Juan Francisco Martínez

On 5 January 2015, the body of human rights defender Mr Juan Francisco Martínez was found in the village of Tapuyman in the Santa Elena Municipality of La Paz, Honduras. The human rights defender, whose body bore marks of torture, had been killed on 4 January 2015.

Juan Francisco was an environmental activist, on issues related to the right to water, land, and territory in defence of the Lenca community of which he was a member.  He was also part of the Lenca Indigenous Peace Movement, MILPAH, which in turn belongs to the National Coalition of Networks and Environmental Organizations, CONROA.

The body of the human rights defender, showed signs of torture, in addition to having been stabbed several times in the chest. One of his hands was still tied with what looked like military bootlaces. Juan Francisco Martínez and his family had received multiple threats since August 2014, after the murder of his son in July of the same year.

On January 11, 2015, an application was submitted to the Public Ministry to initiate an investigation into the murder, however, the results are unknown.

“The immediate and strategic objective of this murder is to unleash terror, torture and trauma against the MILPAH organization and evict the indigenous people from their lands. The seizing of these territories guarantees the power of economic accumulation of the local oligarchy articulated to the transnational financial capital “(Juan Almendares, 07/01/2015).

Apparently, Juan Francisco’s fight bothered the interests of a group of Central de Cafetaleros that is supported by the local government, whose mayor has openly declared to be against the actions of MILPAH while supporting the construction of a dam to develop a hydroelectric plant owned by the family of the vice president of Honduras’ congress at the time.

If you would like to provide a personal recollection, please email us at: HRDMemorial@frontlinedefenders.org



Department/Province/State:La Paz


Date of Killing:04/01/2015

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Lenca Indigenous Peace Movement -MILPAH

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption, Environmental Rights, Housing Rights, Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Land Rights, Minority Rights, Peasant Communities

More information:Front Line Defenders

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