Killing of 3 indigenous HRDs in Honduras on 25 August

August 30, 2013

On 25 August 2013, human rights defenders Ms María Enriqueta Matute, Mr Armando Fúnez Medina and Mr Ricardo Soto Fúnez were killed in an attack in Honduras. The three belonged to various tribes of the Tolupán indigenous people, from Locomapa, in the Yoro zone, and had been involved in a peaceful protest against a local mining operation and the construction of a hydroelectric dam in their indigenous zone.

They were reportedly participating in a peaceful sit-in protest in San Francisco Campo, blocking the main road to Locomapa together with some 150 other Tolupán indigenous people. The protesters refused to let any traffic through. Around 5pm, the protesters were approached by two men known locally, who after a short exchange of words opened fire on the three human rights defenders. It is reported that Armando Fúnez Medina and Ricardo Soto Fúnez died on the spot, while María Enriqueta Matute ran to her nearby home, where she was tracked down by the gunmen and fatally shot. To date, the police has not yet opened any investigation into the killings.

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped is alarmed at the deteriorating security climate for human rights defenders in Honduras, resulting in a situation in which human rights defenders, particularly defenders of environmental rights and those belonging to indigenous groups, frequently operate in a context rife with killings and other serious threats to their safety, while prosecution levels for crimes against them remain almost negligible.

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