Nov 15, 2012

OAS Human Rights Commission Demands Protection for Activists

Frontera NorteSur NM State Published: November 12, 2012

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has requested that the Mexican government protect seven Chihuahua rural activists who are spearheading  movements against water over-exploitation and mining. The request was issued in favor of leaders of El Barzon, an organization of small farmers founded in the 1990s, and followed the murder of El Barzon activist Ismael Solorio Urrutia and his wife Manuela Martha Solis Contreras in the Chihuahua countryside on October 22.

An El Barzon leader in the north-central region of Chihuahua,  Solorio was physically assaulted along with a son last October 13 by men allegedly connected to a Mexican division of the Canadian-owned MAG Silver Corporation, which operates a controversial mine on land belonging to the Benito Juarez Ejido in the municipality of Buenaventura.

Shortly after the attack on Solorio and his son, El Barzon leaders met with Chihuahua Government Secretary Raymundo Romero and demanded action in halting violence and threats against their organization’s members.

Only days later, however,  Solorio and his wife were found shot to death in a pick-up after reportedly driving from their home for a medical appointment in the state capital of Chihuahua City. Denouncing the murders as a “state crime,” enraged El Barzon leaders displayed the bodies of Solorio and Solis in the state capital building before burying the couple in a funeral attended by hundreds. Read more. 

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