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20 Jan 2023

Mexico: Nahua community defenders disappear hours after meeting with Ternium mining company representatives

SinEmbargo

On 15 January, Antonio Díaz Valencia, a community leader from Aquila, and Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, a lawyer from this Nahua community in Michoacán, disappeared. They were travelling to Colima in a pick-up truck and were last seen at around 6:50 pm. A few hours later, the vehicle was found on the federal highway with bullet wounds.

On the same day, the community leader and the lawyer had participated in a meeting with the mining company Ternium about the company's activities at the Las Encinas mine. The Michoacán Nahua community of Aquila claims that the mining company is not complying with the established agreements, which determine, for instance, the payment of compensation to the community. They also allege that Ternium is using land for purposes other than those established, such as the exploitation of a property that they had agreed to use as a waste deposit.

The IACHR condemned the disappearance and demanded that the Honduran State guarantee the life and personal integrity of the activists and conduct a diligent investigation. The organisation Global Human Rights Defence stated that it will file a complaint with the UN about the disappearances and argues that Ternium has an obligation to rescue the defenders following the due diligence principle.

We invited Ternium to comment on the disappearance of the two defenders and the allegations of non-compliance with the agreements with the community. The company provided two responses and both of them are available.

Company Responses

Ternium View Response
Ternium View Response

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