La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras, March 3rd, 2016: Berta Cáceres, one of the leading indigenous activists and environmental rights campaigners in Honduras, has been found shot dead in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca.
As co-founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), Berta was involved in high-profile campaigns against dams, illegal loggers and plantation owners. This included pressurising the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam, which earned her the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015.
As recently as 20th February, Berta attended a COPINH march in Rio Blanco where she and other participants faced threats as they carried out a peaceful action to protect the River Gualcarque against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the Honduran company DESA. As a result of her work Berta had received many threats against her life but was determined to continue campaigning. In an interview in 2015 she said, “we must undertake the struggle in all parts of the world, wherever we may be, because we have no other spare or replacement planet. We have only this one, and we have to take action.”
SRT grantee the Fund for Global Human Rights, who themselves provide a grant to COPINH, have demanded a thorough and immediate investigation of the circumstances surrounding Berta’s death. Ana Paula Hernández, Program Officer for Latin America, stated, “It is imperative that the government of Honduras thoroughly and immediately investigate Berta’s murder, and bring those responsible to justice. This tragedy follows a pattern that has made Honduras one of the most dangerous places in the world for environmental justice and land rights activists.”
Full press release from the Fund for Global Human Rights: http://globalhumanrights.org/berta-caceres-copinh-murdered
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