Justice for Murdered Human Rights Activist

Berta Caceres stands at the COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) offices in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras where she, COPINH have organized a two year campaign to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, that poses grave threats to Rio Blanco regional environment, river and indigenous Lenca people.

Target: Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, President of Honduras

Goal: Identify and bring to justice those responsible for the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres.

Berta Cáceres, a human rights activist and Indigenous leader in Honduras, was murdered by gunmen in her home earlier this week. She had recently spoken out against the murder of other Indigenous leaders in the Lenca community, and reportedly received numerous death threats from police, the army, and landowners after she opposed a hydroelectric dam in Rio Blanco. Cáceres was a strong community leader who consistently stood up for Indigenous land rights and co-founded the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras. Her death is a tragedy that should not go unpunished.

Cáceres was awarded the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s top award for grassroots environmental activism, in acknowledgment of her efforts to protect ancestral lands. She fought the proposal to build a dam in the Gualcarque River for years, defending the river as sacred to the Lenca community. The hydroelectric dam could have flooded the surrounding ancestral areas as well as cut off hundreds of people’s water, food, and medicine supplies, thereby violating their right to sustainably live off their land. Cáceres devoted herself to leading this cause in defense of those whose lives would be affected, and effectively halted all building plans despite constant, and sometimes violent, opposition.

Her actions, while applauded by many, also made her many enemies. Honduras is known for being a violent country, and sadly the victims are often environmental and human rights activists. Cáceres is not the first to be murdered for standing up for Indigenous rights, and unless the Honduran government begins to take a stronger stance against these injustices she will not be the last. Sign the petition below to urge the Honduran government to conduct a proper investigation into Cáceres’s murder, and take action to protect other Indigenous community leaders who are at risk for their efforts to fight for human rights.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Alvarado,

Berta Cáceres, an influential human rights activist and Indigenous community leader, deserves justice for her murder. A week before being shot by gunmen in her home, she had spoken out against the murder of other Indigenous leaders in the Lenca community. She also received numerous threats that she would be raped and murdered after leading the opposition to the hydroelectric dam in Rio Blanco. Those responsible for her death cannot go unpunished, and other Indigenous leaders like Cáceres deserve to feel safe in their own homes.

Cáceres won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts to fight the building of a dam in the Gualcarque River. The dam would have cut off hundreds of people’s water, food, and medicine supplies, violating the right of the Lenca community to live sustainability off their land. Cáceres’s actions in halting the building plans protected the lives of many, but also made her many enemies.

This community leader’s death deserves a proper investigation, and her murders must be found and brought to justice. I am urging you to take action to locate those responsible and punish them for their actions. Please make every possible effort to ensure that activists and Indigenous leaders like Cáceres are protected from suffering a similar fate in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Goldman Environmental Prize

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One Comment

  1. Neville Bruce says:

    Corporate, government-sanctioned murder! So wrong that they are so comfortable with it that they can move on to the next killing, believing that it will break the spirit of these people – who knew what was going to happen and stepped up anyway. Can you PLEASE send this petition to the amazing Pope Francis as well please! Please also see these too:

    http://action.sumofus.org/a/berta-fmo-bank-divest/?akid=17700.8028938.bMtkMY&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=1
    http://action.ciel.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18506
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/305/078/109/
    http://www.care2.com/causes/berta-caceres-indigenous-honduran-conservationist-assassinated-2.html
    Thank you!

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