WARNING: THREAT TO A HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER OF THE CENOTES (natural and sacred sinkholes***) OF HOMÚN, YUCATAN, MEXICO

One of the representatives of the children of Homún who are defending their indigenous and human rights received a threatening phone call.

● The children of Homún and the Kanan Ts’ono’ot collective have been active in denouncing the risk of contamination of the environment and water due to a 49,000 pig CAFO owned by PAPO.

● The attack occurs a few days before the Second District Court decides whether or not to remove the suspension of activities of CAFO.

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, 6 of April 2022.- One of the representatives of the children of Homún who filed an injunction against the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) of the company Producción Alimentaria y Porcícola (PAPO), a contractor of the company Kekén, was threatened. For this reason, the grassroots organization Kanan Ts’ono’ot (Guardians of the Cenotes) and the human rights NGO Indignacion demand that the authorities guarantee the safety of the human rights defender and all the people who are part of the organization Kanan Ts’ono’ot.

The events occurred yesterday morning, when one of the guardians of the cenotes of Homún received a phone call. Initially, she was asked for information related to the tourist tours of the municipality, but suddenly, she was questioned about her work as an activist.

Specifically, the person on the other end of the line asked if she was afraid to fight for the cenotes and if she was not afraid that something would happen to her children. Homun’s children’s representative asked for the person’s name, but the person only insisted on questioning if she was not afraid for her children’s lives.

All this happens a few days before the Second District Judge, Rogelio Leal Mota, decides whether to withdraw the suspension that has suspended the operations of the 49,000-pig factory, and weeks after 181,000 signatures collected through a digital platform were delivered against this type of industry in the Yucatan peninsula, due to the serious health and environmental impacts.

This is not the first time that actions of intimidation and threats have been carried out against people who have openly spoken against the operation of the CAFO due to the risks of pollution. Previously, several actions of intimidation have been reported against human rights defenders of this Mayan people.

In 2018, a member of Kanan Ts’ono’ot was the victim of threats and extortion attempts. In September of that same year, while the people of Homún symbolically closed the pig factory, a team from the Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), supported by the State Police, placed closure signs on the cenotes of the five coordinators of  Kanan Ts’ono’ot coordination.

And in May 2021, after the definitive suspension of the operations of the CAFO was ratified, the State Government, through the Ministry of health of the state of Yucatan, closed the tourist inns of some members of the board of directors of the Mayan collective.

In addition to these actions, it is important to emphasize that the government of Yucatan has failed to guarantee our rights as Mayan people, and instead has favored and encouraged the meat sector.

On this occasion we are especially alert to the fact that the children of Homún are being threatened, who have the legitimate right to defend their water, their cenotes, their right to self-determination, and to a healthy environment.

To our colleague and human right defender, we tell her not to be afraid and that she is not alone. We are together in the defense of our rights as Maya people. We will not allow her life to be put in danger, nor that of her children, nor that of any guardian of the cenotes.

From the Indignacion team, we demand that the authorities at all three levels provide the necessary measures for the protection of the human rights defender, to whom we express all our support and solidarity. We also demand that the right to autonomy and self-determination of the Mayan people be respected. We will remain alert and vigilant.

Kanan ts’ono’ot

Children representatives of Homún

Indignación, Promotion and Defense of Human Rights A.C.

**** Cenotes are sinkholes of freshwater in a karstic soil; the word comes from Ts’ono’ot, meaning cave with water. Cenotes are sacred for the Mayan people.