Bettina Cruz Velázquez, a Mexican activist, was arrested on 22 February. The information available suggests that she is the target of unfounded charges and detention is a way to deter her from campaigning to ensure indigenous people’s rights.
Take action now. Ask the Mexican authorities to ensure that Bettina is treated fairly.
Bettina and the World Development Movement
When World Development Movement campaigners went to Mexico for the UN climate talks in 2010, they met with Bettina. She is an incredible indigenous activist who has been campaigning for the rights of indigenous people over those of multinational corporations.
Bettina features in our report Power to the People, which exposed how UK aid money has been used to finance an EDF wind farm project. This project, run through the World Bank, has had a terrible impact on the local indigenous people, especially in terms of their land rights. In addition, all the electricity generated goes to Wallmart (owners of ASDA) and not to the local people who need it.
Bettina‘s campaigning against projects such as these is inspirational. It is outrageous that it seems she is now being persecuted for it.
What has happened?
Bettina, who is a member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Assembly of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Defence of the Land and Territory, was arrested as she left a meeting with the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). She had been there to accompany and monitor the case of a person who had been run over by CFE workers.
According to Amnesty International, her arrest forms part of a pattern of arrests of human rights defenders on unfounded charges of illegal detention of public officials which have resulted in unfair criminal proceedings and long periods in prison for the activists.
After being held in custody, Bettina was released but she still faces serious charges and we want to ensure that she’s treated fairly.
Please call on the Mexican authorities to ensure that the judicial proceedings have not been brought on the basis of unsupported or unreliable evidence and that her right to a fair trial is guaranteed.
Take action now.
Urgent action: Mexican human rights activist and WDM ally arrested | World Development Movement