Mariano Abarca Prize
November 21, 2019

On November 27, 2019, it will be ten years since the assassination of
Mariano Abarca Roblero, a human rights and environment defender from
Chicomuselo, Chiapas, México. He fought against the social and environmental
impacts of the mining operations in his community, which belonged to
Canadian company Blackfire Exploration, believed to have been involved in
his assassination. Since this time, his family and numerous organizations
have undertaken a long journey to demand justice and that those guilty of
this crime be held responsible. This includes pressuring for investigations
in Canada and Mexico over evidence of corruption, acts and omissions of the
Canadian Embassy that could have contributed to Mariano’s assassination, as
well as the Mexican state’s responsibility for creating a state of impunity,
with ongoing cases before the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal and the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Despite Mariano Abarca’s assassination, across the country and especially in
Chiapas, many defenders continue to struggle in defense of land and
territory, for life and Mother Earth, and against the policies, politics and
megaprojects that threaten the natural commons. These megaprojects pose a
threat to the culture, identity and lives of Indigenous peoples, campesinos,
and even urban populations.

The 2019 “Mariano Abarca Award” will be presented to the Indigenous
organization, Movement in Defense of Life and Territory (MODEVITE by its
initials in Spanish), which has a presence in eleven municipalities in
Chiapas. This award will be presented on November 27th in the Bellas Artes
Auditorium in the historic centre of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas,
Mexico. Representatives of supporting organizations, national and
international networks, as well as the Abarca family will participate.