#WHRDAlert EL SALVADOR / Criminalization, death threats against Sonia Sanchez, defender of the territory

Sonia Sanchez, recognized human rights defender in the Santo Tomás municipality, is one of the main defenders and protectors of El Porvenir canton’s resources, a forested and recognized water recharge area. Since March 2015, she has engaged in a continuous struggle in defense of the territory and its natural resources threatened by the urban project, “Brisas de Santo Tomás”, undertaken, in part, by the company Inversiones Robles.

Inversiones Robles has accused Sonia Sanchez of defamation and slander, for having publicly denounced the environmental damages in the El Porvenir canton territory, as well has for having denounced the death threats that she has received. This is not the first accusation against the defender by the company.

In the face of the death threats against Sonia Sanchez as well as other Santo Tomás activists, the Human Rights Defense Attorney (PDDH) has issued interim measures in favor of the defender.

Such actions against Sonia Sanchez are intended to discredit and inhibit her work as a human rights defender as well as to generate fear amongst the population and organizations that support this struggle.

As such, IM-Defensoras demand:

-An effective and diligent investigation by the Attorney General of the Republic into the death threats against Sonia Sanchez.
-Immediate protection by the National Police (PNC) of the defender and others engaged in the legitimate struggle to defend the natural resources of the El Porvenir canton.
-Monitoring of the due process in the accusations made by Inversiones Robles against Sonia Sanchez, in order to guarantee her fundamental rights.
-A guarantee by public institutions of the means necessary for legitimate exercising of social protest as well as the right to defend human rights.

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