On November 9th, the Oaxaca General Prosecutor’s Office issued a pink alert for the disappearance of environmentalist Irma Galindo Barrios, who has not been located for 14 days.
The defender of the forests of her town Ñuu Savi was in Mexico City collecting food for the Guerrero Grande, Mier y Teran and Ndoyonoyuji communities, in the municipality of San Esteban Atatlahuca. These communities were attacked at the end of October by an armed group after denouncing the depredation of their natural resources. The events resulted in one person dead, four missing, dozens of houses burned down and around 300 displaced, according to the investigation file 35007/FMIX/TLAXIACO/2021.
On October 27th, Irma denounced the conflict that her town Ñuu Savi is experiencing due to the depredation of the forest and practices of the Oaxaca government, such as the forced displacement of the defense inhabitants of Mier and Teran and Ndoyonuyuji. In addition, the environmentalist had already been the victim of defamation, harassment and threats as a result of her defense of the forests of San Esteban Atatlahuca, Oaxaca.
As part of her history, it should be recalled that in 2018 Irma denounced the existence of a sawmill that was destroying the forest with permits from federal authorities and the acceptance of local and community authorities, a situation that was presented to SEMARNAT, without response. That same year, Irma filed a complaint with the Human Rights Ombudsman of the People of Oaxaca and with the regional vice prosecutor in Tlaxiaco for acts of intimidation committed by public servants against her, without following up on the complaints presented.
On October 27th, 2019, Irma denounced the climate of harassment and persecution against her by the municipal president Heriberto Nicanor Alvaro Galindo and the commissioner Crescenciano Sandoval Quiroz. On November 10th, 2019, her house was burned down and she was forced to hide for several days. On the same date, around ten more houses in her community were burned. The municipal president and the community authorities were held responsible for such events.
According to the National Network of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico, the activist had planned to attend the Governing Board of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico City on October 29th, but never arrived. The defender had been protecting herself on her own account since 2019 in the absence of state protection mechanisms.
The president of the Center for Human Rights and Advice to Indigenous Peoples (CEDHAPI), Maurilio Santiago Reyes, reported that the complaint had already been submitted to the Attorney General’s Office. The Network demanded a quick and independent investigation from the Mexican authorities to guarantee the appearance alive of the defender Irma Galindo and asked the international community and its allies to remain vigilant given this situation.
For more information in Spanish:
Emiten alerta rosa por desaparición de la ambientalista oaxaqueña Irma Galindo (Proceso, 10 de noviembre de 2021)
Pide Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca la búsqueda de la defensora Irma Galindo e investigación del caso (El Universal, 10 de noviembre de 2021)
Desaparece Irma Galindo Barrios, defensora mixteca del bosque en Oaxaca; Fiscalía emite alerta rosa (Aristegui Noticias, 11 de noviembre de 2021)
Alertan por desaparición de Irma Galindo, defensora de bosques en Oaxaca(Aristegui Noticias, 18 de noviembre de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Oaxaca: Gobernador Murat Hinojosa presenta tercer informe de gobierno (November 18, 2019)