Subject: Re: Berkeley Passes Chiapas Resolution

Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 13:46:58 -0700 (PDT)

From: ejel@lmi.net (estelle jelinek)

To: NCDM <moonlight@igc.org>

CC: owner-chiapas@eco.utexas.edu

On Tuesday, July 14, 1998, the Berkeley City Council passed the following resolution in support of indigenous rights and the protection of human rights in Chiapas. The Chiapas Support Committee urges you to use this resolution as the basis for resolutions in your own cities. It also urges you to lobby your congresspeople to pressure the Mexican government to allow the International Red Cross to resume distributing food, medicines, and other necessities to the communities of Chiapas, which are suffering extreme poverty and malnutrition

WHEREAS the people of Berkeley are committed to the promotion of human rights through the City Council Human Rights Ordinance; and

WHEREAS the people and government of the United States support, as a matter of principle, the peaceful struggle for democracy throughout the world; and

WHEREAS the indigenous people of the Mexican State of Chiapas have clearly and peacefully demonstrated a desire for economic, social, and cultural justice, as well as political democracy in Mexico; and

WHEREAS the Mexican government refuses to recognize the Indigenous Rights Agreement, which it signed in 1996 with the Mexican State of Chiapas; and

WHEREAS the Mexican government has militarized Chiapas and has been accused of serious human rights abuses against the people of Chiapas; and

WHEREAS the indigenous people of Chiapas have agreed to peace accords negotiated with the Mexican government and have clearly shown their willingness to achieve a peaceful resolution, which includes democracy, dignity, and justice; and

WHEREAS the 1997 U.S. Appropriations Act for Foreign Operations prohibits the use of funds for international narcotics control by security force units accused of human rights violations; and

WHEREAS U.S. military aid sent to Mexico to combat drugs is being used against indigenous communities in Chiapas which are not involved in drug trafficking; and

WHEREAS The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives last year passed resolutions criticizing the Mexican government for its complicity in narcotics trafficking; and

WHEREAS the people and government of the United States have a responsibility to back up their words and principles with appropriate action; and

WHEREAS Berkeley residents and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other Bay Area residents, and their friends, and/or their relatives have traveled to Chiapas to observe and monitor the human rights situation there and have been evicted, denied visas, and/or had their person and/or their peaceful travel violated in Chiapas; and

WHEREAS Berkeley residents are directly impacted by U.S. policies in and toward Mexico and especially in Chiapas by the violation of the human rights of American citizens to travel, to learn about the situation in Chiapas firsthand from human rights representatives, and to lobby for a peaceful solution to the low-intensity war going on in Chiapas;

Now therefore be it RESOLVED BY THE BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL: That the Council strongly recommend that all military support for the Mexican government be suspended until there is significant documented progress in the peace process in Chiapas, as well as full compliance with international human rights laws; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Manager be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States of America, to the President of Mexico, to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, and to each member of the California congressional delegation.

Chiapas Support Committee, sponsoring organization
Co-Sponsors:
Centro Latino
Comite Emiliano Zapata
Appropriate Technology Exchange
Global Exchange
La Pena del Sur
St. Joseph the Worker Church
Colectivo Apoyo Latinoamericano
East Bay Women for Peace
Marin Interfaith Task Force
Social Action Committee of the Fellowship of Berkeley Unitarian Universalists
La Pena Cultural Center

About the Chiapas Support Committee

The Chiapas Support Committee, founded in 1994, is a nonprofit group of all volunteers. It raises funds for the human rights work of the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos para las Etnias de Chiapas, A.C. (Human Rights Coalition for the Ethnicities of Chiapas, Inc.), which provides food, blankets, clothing, and medicines to indigenous communities that have been ousted from their homes by the Mexican military, most of whom are now living in refugee camps, especially since the brutal Acteal massacre on Dec. 22, 1997. On behalf of Enrique Perez Lopez, president of the Coalicion, the Committee is lobbying U.S. senators to investigate the denial of a tourist visa to him by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City in April 1998; Perez Lopez had been scheduled to visit the Bay Area to report on conditions in the refugee camps and on documented human rights abuses throughout Chiapas.

The Chiapas Support Committee also raises funds to support a women's economic cooperative in Chiapas and for food for compesinos who are suffering severe malnutrition because of the drought, military-induced fires that destroy crops and arable land, and military roadblocks to nearby towns for provisions. The Committee works in coalition with other Bay Area and national organizations in these efforts to help indigenous peoples in Chiapas.

Chiapas Support Committee P.O. Box 3421 Oakland, CA 94609 (510) 654-9587
cezmat@igc.org>Estelle,

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