Another community activist murdered in Honduras

Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán (MUCA) President José Ángel Flores and his associate Silmer Dionisio George were shot and killed as they left a meeting on 18 October 2016 in Colón, a department in northern Honduras on the Caribbean side (Terra). Agencia Técnica de Investigación Criminal (Atic) Director Ricardo Castro announced on 20 October 2016 that an Atic team, including himself, had been dispatched to the town and would stay in the area until they had concluded their investigation (La Prensa). Former MUCA President Jhony Rivas declared they had condemned the death squads operating in Bajo Aguán as a strategy to rid the area of campesino leaders. Plataforma Agraria del Bajo Aguán spokesperson Yoni Rivas accused the Honduran government of supporting a strategy that created armed groups to destabilize the campesino movement in Aguán (Terra). The Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) had ordered protective measures for both Dionisio and Flores.

Amnesty International released commentary on 19 October 2016 marking Honduras as a prohibited area for environmental activists and human rights defenders. The week prior to the murders, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández refused a meeting with Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty to talk about the human rights crisis in the country, including the increase violence toward human rights defenders (Amnesty). Many in the international community, including U.S. Ambassador to Honduras James Nealon and the United Nations have condemned the murders and called for justice.