Target: President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras
Goal: End the campaign of intimidation and violence against those who fight for indigenous rights.
Indigenous rights activists and workers for international NGOs were allegedly attacked by unidentified assailants while returning to the Honduran capital from an event celebrating the life of Berta Caceres, the award winning environmental and indigenous rights activist recently murdered. The attackers, a group of thirty people armed with machetes and stones, accosted activists from indigenous rights group The Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) in an attack that resulted in at least eight injuries.
This is just the latest act of violence in months of intimidation and violence against indigenous and environmental rights activists in Honduras, mostly committed by as of yet unidentified assailants. Attacks have targeted activists opposed to the Agua Zarca dam project, a project that would divert a waterway sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. Before her assassination, Berta Caceres was an outspoken critic of the project.
Over 100 activists have been killed in Honduras in recent years, and those murders mostly remain unsolved. It is clear that the government of Honduras needs to do more to protect the rights of free speech and freedom of assembly from campaigns of intimidation. The perpetrators of these attacks must be identified and, if they were in the employ of others, the people responsible for the campaign of violence must face consequences. Sign our petition and ask Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to open a special investigation into the campaign of violence against activists in Honduras and to bring those responsible to justice.
Dear President Hernandez
The campaign of violence against members of COPINH and other NGOs in Honduras has done much to undermine your nation’s credibility in the world. The government of Honduras has an obligation to uphold human rights for all, and yet those that speak their mind find themselves the target of violence. The campaign of intimidation acts to curtail the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly of the people of Honduras.
Furthermore, the lack of independent investigation into the targeting of COPINH activists raises questions about whether individuals within the government are complicit in this campaign of intimidation and violence. This further undermines the international reputation of the government of the Republic of Honduras.
I urge you to set up an independent investigation into the acts of violence against activists including the murder of Berta Caceres, the murder of Nelson Garcia, and the most recent attacks. Further, it is not enough to simply identify the attackers, but also examine whether they are in the employ of some other group. Lastly, the results and the process of the investigation must be public and transparent to ensure accountability.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Comision Interamericana de Derechos Humanos