IACHR Condemns Murder of Jesuit Priests in Chihuahua, Mexico

June 23, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the murder of the Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales and Joaquín César Mora Salazar in Mexico and urged the State to investigate events promptly and diligently in order to sanction those responsible for them.

According to publicly available information, on June 20, 2022, two Jesuit priests, Javier Campos Morales and Joaquín César Mora Salazar, and tourist guide Pedro Palma Gutiérrez were murdered by armed men inside the community church in Cerocahui, in Urique municipality, Chihuahua. The bodies were removed by armed individuals after the event. The State reported that the three bodies were recovered after an immediate search operation carried out by the Government of Chihuahua.

The IACHR condemned these acts of violence. It noted that the President of Mexico, the Foreign Minister, and the Chihuahua State Prosecutor's Office also spoke out against them. Likewise, the IACHR took note of the information provided by the State regarding the identity of one of the people responsible for the crime and urged it to continue its efforts to carry out serious, exhaustive, impartial investigations to establish the truth of the events and prosecute and sanction those responsible for them.

It also warned that these events are part of a context of violence in the state of Chihuahua that is widely known. Specifically, through its various mechanisms, the IACHR has received information on the violence faced by various indigenous communities in Sierra Tarahumara due to alleged conflicts between drug trafficking cartels disputing control of the territory for the cultivation of illegal crops, which has led to the granting of precautionary measures by the IACHR. Likewise, in its 2019 annual report, the IACHR observed that members of this community have been forced to move out of their territories as a consequence of this violence.

Finally, the IACHR called on the State to guarantee the safety of all people living in the community, including survivors.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 144/22

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