UN condemns murder of Mexican activist

MEXICO CITY (HPD) — The United Nations human rights office on Friday condemned the killing of an activist who opposed the construction of a dam in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Oaxaca prosecutors said the body of Filogonio Martínez was found on Wednesday with no signs of violence. But the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said he had been shot to death.

He was a member of the group Consejo de Pueblos Unidos por la Defensa del Río Verde, which since 2008 has been fighting plans to build a hydroelectric dam on that river.

Recently, the populations of the area won a court battle against the government project. Land conflicts also abound in the region.

The council said another five anti-dam activists were killed in 2021, after which they were promised protection by state authorities.

Mexico has become the deadliest place in the world for environmental and land defense activists, according to a global investigation by the NGO Global Witness. In 2021, 54 activists were murdered, compared to 33 in Colombia and 26 in Brazil. In the year they killed 200 activists worldwide, according to the group.

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