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Mexico rights group slams killing of indigenous activist

September 13, 2018 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission says an indigenous anti-dam activist has been killed in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit.

The governmental commission said Wednesday that Margarito Diaz Gonzalez defended the historic territories of the Huichol Indians, who prefer to be known as Wixarika. He was killed on Sept. 8. Local media said gunmen shot him.

Diaz Gonzalez had opposed a dam that threatened Huichol sacred areas around Real de Catorce, an area further to the east where Huichols frequently conduct pilgrimages.

The rights group Global Witness says Mexico faces an increase in killings of land-rights activists, with 15 such deaths in 2017 and at least four cases documented this year.

Previous victims included Tarahuma land activist Isidro Baldenegro, who had been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.