Caravan from Ayotzinapa, Mexico to Ottawa
On September 26, 2014, Mexican state security forces attacked a group of students from the teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, killing 6 people and forcibly disappearing 43 others who were never seen again. The crime has pulled the veil off an acute human rights crisis in Mexico. The search for the students has uncovered more than 15 mass graves, none of them containing the bodies of the students.
The SJF worked closely with other Canadian unions, solidarity and human-rights’ organizations to welcome a Caravan from Ayotzinapa, Mexico to Ottawa to bring a student leader from Ayotzinapa, a parent of one of the disappeared students, and a human-rights lawyer representing the students’ families to Canada in order to tell their story to the public and to Canadian policy makers. The caravan took place from 11 April to 2 May 2015.
The caravan generated media coverage about human rights violations in Mexico in general and attacks on the Indigenous peoples of Mexico in particular, and the challenges facing those seeking justice. It pressed Canadian parliamentarians and policy makers to acknowledge the human rights crisis in Mexico, to hold the Mexican government to international human rights standards, to review Canada's program of cooperation with Mexico, and to eliminate barriers for people seeking protection in Canada.
Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA)
Mexico has seen a serious escalation in the systematic and brazen violation of trade union rights over the last six years. The rights to organize, to collective bargaining, to strike and job security, all enshrined in national and international law, are under attack. Mexican workers are in the fight of their lives against a concerted effort by government to destroy their independent union movement.
Given the increase of state and para-military violence against trade unionists in Mexico, a Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA) has been created to engage unions in Mexico, the USA and Canada to be actively involved in supporting the demand for freedom of association and labour rights in Mexico. The TNSA monitors the situation in Mexico, and denounces attacks against workers and their efforts to organize democratic unions. It promotes a decent standard of living for working people in all three countries. The SJF continues to be closely involved with the TNSA.
[Photo credit: Mexican Electrical Workers Union in permanent struggle]