Justice for the Murder of Berta Cáceres Berta Cáceres
Berta Caceres, Honduran Lenca indigenous community leader, was murdered in the town of Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras on March 3, 2016, when gunmen stormed her home at dawn.
Despite having received previous threats, Berta launched a systematic campaign denouncing the company Synohydro, one of the largest dam builders in the world. Synohydro planned to build the dam Agua Zarca in the Gualcarque river, whose waters are sacred and vital to the survival of the Lenca people. With public pressure led by Berta, the transnational company withdrew from the territory.
Berta Caceres was a woman who gave her life to defend the land and waters of indigenous Hondurans. In 2015, due to her work, she won the Goldman Environmental award, the most prestigious global environmental advocacy award, sometimes referred to as the “Green Nobel” prize.
Berta worked in these remote indigenous communities with the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), an organization that she founded. The COPINH is a sign of hope for the Lenca community and residents of this area, still at the mercy of transnational companies and forgotten by the State of Honduras.
From Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) initiative we reiterate our commitment to seek justice for the murder of Berta Caceres. For that reason we have created and signed a letter with our partners, Mama Cash and Both Ends, to condemn this savage and deplorable act, which was sent to the Dutch Minister of Trade and Cooperation, in which we condemned this savage and tragic act. On March 12, 2016, we received a response from the Minister pledging to take the necessary actions to bring about justice for Berta’s murder.
On March 16, 2016, we also received the good news that the FMO (Development Bank of the Netherlands) and FINNFUND (Development Bank of Finland) have suspended their activities until comprehensive reviews of their operations are completed in the Central American country, one of the most violent world.
The FMO’s review will include a visit by their CEO to the Director of the Honduran Energy Sector and local communities around the Agua Zarca project. We hope to learn more about the current situation, what will happen next, and long-term results. We remain optimistic and hope that Berta’s case sets the precedent for other banks and private companies to examine their work in the region.
We are aware that the voices of dissent cannot continue to be ignored, especially those of historically marginalized communities. The compliance to International Human Rights Norms needs to be upheld, especially in regions greatly affected by violence, like Honduras.
There is still a long way to go to ensure justice and the rights of the indigenous Lenca people are taken into account and upheld. From the GAGGA initiative, we reiterate our commitment to seek justice for the murder of Berta Cáceres and Nelson Garcia.
We demand that the safety of human rights activists and environmental activists be upheld, especially those working in communities near the Agua Zarca project, particularly members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and the families of Berta and Nelson.
From Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) we have contributed by helping Berta Cáceres Zuniga, daughter of Berta Cáceres, attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to demand justice for the death of her mother. Berta Zuniga will be present in different human rights events in order to call for justice at the international level; to have a positive impact and not allow for tragic cases like those of her mother to go unpunished. It is time to act: we cannot wait to have a larger list of martyrs before real change is made.
Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) condemnation of the murder of environment and human rights activist, Berta Cáceres: Read the full statement here: http://bit.ly/2uPEKAI
Final letter regarding Dutch Government’s responsibility to ensure divestment from Agua Zarca Dam in Honduras: Read the full letter here: http://bit.ly/2tXaeJ1