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Yaqui Assassinated and Disappeared Not Included in New Report to UN Human Rights Council

by Brenda Norrell
The assassinations and disappearances of Yaqui, in Sonora, Mexico, south of the Arizona border, are not included in the new report of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the impacts of militarization. The report is now being presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Yaqui Disappeared and Assassinated Not Included in New UN Human Rights Report

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, Sept. 13, 2023

In his gentle way, Tomas Rojo explained how Traditional Vicam Yaqui are protecting the Yaqui River water from being stolen for an aqueduct for the city of Hermosillo. Tomas was the spokesman for Traditional Vicam Yaqui, and they maintained a highway blockade for years to protect their water.

Tomas was bludgeoned to death and left in the desert.

Nearby, Loma de Bacum Yaqui were going for a cow for a traditional feast, when 10 community members were disappeared. They were traditional security guards opposing a gas pipeline in their village.

These and other assassinations and disappearances of Yoeme, Yaqui, in Sonora, Mexico, south of the Arizona border, are not included in the new report on the impact of militarization on Indigenous Peoples, by the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The report is now being presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Further, the government of Mexico is presented in a positive way in the report -- without the government and military of Mexico being held accountable for their roles in the torture, rape, assassinations and disappearances of Indigenous Peoples -- and the murder of the journalists who report their stories -- in Mexico.

The assassinations and disappearances continue throughout Mexico. Indigenous Peoples in the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca, are increasingly the victims.

The Expert Mechanism report reveals only a portion of the facts. The report says:

"In Mexico, through a process of consultation and dialogue, the Federal Government and the Traditional Authorities of the Yaqui People reached an agreement in 2021 on a justice plan to address their historical claims to land and territory, and water, and in relation to the environment, and for their well-being, security and full development. At the presentation of the Yaqui Justice Plan, the President of Mexico apologized to the Yaqui people for the historical injustices," the report states.

However, the UN report does not include the fact that the Yaqui Justice Plan was protested by Yaqui in Vicam. The families of the disappeared, Bacum Yaqui, protested as the president of Mexico delivered his so-called 'Yaqui Justice Plan' in Vicam, Sonora.

Loma de Bacum Yaqui were uninvited and removed as Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presented his so-called 'Justice Plan,' in Vicam, Sonora. Bacum Yaqui are demanding the return of their kidnapped family members alive, and say the identification of remains by the government, of five of the ten men, is not credible.

When they were kidnapped, they were serving as security for Bacum Pueblo, which is opposing the Sonora gas pipeline IEnova, the Mexican subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy. Bacum Yaqui said the President's "Justice Plan" will not halt the theft of Yaqui River water for the City of Hermosillo.

Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, knew Tomas Rojo, and she attended the annual Yaqui International Water Forums of the Traditional Vicam Yaqui Authority, in Sonora, Mexico.

Rivas responded to the failure of the United Nations to tell the stories of the real people and hold the governments responsible.

"These real people do not know the so-called advocates for the communities, going around to world venues and talking about things they are nowhere near. Living in concrete jungles with all their amenities, they are far from the lives of those who are a hundred miles from a grocery store," Rivas told Censored News.

"Their fruitful deceitful lives are publically questioned and their abandoned patriotic flags will be flown."

Rivas said the real people are standing strong, regardless of those who appear before the United Nations to promote their non-profit organizations for financial gain.

Rivas said the report to the United Nations Human Rights Council is padded with words stolen by college professors and non-profit executives. Those words are used without permission, and without credit to the Native people who live on the land and struggle every day to survive.

"All the words are directly from the defenders who gave their lives and still stand strong with the real people -- the people who traveled for days to arrive at isolated communities to sit on the land and make offerings in their fire," Rivas said.

"The hearts are not on the ground. No pretend indigenous, or professor-of-deceit or gated-community-book-producer, words thief, can take our strength."

"Relatives defend your words and own experiences in this lifetime existence. The pretenders return back to your plastic-wrapped lives of greed, and exploit your own delirious delusion."

Tomas Rojo, speaking at the International Water Forum, hosted by the Traditional Yaqui Authority in Vicam, Sonora, said the struggle was for the people and future generations. Vicam Yaqui organized during the gathering, and for several years maintained highway blockades on a major highway through their community, to protect their land and water, and in protest of the theft of Yaqui River water for an aqueduct to the City of Hermosillo.

"In the last 500 years of the Yaqui Tribe, like the majority of Indigenous Peoples, the main element that has always weighed on the conscience of our people and each one of its men, women, children and elders is the struggle for the land and the water," Rojo said in Spanish in 2012, in a video interview with Censored News.

"We will not rest until we connect our objectives and achieve this task that rests in the memory of our elders. The only thing that we do is to give continuity, under conditions not as severe, for what they fought for."

"They fought in the mountains among the stones, among the thorns, among the bush, among the wild animals that were their friends."

Read more:

Loma de Bacum Yaqui protested Mexico's president's Justice Plan at Vicam, and demanded the return of their disappeared family members.

Top photo: Tomas Rojo, Vicam Yaqui, brutally assassinated in 2021, and found in the desert near his home.

Copyright Brenda Norrell and Ofelia Rivas, Censored News
by Brenda Norrell
The annual International Water Forum was hosted by the Traditional Vicam Yaqui Authority, in the heart of the community, in Sonora, Mexico, in 2012. Tomas Rojo, later assassinated in 2021, spoke on the struggle for future generations in honor of the ancestors. Photo by Brenda Norrell, Censored News.
by Brenda Norrell
Loma de Bacum Yaqui protested Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during his presentation of the Yaqui Yaqui Justice Plan in Vicam, Sonora, Mexico in 2021. They demanded the return of their 10 disappeared family members.
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