegedly committed by a Mexican paramilitary group in the Mexican province of Oaxaca during clashes between protesters and the police. Rodolfo Stavenhagen [official website], the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, cited "the killing and wounding by gunfire of innocent victims, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, illegal searches and breaches of due process." Tensions have been high in the tourist town of Oaxaca [BBC Q/A] since May, when a group of leftist labor and social organizations, who have since banded together as the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) [group website, in Spanish], occupied Oaxaca to demand the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz [Wikipedia profile]. On October 27, four people were killed [AP report] and several others were wounded during police confrontations with the protestors.

Stavenhagen released a statement [text] Tuesday saying:

The Special Rapporteur is extremely concerned with the use of force to counter protests arising from deeply entrenched social issues and recommends the Federal and State authorities to fully comply, at all times, with Mexico's international human rights commitments.

The Special Rapporteur calls on the Mexican authorities to investigate the reported acts of violence, and to prosecute those responsible of these acts according to international standards. He also calls on both the Federal and state Governments to continue to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict, and to refrain from any further action that could block negotiations. He appeals to the Popular Assembly of Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and other social organizations to continue promoting dialogue between all the parties involved, in the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to their various demands, and to avoid violent confrontations.
UPI has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.

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