PAN International joins indigenous peoples, environmentalists and peace-makers around the world in mourning the assassination of Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She was murdered for being a fierce advocate for the rights of the Lenca people and Mother Earth. In accepting the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, for leading the successful grassroots campaign to stop the Agua Zarca Dam, she said, "I dedicate this award to all the rebels out there...and to the martyrs who gave their lives to the struggle to defend our natural resources." Less than one year later, Berta Cáceres joined the ranks of martyrs, on the eve of her 47th birthday.
PAN International stands in solidarity with the environmental rights defenders and indigenous peoples of Honduras, where over 100 environmental activists were murdered between 2010-2014 alone. Berta was not the first COPINH leader to be assassinated, after years of harassment, criminalization and death threats. Although COPINH issued an alert in February noting the increase in these threats, the Honduran government initially claimed that Berta's death was in connection with a robbery.
We join the international community in demanding that the Honduran government pursue a thorough and transparent investigation of this heinous crime. In addition, we call on our own governments, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and the United Nations to bring pressure to bear on the government of Honduras to protect the rights and lives of its citizens.
Berta Cáceres, presente!
For Immediate Release: March 4, 2016
Contact: Paul Towers, firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail), 916.216.1082