ASMAC director Isela Gonzalez hopes judgement sets precedent for Indigenous communities defending ancestral territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 11, Sierra Madre Alliance (ASMAC) director Isela Gonzalez participated in a webinar organized by Peace Brigades International and Amnesty International.

She spoke about the assassination of Rarámuri land and territory defender Julian Carrillo, a protector of the community of Coloradas de la Virgen in the Sierra Tarahumara region in the northwestern state of Chihuahua

Community members, including Otón Portillo and Celestino Carrillo (Julian’s son), also took part in this webinar.

The following day, on March 12, a court sentenced one of the two people who killed Julian Carrillo in October 2018 to 48 years in prison. Following that ruling, Gonzalez was interviewed for this article published by El Manana.

Gonzalez commented: “It is a trial that sets a very important precedent, a message of no impunity for the killing of environmental defenders of land and territory, because public prosecutors were sensitive and included the cultural perspective.”

She adds: “Finally, it was worked on and integrated in such a way into the interrogation with cultural relevance, public ministries were opened to the times and rhythms of witnesses, who are Indigenous people of the community or relatives of Julian. CEDEHM and the Alliance set a precedent in comprehensively documenting community and family damage.”

Both ASMAC and the Centre for Women’s Human Rights (CEDEHM) hope the judgment will serve as a benchmark for other Indigenous communities facing the same obstacles in their struggle for respect for their ancestral territory.

Their full statement of the “historic ruling” can be read here.

PBI-Mexico has accompanied ASMAC since 2018.

To see the video of Isela’s presentation, click here.

“We honour his legacy”

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