Press Statement: Families of Disappeared Mexican environmental and Indigenous land defender visit Washington to Seek Justice.

The family of Ricardo Lagunes Gasca and representatives of Antonio Díaz Valencia will be in Washington from November 8 to 11 to meeting with policy makers and the international diplomatic community to discuss their enforced disappearance for defending the environment and Indigenous land from mining development in Aquila Michoacán, Mexico.

Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, a human rights and Indigenous territories lawyer, and Professor Antonio Díaz Valencia, the leader of the Nahua Indigenous community of San Miguel de Aquila, Michoacán, Mexico, were victims of enforced disappearance on January 15, 2023 for successfully defending Indigenous rights in courts. They violently disappeared after participating in a community assembly discussing the next steps after winning the case. There are allegations that both received threats from Ternium, the company operating the Aquila mine disregarding Indigenous rights.

Since their disappearance, Ricardo’s relatives have been demanding a full investigation with Mexican and international organizations and an humanitarian recovery. They also obtained recommendations from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearance, several UN Special Procedures and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

Ana Lucía and Antoine Lagunes Gasca, Ricardo’s siblings, will be visiting Washington D.C. from November 8 to 11, for a meeting with the U.S. State Department’s Task Force of Environmental defenders, a private hearing with the Inter-American Commission, the Office of the High Commissioner and the Mexican Government, and with several allies. They are seeking support from the international community and international organizations to advocate for the return of both defenders and achieve international technical assistance in the search and investigation in order to seek their humanitarian recovery, find the truth and seek justice in the case.

For more information and to interview the Lagunes, please contact:

Alejandra Gonza, Director Global Rights Advocacy at:
Cel. 2063054919

Alberto Solis Castro, Senior Fellow on Mexico, Global Exchange at:
Cel. 7736684593