Julián Carrillo Martínez was one of the main leaders of the Rarámuri community of Coloradas de la Virgen, of the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua. He did invaluable work in defence of the local forest, which faces the indiscriminate felling of trees.
Among other efforts, Julián and other members of his community sought to nullify the authorisation to harvest forest resources granted by the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) to local actors. In addition to leading efforts in defence of his indigenous community’s land rights, Julian was a member of Alianza Sierra Madre A.C. (ASMAC), an organization widely recognized for its defence of the human rights of indigenous peoples.
Due to the human rights advocacy carried out by Julián and other HRDs from Coloradas de la Virgen, Julián himself had already been the victim of repeated attacks. These include the murders of his son-in-law Francisco Chaparro Carrillo in July 2018; his nephew Alberto Quiñones Carrillo in September of 2017; another nephew, Guadalupe Carrillo Polanco, in July 2016; and his son Víctor Carrillo Carrillo, Jr., in February 2016. Due to the threats he received and the risk he faced, Julián had moved away from the community at different times and was currently a recipient of protection measures granted by the federal mechanism for the protection of HRDs and journalists.
According to the information received, on the night of 24 October 2018, Julián was attacked in Coloradas de la Virgen by armed men firing high-caliber ammunition. A day before, he found out that his attackers were watching him so he sought refuge in the hills nearby. The CNDH (National Human Rights Commission) has requested that the government and the Chihuahua Public Prosecutor’s Office implement precautionary measures to safeguard the life, integrity and safety of the victim’s relatives, and to exhaust the line of investigation related to the work he was carrying out.
It is worth noting that just one day before the attack on Julián, the Agrarian Superior Court adopted a ruling which recognizes the territorial rights of the community of Choreachi – also of the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo – and sets an important precedent that is expected to benefit other indigenous communities that face the invasion of their territories and environmental deterioration.
Mexico’s UNHR Representative Jan Jarab stated that “this case should be an absolute priority for the newly appointed Special Prosecutor for the Investigation of Human Rights Violations and Enforced Disappearances, because justice is undeniably the main deterrent of further crimes. It is urgent to set a positive precedent that sends a definitive signal that the murders of human rights defenders are investigated and sanctioned in an exemplary manner. “
Taken from the original report by UN News Mexico (ONU Noticias México)
Image of Julian holding a list of his murdered family members