Honduran indigenous leader assassinated

Jose Santos Sevilla.

In Honduras, indigenous leader Jose Santos Sevilla has been assassinated by armed gunmen in his home in Montana de la Flor, north of the capital, Democracy Now! said on February 21.

Santos Sevilla was the leader of the indigenous Tolupan people, who are fighting to protect their ancestral lands from industrial mining and logging projects. In 2015, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples warned of rampant violence against Tolupan organisers, including assassinations, as well as state impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.

Santos Sevilla’s assassination comes only days before the anniversary of the assassination of Berta Caceres, a Honduran indigenous environmental organiser. Caceres was killed by armed gunmen in her home on March 3, as she was leading a struggle against hydroelectric dams threatening the ancestral land of the Lenca people.