Mexico: Sergio Rivera indigenous & environmental defender who opposes Minera Autlán’s hydroelectric project was disappeared

On August 23, Sergio Rivera Hernández, an environmental leader at the Sierra Negra of Puebla, was kidnapped and disappeared by unknown. Sergio Rivera is member and leader of the Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista, he has been working against the establishment of hydroelectric projects developed by Minera Autlán. People in the community hold that the local authorities and the company might be responsible for possible attacks and aggressions against Sergio Rivera.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Center invited Minera Autlán to answer the allegations; the answer is available below

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Autor/in: Frontline Defenders

On 23 August 2018, indigenous and lands rights defender Sergio Rivera Hernández disappeared while riding his motorbike in the municipality of San Pablo Zoquitlán, Puebla. Sergio Rivera Hernández is a human rights defender of indigenous Nahua origin and member of Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista (MAIZ), a national organisation working since 1996 on environmental, indigenous and lands rights in different regions across Mexico. He has also been active in protecting the rights of indigenous communities in the region who are exposed to human rights violations as a consequence of the construction of Coyolapa-Atzatlán hydroelectric system in the Sierra Negra region of the state of Puebla, a project consisting of two dams lead by the Mexican company Minera Autlán. On 23 August 2018, just after 6 p.m., Sergio Rivera Hernández disappeared while travelling with his motorbike from his home in Coyolapa to his community in Tepexilotla, 20 minutes away... Sergio Rivera Hernández has previously been subject to several threats and attacks in relation to his work as a human rights defender…

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Antwort
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Autor/in: Minera Autlán

The company deeply regrets the disappearance of Mr. Sergio Rivera Hernández...Also, we emphasize that we have no link to this unfortunate incident, nor does we have any relationship with Mr. Rivera Hernández ... The company reiterates its permanent disposition to provide the necessary information to the competent authorities of the case. The company calls on the authorities to take the necessary actions to find Mr. Rivera Hernández safe. The company has assumed a good neighbor role in each of the communities close to its operation, through the development of social investment programs, which aim to contribute to its socio-economic development. Finally, Autlán has always had an open dialogue with the inhabitants located in its areas of influence and will continue to promote it.  [This is a non-official translation from the Business & Human Rights Resource Center, the complete response is available in Spanish here]