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IACHR Condemns Killing of Human Rights Defender Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing in Mexico of human rights defender Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco. The Commission expresses its concern over this incident and urges the Mexican authorities to act urgently to identify, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and masterminds and adopt the necessary measures to protect the physical integrity and work of human rights defenders.

According to publicly available information, on August 8, 2015, Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco was found dead in a taxicab in the town of Xaltianguis, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco was a member of the Unión de Pueblos Organizados del Estado de Guerrero (State of Guerrero Union of Organized Peoples, or UPOEG) and a founder, in 2013, of the Xaltianguis community police. He was said to be actively involved in the search for the 43 missing students from the "Raúl Isidro Burgos" Teachers College in Ayotzinapa. According to the UPOEG, Jiménez Blanco had been a victim of multiple threats and had been tailed by strangers.

The Commission urges the State to investigate this murder on its own initiative, with due diligence--exhaustively, seriously, and impartially--and to prosecute and punish those who turn out to be responsible. Along these lines, the Commission urges the relevant authorities to pursue all logical avenues of investigation, including the possibility that the killing was motivated by Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco's activities as a human rights defender.

Acts of violence and other attacks on human rights defenders not only affect the guarantees that belong to all human beings; they also undermine the essential role defenders play within society. The Inter-American Commission urges the State of Mexico to take all necessary measures to ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their work of denunciation, accompaniment, and protection, in circumstances where they are safe and free from attacks or acts of violence that may put their lives and security at risk. The IACHR also reiterates that States have the unavoidable obligation, in keeping with their international human rights obligations, to adopt any measures necessary to protect the lives and physical integrity of all persons under their jurisdiction.

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts designated by the IACHR in the context of the agreement signed with the Mexican State and the representatives of the 43 students disappeared in Ayotzinapa continues working.

[Source: IACHR, Washington, 17Aug15]

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