Assassination of human rights defenders proceed in Honduras, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and the Philippines

January 29, 2016

On 30 November I referred to the systematic killing of human rights defenders in 2015 [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/closing-civil-society-space-a-euphemism-for-killing-human-rights-defenders/] and mentioned the annual report by Front Line for 2015 listing Latin America and the Philippines as the most dangerous places [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/latin-america-philippines-most-dangerous-places-for-human-rights-defenders/]. If further illustration is needed, here some short summaries of cases of killing human rights defenders as reported by Front Line over the last few months:Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

Honduras: Killing of LGTBI rights defender Paola Barraza. On 24 January 2016, human rights defender Ms Paola Barraza was assassinated by unknown attackers in front of her house in the neighbourhood of Lempira, in Comayaguela. Paola Barraza, a trans woman, was a member of the board of directors of Asociación LGTB Arcoíris (LGTB Rainbow Association). The human rights defender was at home when  unknown persons knocked at her door and called her outside. When Paola Barraza answered the door she was fired upon five times. She died at the scene as a result of her wounds.  Paola Barraza was previously attacked in connection with her LGTBI rights work on 15 August 2015  [https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29495] Between 23 June 2015 and 31 August 2015, three other LGTBI rights defenders working in country were killed https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29495.

 

Venezuela: On 22 January 2016, human rights lawyer Mr Héctor Sánchez Losada was shot and killed by two unidentified gunmen in the city of Maturín, in the state of Monagas. Héctor Sánchez Losada was a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal Bar Association in the state of Monagas (Comisión de DDHH de la Federacion de Colegios de Abogados en el estado Monagas). The human rights defender was travelling to a meeting with a client on Libertador Avenue when he was attacked by two unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle, who shot him in the back. The human rights defender was immediately taken to a local hospital, but died of his wounds upon arrival.

 

Peru: On 28 December 2015, four unidentified gunmen shot and killed human rights defender Mr Hitler Ananias Gonzales Rojas in the province of Celendin, Cajamarca region. Apart from being a well-known campesino leader and president of Central Unica Nacional de Rondas Campesinas del Peru – CUNARC (Peasant Patrols), He was also a prominent human rights defender and vice-president of Frente de Defensa del Yagén (Yagén Defence Front). Hitler Ananias Gonzales Rojas was shot eight times in the head and chest and died at the scene of the attack.  [The assassination of Hitler Ananias Gonzales Rojas follows previous instances of his persecution and intimidation. [Other human rights defenders working on issues of land and environmental rights, such as the human rights defender and campesino leader Mr Cesar Estrada, suffered two attempts on his life in September and November 2015 [https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/30040].

Colombia:  On 13 November 2015, human rights defender Mr Daniel Abril was killed in his home town of Trinidad. Daniel Abril was a member of the Casanare chapter of the Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado – MOVICE  (Movement of Victims of State Crimes). He was one of the most prominent voices against human rights abuses allegedly committed by oil companies in the Casanare department.  MOVICE is a national human rights organisation working with victims of the armed conflict, monitoring and seeking justice for human rights violations committed by the State and paramilitaries. Daniel Abril and other members of MOVICE have been the subject of threats and other forms of harassment. Front Line Defenders is concerned at the escalating threats against MOVICE members and express further concern for the reduction of protective measures provided by the UNP, in spite of the escalating threats and attacks.

Philippines: On 28 September 2015, human rights defender Mr Lito Abion was shot dead by unidentified men in Agusan del Sur. Lito Abion was a human rights defender and a member of Tagdumahan, a grassroots organisation in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, which fights for the rights of Lumad – an indigenous community in Mindanao. Tagdumahan has been resisting the entry of mining in the ancestral lands of the Banwaon and Manobo communities in Agusan del Sur due to environmental and economic concerns about the impact of the mining project on Lumad’s livelihood. The human rights defender was shot dead at a bus terminal in Agusan del Sur. Lito Abion, who was working as a driver there, was talking to his fellow drivers, when one of two passengers on a red Honda XRM motorcycle, pulled out a handgun and shot the human rights defender. He sustained two bullet wounds in his back and another in his neck. The attackers fled on the motorcycle immediately afterwards.  Mr Jun-jun, a driver who had witnessed the killing, said that it was the same motorcycle that was used when Angis Precioso, a founding member of Tagdumahan, was killed in San Luis, Agusan del Sur on 22 December 2014.

Indigenous peoples’ rights defenders in the Philippines face repeated targeting, including killings and harassment. On 1 September 2015, Mr Emerito Samarca, who was the director of the Alternative Learning Centre for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) for the Lumad people, was killed, alongside two other members of the Lumad indigenous community.  https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29504. On 13 September 2012, Mr Genesis Ambason, who was the Secretary-General of Tagdumahan, was killed near San Luis, Agusan del Sur https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/19857. 

 

One Response to “Assassination of human rights defenders proceed in Honduras, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and the Philippines”


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