The United Nations should step in to investigate human-rights violations against aboriginal peoples in the Mexican state of Chiapas, says Ted Moses, the Cree ambassador to the UN.

Moses returned last week from an eight-day human-rights mission in Chiapas as part of the Indigenous Initiative For Peace, organized by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu. “Testimony we received clearly indicates there were human-rights violations, including torture and extrajudicial executions.”

Aboriginal people in Chiapas fed up with poverty and state terrorism took up arms against the Mexican government on New Year’s Day. Hundreds have died in the fighting between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Mexican army. “There is a lot of sympathy for the Zapatistas among indigenous groups. People got fed up with not being heard. They decided enough is enough,” said. The North America Free Trade Agreement “will lock in even poorer conditions” for Chiapas residents, he added. “The elites and filthy rich want even more benefits.”