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Justo Sorto


Justo Sorto was an indigenous Lenca leader and human rights defender. For 20 years, he had been an active member of the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Indígenas Populares – COPINH (Civic Council of Popular Indigenous Organisations). On 21 January 2014,  he was found dead on a farming estate of the Yance community in the municipality of Jesús de Otoro, in the department of Intibucá, Western Honduras. COPINH is an organisation that works for the defence of the land and the environment, and for improving the living conditions of communities and indigenous peoples in Honduras. Justo Sorto was working with his community for the defence of the forests in the region and against the execution of mining projects. He was a founding member of the Coordinadora Indígena del Poder Popular de Honduras – CIPPH (Co-ordinator of Indigenous Peoples' Power of Honduras) and the Movimiento Morazanista del Poder Popular – MMP (Morazanist Movement of Popular Power).


Human rights defenders suffer extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment as well as judicial harassment, threats and stigmatisation. Journalists, lawyers, prosecutors, those defending the rights of women, children, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities, and those working on environmental and land rights issues are particularly at risk.