Prominent campesino (peasant farmer) leader Margarita Murillo was shot dead in the community of El Planón, north-western Honduras, on 27 August. The safety of other members of her organization and family could be at risk.
In the morning of 27 August Margarita Murillo (56) was working on a piece of land in the community of El Planón, near the municipality of Villanueva in the department of Cortés, when she was shot dead. Margarita Murillo’s dead body was found over her mattock with shots to her face and chest. The fatal attack occurred after she had reported being under surveillance and receiving threats in recent days. Over the weekend of 30 August, police officers wanted to force their way into Margarita’s daughters’ home, arguing it was part of the investigations into her death.
Margarita Murillo was the president of the campesino organization of Las Ventanas (Empresa Asociativa Campesina de Producción Las Ventanas), which is part of the National Federation of Campesinos of Honduras. She was also an active member of the Social Forum of the Sula Valley (Foro Social del Valle de Sula). On 19 August, as president of the campesino organization of Las Ventanas, she attended a very tense a meeting in the National Agrarian Institute (Instituto Nacional Agrario, INA) about issues related to land disputes in Las Ventanas. In April 2014 another member of Las Ventanas campesino group was killed in circumstances that are yet to be clarified.
Margarita Murillo worked for over 40 years defending the rights and better living standards of campesinos and women campesinos in Honduras. She was a founding member of the national campesino trade union (Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo) and of the Liberty and Refoundation party (Libertad y Refundación, LIBRE) which was created after the June 2009 coup d’état. In the 1980s Margarita Murillo suffered torture and persecution in reprisal for her activism. In the violent context of the 2009 coup d’état, Margarita’s 23-year-old son was disappeared and was found a few weeks later. Since the time of the coup d’état, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had ordered Honduras to protect her safety, but these measures were never implemented.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to carry out an immediate and independent investigation into the killing of Margarita Murillo, to make the results public and bring those found responsible to justice;
- Urging them to protect Margarita Murillo’s colleagues and family members in accordance with their wishes;
- Calling on the authorities to adopt and fully implement a mechanism to protect those who are at risk of reprisal for their work in defence of human rights, and reminding them of their responsibilities as established in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 OCTOBER 2014 TO: (Time difference = GMT - 6 hrs / BST - 7 hrs)
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