The noted anti-deforestation and environmental rights activist Isidro Baldenegro was murdered in the northern state of Chihuahua in Mexico on Sunday. Baldenegro was killed by gunmen who subsequently fled the scene, one of which has reportedly been identified but not yet detained.
The murder follows not too long after the March 2016 murder of the prominent Honduran environmental campaigner Berta Caceres. As Caceres was as well, Baldenegro was known for his protests of various illegal, land-degrading activities, including illegal logging in the Sierra Madre mountain range.
Also similar to Caceres, Baldenegro was a community leader in an indigenous community (the Tarahumara people in Baldenegro’s case).
“The killing of Isidro Baldenegro Lopez is a tragic illustration of the many dangers faced by those who dedicate their lives to defend human rights in Latin America, one of the most dangerous regions in the work for activists,” stated Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, as quoted by Reuters.
“It is imperative that Mexico investigates this crime and that all governments across the Americas take more action to promote and protect the very important work human rights activists do with so much courage.”
Baldenegro is just the latest land rights defender in Mexico to be murdered in recent years. In total at least 33 land rights activists were murdered in Mexico between the years of 2010 and 2016.
Notably, Baldenegro’s father was murdered for his anti-logging (anti-deforestation) stance when Baldenegro was young. Baldenegro reportedly witnessed the murder.