Press Release

IACHR Condemns Killing of Human Rights Defender in Mexico

February 12, 2015

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of human rights defender Gustavo Alejandro Salgado Delgado, in Mexico. The Commission urges the State to investigate this killing and prosecute and punish those responsible.

According to publicly available information, Gustavo Alejandro Salgado Delgado, director of the Frente Popular Revolucionario and a human rights defender, was found decapitated and without hands at a site in the state of Morelos. The activist had apparently been reported missing after he had left a public assembly with day laborers from Montaña de Guerrero, whom he was advising about finding housing. According to reports, the human rights defender had also promoted various demonstrations in Morelos related to the case of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa.

In addition, according to the information available, since September 2014 Salgado Delgado had received a series of death threats, allegedly from police agents from the municipality of Ayala. These threats were purportedly linked to his work as a human rights defender.

The IACHR takes note of the investigations that have reportedly been launched by the authorities to clear up these incidents. In this regard, the Commission stresses that it is important for the State to pursue lines of investigation that consider whether this murder was committed in retaliation for Salgado Delgado’s work, and apply all mechanisms at its disposal to punish the perpetrators and masterminds. The investigation must be carried out with due diligence and must be exhaustive, serious, and impartial. Furthermore, the IACHR urges the State to adopt an effective policy of prevention and protection to guarantee the right to life and the physical integrity and security of human rights defenders, so that they can carry out their work in a safe environment, free of attacks and harassment.

As the Commission has indicated before, acts of violence and other attacks perpetrated against human rights defenders not only affect the guarantees of every human being, but can undermine the fundamental role that human rights defenders play in society and leave all those for whom they fight defenseless. The Commission also calls to mind that the work of human rights defenders is critical to building a solid, lasting democratic society, and that rights defenders play a key role in the process of fully achieving the rule of law and the strengthening of democracy.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 011/15