25 signatures atteintes
To: The President of the Republic of Honduras Mr. Juan Orlando Hernandez and the Attorney General of the Republic of Honduras. Oscar Chinchilla
Honduras: Justice for Berta and the Lenca People!
From the Mesoamerican Initiative of Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), the National Network of Human Rights Advocates in Honduras and the Civic Counsel of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) we demand:
• That the Honduran government create an international commission of experts through the Inter-american Commission of Human Rights (CIDH) to guarantee objectivity, credibility and the participation of the victims in the investigation of our colleague Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores's murder.
• Punishment for the masterminds of the crime and not only the direct perpetrators of the assassination.
• The immediate cancellation of the hydroelectric Project Agua Zarca and the concession of the Gualcarque River, signing a formal, public and legal commitment not to exploit or give a concession of the Gualcarque River, given its location within the sacred and ancestral lands of the Lenca people.
• In consideration of the number of assassinations, attacks against physical integrity, judicial persecution, defamation, political and military repression executed against the defenders of the affected community, we demand the demilitarization of the zone.
• The end of hostilities, criminalization, prosecution and stigmatization against the Lenca community and COPINH.
Why is this important?
On March 2, 2016, Berta Caceres, advocate, Indigenous leader of Honduras, who coordinated the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated for her defense of the land. She was working on an organized campaign with the Indigenous Lenca community from Rio Blanco to stop the construction of a hydroelectric Project Agua Zarca, whose objective is to dam the waters of the Gualcarque River. This Project is driven by powerful transnational corporations and it puts at risk the livelihood of the Lenca community, restricting them from accessing the Gualcarque River for water and the cultivation of the lands.
At the six-month mark of the assassination of our dear friend Berta Isabel Caceres Flores, the persecution, threats and harassment against the members of COPINH have increased. Also, the assassination of Nelson Noe Garcia on March 15th and of Lesbia Janet Urquia on July 6th, four months and four days after the assassination of Berta, has increased the risk for the advocates associated with COPINH, demonstrating the existence of a campaign of hate, persecution and harassment against those who identify with this organization.
The violent evictions of those seeking justice by and for COPINH members, the smear campaigns by the media against the members of the Rio Blanco community, the constant death threats against those who push for the end of the energy development of the indigenous Lenca territory, are some of the abuses that COPINH advocates have to face.