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Sonia Sánchez

Sonia Jeannette Sánchez Pérez

HRD, Coordinator
Movimiento de Mujeres de Santo Tomás

Defending natural resources is not a crime

Sonia Jeannette Sánchez Pérez is the coordinator of Movimiento de Mujeres de Santo Tomás (Women’s Movement of Santo Tomás) in San Salvador. The organization works in the defence of women’s rights, supporting women who have been victims of violence, working for the prevention of gender-based violence, as well as campaigning for environmental justice. Sonia Jeannette Sánchez Pérez is also a well-known environmental rights defender who has been working to protect the natural resources of the El Porvenir forest since March of 2015. The forest has been threatened by an urban development project carried out by Grupo Roble, one of the largest companies in the country. The company, for instance, cut 28 hectares of forest to build 426 exclusive homes in the municipality of Santo Tomás, despite the disagreement of the local community.

El Salvador

The human rights defender community is regularly subjected to campaigns of defamation - they are labeled as 'traitors of the nation', 'terrorists' and 'subversive'. This tactic employed by the authorities is designed to discredit and undermine the work of human rights defenders by isolating and marginalising them, making them a vulnerable target for abuse. Community leaders and environmental activists who are opposed to large-scale mining projects face death threats and violence.