Mexico: Community at Risk After Indigenous Leader Killed
Indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos has been killed. Amnesty International fears for the safety of others in his community, especially as some family members were violently attacked during the leader's capture.
On 1 February, Indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos was found dead in Chihuahua State, northern Mexico. Unknown men forcibly took from his home the day before and brutally beat other members of his family during the attack. Inhabitants of the Choréachi community remain at risk.
On 31 January, unidentified armed men broke into the family home of Juan Ontiveros Ramos in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality, beat him and other family members and forcibly took him away. Witnesses heard gunshots immediately after. On 1 February, Juan Ontiveros’ body was found elsewhere in the same municipality.
Juan Ontiveros Ramos was a leader of the Raramuri (Tarahumara) Indigenous People. He was in charge of the security issues of the Choréachi community (also known as Pino Gordo), located in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality, Chihuahua State. On several occasions, he had presented information to the Mexican government on the concerns and challenges faced by his people in relation to criminality, including organized crime in the region. To this effect, he participated on a high-level meeting with state and federal authorities on 20 January.
Amnesty International has information indicating that other members of the Raramuri people have been targeted after briefing authorities or making public statements about their security concerns. Some leaders and their families, as well as staff of NGOs working on the field, had fled the community in previous years following threats and attacks by armed people. Amnesty International believes that other community members, living in Choréachi or forcibly displaced elsewhere in Chihuahua State, are at risk.
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* Call on the authorities to carry out a full, prompt and impartial investigation into killing of Juan Ontiveros Ramos and to bring those responsible to justice.
* Urge them to immediately and effectively protect the remaining Indigenous authorities and their families, in strict accordance with their wishes.
* Seek guarantees for the security of the Choréachi community in accordance, and in coordination with, the Indigenous authorities.
* Ask the authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that forcibly displaced people can safely return to their community if they so desire it.
Here is the contact information you need:
Minister of the Interior:
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong
Secretaría de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, Col. Juárez,
Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06600
Ciudad de México, México
Salutation: Dear Minister / Sr. Secretario
Governor of Chihuahua State:
Javier Corral Jurado
Edificio Palacio de Gobierno Piso 1
Calle Aldama 901
Zona Centro, C.P. 31000
Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México
Salutation: Dear Governor / Sr. Gobernador
Please send a copy to
His Excellency Agustin García-López Loaeza
Ambassador for Mexico
45 O'Connor Street, Suites 1000 & 1030
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A4
Fax: (613) 235-9123
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
111 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Postage: None required
Fax: (613) 996-9607
Amnesty International Mexico
Luz Saviñon 519, Col. Del Valle
Del. Benito Juárez, C.P. 03100
Ciudad de México, México
The Choréachi community has a long-standing history of defence of its territory, including disputes over land limits with neighbouring non-Indigenous towns and peaceful struggles to stop logging in the area.
Other community leaders have been intimidated or attacked in previous years. Armed men killed Raramuri leaders Jaime Zubia Cevallos and Socorro Ayala in different attacks during 2013. In 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted several community members precautionary measures, but the available information points to an ineffective implementation of such measures by Mexican authorities.
Other Raramuri have been attacked for opposing logging and defending their territory. Most recently, armed men killed Isidro Baldenegro on 15 January 2017, in a nearby Raramuri community in the same municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo. Those responsible remain at large.
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