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  • Activist and human rights defender Sinar Corzo in jail in Chiapas, Mexico, in August 2013.

    Activist and human rights defender Sinar Corzo in jail in Chiapas, Mexico, in August 2013. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 January 2019
Opinion

The killing of renowned human rights activist Sinar Corzo Esquinca has been condemned by over 100 organizations in Mexico.

The murder of Mexican activist and human rights defender Sinar Corzo Esquinca in Chiapas late Thursday has been publicly condemned by the United Nations and more than 100 non-governmental organizations.

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Sinar Corzo was killed by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday, just 30 meters from his house. He was shot in the head and died instantly.

Buried Friday amid demands for justice, he was recognized for his defense of the right to water, health, security and basic services for citizens of diverse communities in Mexico.

He was a member of the "El Coloso de Piedra" (Stone Colossus) Citizen Committee for the Defense of Human Rights and joined several protests calling for basic rights for communities.

Corzo had previously reported being threatened. In April 2018, he was threatened by an official of then governor and now senator of the PVEM (Green Ecological Party of Mexico), Manuel Velasco Coello.

In 2013, Corzo and another member of the Human Rights Committee were arbitrarily detained by the municipal police during a neighborhood protest over access to drinking water.

Jan Jarab, of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, said: "Sinar Corzo's assassination at the beginning of 2019 is a terrible reminder of the risks faced by those who defend human rights in Mexico."

On Friday, over 100 human rights organizations, including Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center, released a statement saying: "Sinar Corzo received death threats from officials of both the state government and the city of Arriaga, as well as groups of civilians from different places."

Chiapas Governor Rutilio Escandon expressed his condolences and said: "This killing will not remain unpunished; justice will be done."

The Attorney General's Office vowed to "immediately send a special group to start the investigations... in order to clarify the facts and define responsibilities."

Chiapas State Human Rights Commission (CEDH) said it had previously had to order preventive measures to protect Sinar Corzo: twice in 2016 and once in 2017.

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