Originally published on September20, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico
Goal: Drop the politically motivated charges against a human rights activist leading protests against the construction of an aqueduct
While demonstrating against an aqueduct that will divert water away from an indigenous community, a human rights worker was arrested and falsely charged with abducting a different community’s leader. After leading a delegation to Washington, D.C. to request protection for the indigenous people, Mario Luna Romero returned to Mexico and was arrested days later on politically motivated charges. The Mexican government must drop these false charges and allow the human rights worker to defend the Yaqui community from losing access to its water.
As a spokesperson for the Yaqui tribe, Mario Luna Romero and his community have been working to prevent the construction of the Independence Aqueduct. The project will divert water from the Yaqui River and away from the tribe, despite the fact that it owns 50% of the waterway. After leading protests and requesting an environmental impact study, Romero took a delegation to Washington, D.C. to raise their case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Days after returning to Mexico, Romero was arrested by state police dressed in civilian clothing and driving three or four pick-up trucks. Although they arrested him for abducting a fellow community leader, Amnesty International reports he is at risk of facing an unfair trail that is politically motivated. Romero has been vital to defending the Yaqui community from losing its access to water. Keeping him detained only serves to intimidate the rest of his tribe.
By signing the petition below, you will urge the President Enrique Pena Nieto to end the harassment of human rights workers and drop the politically motivated charges against Mario Luna Romero.
Dear President Enrique Pena Nieto,
While defending the Yaqui tribe from losing access to its water, Mario Luna Romero was arrested on charges that appear to be politically motivated. As a human rights activist, he has led demonstrations against the construction of the Independence Aqueduct that will divert water from the Yaqui River and limit the surrounding community’s access to water. Although the Yaqui tribe owns 50% of the river, they are losing both their water and their community leaders.
Release Mario Luna Romero and drop the charges against him. End the intimidation tactics against the indigenous Yaqui tribe and allow human rights workers to operate without fear of arbitrary arrest. Your people deserve access to water and their freedom. Do not betray them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tomas Castelazo via Wikimedia Commons