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  • Juan Ontiveros Ramos, an Indigenous activist and defender of ancestral lands in the Sierra Tarahumara

    Juan Ontiveros Ramos, an Indigenous activist and defender of ancestral lands in the Sierra Tarahumara | Photo: Alianza Sierra Madre

Human right groups said he was brutally beaten in front of his family and then taken to an unknown location.

Juan Ontiveros, an Indigenous activist and defender of ancestral lands in the Sierra Tarahumara in northern Mexico was killed on Jan. 31 by a group of armed men who stormed his house in the Indigenous community of Choreachi in the state of Chihuahua.

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Deputy of Congress Blanca Gamez has called for an investigation into his death and the death of Isidro Baldenegro two weeks earlier.

Human right groups said Ontiveros was brutally beaten in front of his family and then taken to an unknown location where he was allegedly killed. On Feb. 1, his body was found in another place in the same community.

Ontiveros attended a meeting with members of several organizations and government representatives on Jan. 20 to discuss the security situation and the agrarian territorial conflict in his community, something that his fellow activists say could have caused his assassination.

He is the second Indigenous activist killed in less than a month in Mexico. On Jan. 15, prominent Mexican environmentalist Isidro Baldenegro was shot dead in the same Mexican state after receiving death threats.

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Baldenegro was also a community leader for Mexico's Indigenous Tarahumara people and was one of the country's most prominent environmental activists.

Last week the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Frost, warned of the risks facing human rights and Indigenous activists in Mexico, particularly risks posed by organized crime and the lack of protection by the authorities.

Frost also called on the federal and state authorities to investigate all the rights of the peoples of the Sierra Tarahumara. Local authorities confirmed that an investigation into the two cases has already been opened.

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