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UA 144/20
Abgeschlossen am 13. November 2020

Defender killed, family in danger

AI-Index: AMR 46/3078/2020

On 11 September 2020, human rights defender Roberto Carlos Pacheco was shot dead by unknown attackers. Pacheco had received death threats since 2012 linked to his activism against illegal mining in the Tambopata Reserve, Madre de Dios region, in the Amazon. Despite having received insufficient protection measures from authorities, his family believe they are in danger, particularly Demetrio Pacheco, his father, and Vice-president of the Tambopata Reserve Management Committee. We call on the Public Prosecutor to investigate this murder, bring suspects to justice and protect the Pacheco family.


Since 2011 the Tambopata Reserve Management Committee has worked to end illegal mining and its negative effects on the environment. The threats and attacks against their members and other human rights defenders in the area began in 2012.

On 19 November 2015, environmental defender Alfredo Ernesto Vracko Neuenschwander was killed. He had received several death threats after a complaint against illegal mining in La Pampa area, in the Madre de Dios region. According to local human rights organizations, even though the victim’s family has identified those allegedly responsible, no progress has been made on the investigations.

Demetrio Pacheco told Amnesty that his son Roberto Carlos Pacheco suffered three incidents of attacks and death threats. In March, unknown attackers beat and threatened him at gunpoint and a knife. Later that month, unknown individuals threatened him with a gun to his mouth and destroyed some of his personal property. Later that year, a bullet was left on his dining room table. All these threats were reported to the authorities. Nevertheless, authorities did not make progress to identify those responsible or effectively protect Roberto Carlos Pacheco.

Roberto Carlos Pacheco was shot dead on Friday 11 September 2020. His body was found near the San Juan community, in the Madre de Dios Region.

In recent years, the Madre de Dios region, in the Peruvian Amazon, has been the center of social and environmental conflicts caused by the growth of illegal mining by organized crime (according to the definition established in the Legislative Decree No. 1105-2012), illegal logging and contamination by toxic metals. In January 2020, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, met with representatives of the Tambopata Reserve Management Committee and publicly expressed concern regarding their situation.

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