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HRD Attack

14 Aug 2023

Juana Inés Ramírez - Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (Ucizoni)

Incident date
14 Aug 2023
Date accuracy
All Correct
Juana Inés Ramírez
Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (Ucizoni)
Indigenous peoples, Human rights group
Intimidation & threats
Target: Individual
Location of Incident: Mexico
Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec S.A de C.V. Mexico Transport: General, Railroad
Other actors


On 14 August 2023, Juana Inés Ramírez, a defender and member of Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (Ucizoni), was detained by members of the state police, whilst her vehicle was searched by the police and the Navy at the access to the La Esperanza neighborhood, in the municipality of Santa María Petapa. She stated that she was rudely interrogated by an ex-Navy police commander who refused to identify himself. Ramirez identified herself to the officers and indicated that she collaborates with the Union and that she is part of the protection mechanism for human rights defenders, to which one of the officers replied that he did not care about that and continued to search her vehicle.

Ucizoni has been threatened and attacked on different occasions due to their work defending indigenous rights in the South of Oaxaca. Threats against them have increased since the announcement of the Inter-Oceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) project, with the participation of majority State-owned company Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec S.A. de C.V., in the region. This project includes the eventual development of a commercial-industrial corridor between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, the construction of commercial ports, a network of primary and secondary roads, digital connectivity networks, a gas pipeline, as well as ten industrial parks. The project also plans to connect with another large-scale investment project, the "Tren Maya". These projects pose a risk to the livelihoods of the 12 indigenous communities living in the area, as well as to the preservation of their territory and environment.

In March 2023, the police attacked a UCIZONI protest camp, which had been blocking the Mogoñe Viejo-Vixidu railway line for 24 days. Following the attack, 11 community members received notifications that they were being criminally investigated, and on 28 April, 6 of those community members, Maria Magdalena Martinez Isabel, Esperanza Martinez Isabel, Elizabeth Martinez Isabel, Eliodoro Martinez Isabel, Fernando Hernández Gomez y Adela Severo Teodoro, were arrested. In the same month, Carlos Beas, director of the organisation, received death threats.