17th February 2023 - Responding to news that five men have been found guilty and sentenced to 28 years for the murder of four Indigenous leaders in Peru in 2014 – Ashéninka tribal leader and prominent anti-logging activist Edwin Chota and his colleagues Jorge Ríos Pérez, Leoncio Quinticima and Francisco Pinedo – Shruti Suresh, Land & Environmental Defenders Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said:

“We welcome the news of the conviction of those responsible for the killings of Indigenous land and environmental leaders in Peru in this horrific case, which shows the importance of continuing to fight for justice many years on.

“The murders of the four Indigenous leaders were a result of the unlawful and violent actions of those who value profit over people and the planet. The long-awaited verdict serves as a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by environmental defenders and the need for greater protection of their rights.

“Sadly, this is just one case, and many, many more are yet to see justice, with more than 1,700 environmental defenders killed over the past decade. In 2021, 78% of recorded killings of defenders took place in the Amazon forests of Brazil, Peru and Venezuela. Beyond killings, defenders also experience other forms of attempts to silence them, such as death threats, surveillance, sexual violence, and criminalisation. We must ensure that the perpetrators of these horrific acts are held accountable for their actions.

“The brave work of Edwin Chota, Jorge Ríos Pérez, Leoncio Quinticima and Francisco Pinedo will not be forgotten, and we stand in solidarity with their communities and advocate for continued efforts to safeguard the rights of Indigenous peoples and the land they fight to protect.”