On the night of January 3rd, human rights defender Sinar Corzo Esquinca was murdered near his home in the city of Arriaga, Chiapas, which was attributed to hit men on a motorcycle who approached him at close range to shoot him at point-blank.
On his Twitter account, Governor Rutilio Escandon Cadenas expressed his condolences to the family and announced that justice will be done in the case. For its part, the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE in its Spanish acronym) reported that it began investigations into the homicide and sent a Special Group to clarify the facts and determine responsibilities.
Sinar Corzo Equinca was part of the Coloso de Piedra Citizen Committee for the Defense of Human Rights and was actively engaged in defending various causes such as the management of works and roads for indigenous communities, care for the environment, the struggle of tenants and of the Public Market of Coloso de Piedra of to obtain decent spaces for the sale of their products, and had added to the demands for the reconstruction of damages caused by the earthquake of September 7th, 2017. In fact, hours before his death, Corzo Esquinca met with Arriaga municipal authorities to discuss issues related to the construction of La Linea highway and the improvement of fishing communities. He had already reported direct attacks, arbitrary arrest and death threats since 2013.
Following the murder, the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) expressed its condolences to Sinar’s relatives, to the members of the Coloso de Piedra organization and to his friends. It urged the government of Chiapas and the Prosecutor’s Office to implement precautionary measures to protect the relatives of the defender and those who constitute the organization “El Coloso de Piedra”, as well as to investigate the crime in response to the work that the victim was doing.
More than 150 civil society organizations including the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations and SIPAZ condemned the killing of the activist and expressed that they “view with concern this sign of the fragile situation in which human rights defenders find themselves in the state of Chiapas. We call on the Mexican State so that the corresponding authorities conduct a prompt, exhaustive, diligent and effective investigation to bring those responsible to justice and this fact will not be repeated anywhere else.” They recalled that “human rights defenders play a transcendental role for the democracy of our country and their work must be carried out in a safe and autonomous manner.”
For more information in Spanish:
Asesinan a Sinar Corzo Esquinca, activista y defensor de derechos humanos en Chiapas (Proceso, 4 de enero de 2019)
Asesinan al activista Sinar Corzo Esquinca en Chiapas (La Jornada, 4 de enero de 2019)
Asesinan en Chiapas al activista y defensor de pueblos indígenas Sinar Corzo; fiscalía inicia investigación (Animal Político, 4 de enero de 2019)
Activistas condenan asesinato de Sinar Corzo en Chiapas (Heraldo de México, 4 de enero de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: denuncian criminalización de defensores medioambientales en San Cristóbal de Las Casas (28 de diciembre de 2018)
National: 161 Defenders and 40 Journalists Murdered in Last Presidential Term of Office
(December 14th, 2018)