Washington, D.C., June 24, 2011 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in El Salvador of human rights defender Juan Francisco Durán Ayala, who was an activist with the Comité Ambiental de Cabañas para la Defensa del Agua y los Recursos Naturales (Cabañas Environmental Committee for the Defense of Water and Natural Resources, or CAC for its acronym in Spanish). The CAC is an organization that defends the environment from the impact of mining activities in the area of El Dorado, in San Isidro Cabañas. The IACHR urges the State of El Salvador to investigate and legally clarify this crime, and punish the perpetrators and masterminds.

According to the information received by the IACHR, on June 2, 2011, Juan Francisco Durán Ayala allegedly hung posters and banners calling for the approval of an anti-mining law and demanding that a mining company cease its activities in Cabañas. The following day, Juan Francisco Durán was reportedly seen alive for the last time when he left his house to take classes at the Universidad Tecnológica in San Salvador. The information received alleges that the body of Juan Francisco Durán was found June 4, with two gunshot wounds to the head, in the municipality of Soyapango. (more…)