PBI-Canada to help REDETI commemorate the 5th anniversary of the murder of Rarámuri land defender Julián Carrillo

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Indigenous Rarámuri land defender Julián Carrillo was murdered by armed men on October 24, 2018, in his community of Coloradas de la Virgen in the mountainous region of the Sierra Tarahumara in the northern state of Chihuahua.

Mariana Azucena Villarreal Frías of the Network in Defense of Indigenous Territories of Sierra Tarahumara (REDETI) will be in both Ottawa and Washington, DC this coming Tuesday October 24th, the 5th anniversary of Julián’s death.

In December 2019, Mariana’s organization signed this statement that says: “In Chihuahua, in the Rarámuri community of Coloradas de La Virgen, located in the Sierra Tarahumara, four mining concessions were granted without guaranteeing the people’s right to their ancestral lands and to consultation: three to individuals and the fourth to the mining company Evrim S.A. de C.V., which belongs to the Canadian group Evrim Resources Corp.”

We further note that the Evrim Resources Cerro Cascaron project is located in Chihuahua. Initial drilling for gold and silver at this site began on October 4, 2018.

In June 2020, Evrim Resources Corp. merged with Renaissance Gold, Inc. to form a new royalty business named Orogen Royalties Inc. headquartered at 1015–789 West Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The statement signed by REDETI further noted: “Resisting projects of death in this region where extreme violence reigns has a cost: comrade Julián Carrillo, of the Network in Defense of the Indigenous Territories of the Sierra Tarahumara, was murdered on October 24, 2018, shortly after the community denounced the existence of these concessions.”

Amnesty International has also highlighted this concern.

Graciela Martinez has written: “[Julián was murdered] after expressing his opposition to a mining concession in his community’s territory because of its social and environmental impacts.”

And Kathy Price has noted: “The assassination [of Julián] came just a week after he spoke out against the environmental impacts of a mining concession awarded by authorities to a Canadian mining company without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people whose lands would be impacted.”

Additionally, Sierra Madre Alliance (ASMAC) director Isela Gonzalez highlighted in a meeting with the Canadian Embassy in February 2021: “The situation of human rights violations of the Indigenous communities that are located in the Sierra Tarahumara region with more than 1,521 mining concessions from transnational companies, among them several are Canadian.”

Photo of Erika Guevara Rosas (Amnesty International) and Isela Gonzalez (ASMAC) by Raíchali.

TC Energy in Chihuahua

Journalist Martha Pskowski has also written: “Several indigenous activists, including Carrillo and Isidro Baldenegro López, a 2005 recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, were killed [in October 2018 and January 2017 respectively] after standing up to criminal organizations that traffic drugs and illegally harvest timber in the area.”

Pskowski then comments: “Those acts of intimidation discouraged some Rarámuri people from speaking out when the energy company TransCanada [now TC Energy] began building [the El Encino-Topolobampo] natural gas pipeline through the area.”

Further reading: Wet’suwet’en and Otomi land defenders to speak in Ottawa about their resistance to TC Energy pipelines.

The risk to human rights defenders in Chihuahua

The Center for Women’s Human Rights (CEDEHM) has also documented that at least 38 human rights defenders have been killed in Chihuahua between 1973 and 2019.

Global Witness has further noted that 30 land and environmental defenders were killed in Mexico in 2020, 54 in 2021 and 31 in 2022.

We continue to follow this with concern. Look to our social media – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – for posts on October 24 about the commemoration of Julián Carrillo’s struggle to protect Rarámuri lands from extractivism.

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