News & Views

On Violence to Defenders of Indigenous Territories

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We began the New Year by celebrating Indonesia’s landmark recognition of the rights of nine Indigenous communities to their ancestral forests. Today, we are devastated by the assassination of Isidro Baldenegro López, the second Goldman Prize winner and bright spark — after Berta Cáceres — to be extinguished by dark forces.

In the strongest terms, The Christensen Fund condemns the murder of Isidro Baldenegro López and calls on the Mexican Government to promptly investigate this crime and to bring the perpetrators to account. Isidro’s blood was spilled on the sacred soil of the Sierra Tarahumara where Indigenous Peoples have long peacefully struggled to realize their territorial rights. In 1967, the Federal Government recognized the Isidro Community’s land rights. They are inalienable rights, and the Mexican Government is bound to uphold them.

We call on our colleagues, allies and peers in advocacy, government and philanthropy to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples who are under attack for defending their territories and to champion the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Mexico adopted on September 13, 2007.

While unspeakably tragic, the assassinations of Berta and Isidro show us the urgency of the fight for the recognition of Indigenous territorial sovereignty. Let us all commit to carrying Berta and Isidro’s light forward.