Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Amnesty International calls for justice in the case of slain Honduras environmental activist

Amnesty International Calls for Justice in Berta Cáceres Murder Case

Amnesty International Calls for Justice in Murder of Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres

Amnesty International is pushing the Honduran government to bring justice for the murder of Berta Cáceres, a beloved figure in environmental and indigenous activism. Cáceres, who was the leader of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was tragically murdered in 2016 at her home in Intibucá, Honduras by armed individuals.

Astrid Valencia, the Americas deputy director for research at Amnesty International, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “Eight years after the murder of Berta Cáceres, her family continues to face an incomplete judicial process that unnecessarily perpetuates their anguish. It is imperative that the Honduran authorities take decisive action to end the cycle of impunity in this case.”

The murder of Cáceres is believed to be connected to her staunch opposition to the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project, which threatened the indigenous Lenca community living in the area. The Lenca people, supported by Cáceres, protested against the dam project for years, leading to the withdrawal of key partners, including the Chinese company Sinohydro and the International Finance Corporation.

After years of fighting for justice, there has been some progress. David Castillo, the former manager of DESA, the company behind the dam project, was convicted of Cáceres’s murder in 2021 and sentenced to around 23 years in prison in 2022. Additionally, seven individuals involved in the murder were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Cáceres was posthumously awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her tireless efforts in advocating against the dam project. Her death prompted calls from the United Nations to protect human rights defenders, as Honduras was deemed the most dangerous country for environmental activists by Global Witness in 2017.

Amnesty International’s plea for justice for Berta Cáceres serves as a reminder of the importance of standing up for human rights and protecting those who fight for environmental justice.

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