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  • The 29-year-old Indigenous leader had been reported missing since Sept. 23.

    The 29-year-old Indigenous leader had been reported missing since Sept. 23. | Photo: Nodal - Radio America

Published 30 September 2019 (17 hours 51 minutes ago)

According to environmental organizations, Milgen Soto was killed for leading a fight against a timber company.

Honduran authorities confirmed Sunday the murder of environmentalist Milgen Soto, following the news of his brutal death, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) demanded the country an investigation to find and to punish those responsible.

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According to a report by the Police, Soto’s body was found on Saturday in a clandestine grave located in the community of Locomapa within the department of Yoro, more than 300 kilometers north of the capital Tegucigalpa.

The 29-year-old Indigenous leader had been reported missing since Sept. 23 when he was last seen on his way to the Honorable Tolupan Camp in Defense of Forest and Territory.

Soto was a member of the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia - MADJ), a human rights organization that accompanies communities in their struggle for natural resources and common property. According to environmental organizations, he was killed for leading a fight against a timber company that is exploiting forests in the San Francisco Locomapa tribe.

OHCHR condemned Soto’s violent killing and expressed its solidarity with his family members, friends, and with the Locomapa community.

Also, it urged authorities in Honduras to "exercise due diligence in the investigation, prosecuting and punishing of the perpetrators."

The U.N. agency also asked the Central American country to adopt "a comprehensive policy that will effectively protect activists."

Last February, two Indigenous Tolupan environmental defenders, a father, and his son, also members of the MADJ were assassinated in Yoro.

Their murder occurred even though both men where beneficiaries of precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect them from the constant threats they use to receive.

Honduras is considered one of the most dangerous countries for environmental and land defenders, according to reports from several rights organizations including Global Witness who reported in 2017 that more than 120 people have died for taking stands against dams, mines, logging or agriculture on their land.

The victims were murdered by state forces, security guards or hired assassins. Countless others have been threatened, attacked or imprisoned.

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