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Saúl Rosales Meléndez


Saúl Rosales Meléndez is a human rights defender and President of the nahua community of San Pedro Tlalcuapan, state of Tlaxcala. He is known locally for leading the community assemblies and for his continuous work in defence of the Matlalcueyetl mountain’s forest -also known as La Malinche-, in face of the environmental damage caused by extractive activities in the area, including illegal logging. Saúl Rosales Meléndez was elected as nahua authority by the community to lead the defence of the forest due to his previous work protecting the forest while challenging personal interests of local State agents regarding the nahua territory, as it has been facing exploitation without proper consultation with the community. The community denounces that officials have entered the territory without the needed previous authorization, with the purpose of enabling access to extractive activities that have caused considerable damage to the ecosystem of La Malinche.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists in Mexico are subject to intimidation, legal harassment, arbitrary detention, death threats, acts of physical aggression, enforced disappearances and killings as a result of their activities in defence of human rights and the exercise of freedom of expression and journalism.


Disappearances are endemic in Mexico, often happening with collusion from the state. HRDs working on the issue face serious risk, up to and including death. HRDs working in the defence of territory, particularly indigenous territory, face a similar level of risk. They are criminalised, imprisoned, defamed, and often killed. Journalists working on any of these issues, or issues related to the drugs trade and the government's complicity in this, also run the risk of losing their lives.