PROTECT DEFENDERS OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS IN HONDURAS.
On 2 March 2016, Berta Caceres, a courageous defender of the environment and indigenous rights, was shot dead by gunmen who entered her home in Intibucá, Honduras. Berta and the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras – COPINH, campaigned against the construction of a hydroelectric dam project called Agua Zarca and the impact it would have on the territory of the Lenca People. This struggle put Berta at great risk and continues to threaten the lives of other members of COPINH and any organization questioning the development of economic projects in the Lenca territory.
It was a tragedy waiting to happen. Berta had repeatedly denounced aggression and death threats against her. They had increased as she campaigned against the Agua Zarca project.
“THEY FOLLOW ME.
THEY THREATEN TO KILL ME AND KIDNAP MY FAMILY.
THIS IS WHAT WE FACE.”
Since Berta’s murder, Amnesty International has documented a pattern of threats and abuse against those who seek justice on her case or report the actions of powerful companies against local indigenous or peasants communities. Six months after her murder, at least two more defenders were killed and four more attacked.
Will you stand with Berta’s family and fellow Indigenous rights defenders in this time of such danger? Please honour Berta’s courageous commitment to human rights by telling Honduras: the world is watching.
Update: On 2 May 2016, the Honduran General Attorney’s office arrested four men in connection with the crime. The suspects have ties with DESA, the company building the Agua Zarca dam, and the Honduran military. However, the lack of transparency in the investigation, including the fact that the family has been systematically kept in the dark regarding developments and the refusal by investigators to question high ranking officials is jeopardizing the investigation. Failure to seek real justice will send the message that human rights defenders can be killed and nothing will be done about it. Join us and urge the government of Honduras to protect the defenders of the environment and ensure justice for the murder of Berta Caceres and other land defenders.
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