“We are deeply distressed by the death of Isidro Baldenegro, a community leader of Mexico’s indigenous Tarahumara people, who won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2005. His relentless work organizing peaceful protests against illegal logging in the Sierra Madre Mountains helped protect the forests, lands and rights of his people. He was a fearless leader and a source of inspiration to so many people fighting to protect our environment and indigenous peoples’ rights. Our hearts go out to Isidro’s family, friends, and colleagues around the world during this difficult time.
The details surrounding his death are still unclear, and we do not yet know the motives behind the attack. What we do know is that Isidro believed deeply in peaceful, nonviolent resistance. The Goldman Environmental Foundation board denounces violence and believes that positive change is created when engaged citizens stand up to defend their rights to protect their communities and their environment. Isidro’s life and work were examples of this principle. Unfortunately, too many governments are failing to create safe spaces where people can voice their dissent and organize movements free of persecution and violent attacks.
We call on the authorities to bring the perpetrators of this senseless violence to justice, and ask the international community, which rallied to Isidro’s defense during his imprisonment in 2003, to come together once again to honor and protect his legacy.”
Susan R. Gelman, President of the Goldman Environmental Foundation.