On 20 November, 2017, Silvestre de la Toba Camacho was shot dead in the city of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur. Silvestre de la Toba Camacho had served since February 2015 as president of the State Human Rights Commission of Baja California Sur
Preliminary reports by the state Public Prosecutor’s Office indicate that a group of armed individuals fired at the vehicle in which he was travelling with this family. Silvestre de la Toba and his 20-year-old son were reportedly killed at the scene; his wife and daughter were seriously injured.
The killing occurred in a context of high levels of violence in the state of Baja California Sur, which have increased this year. According to official information, there were 109 homicides in October 2017, a 240 percent increase over the same month in 2016. The killing of De la Toba was believed to be the first assassination of a human rights ombudsman since the post was created more than a quarter-century ago in a bid to improve safeguards for Mexican citizens.
“I condemn the killing of Silvestre de la Toba Camacho in the strongest possible terms, and am equally outraged by the assault on his family,” said Michel Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).