This month, the land and water defenders of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), have requested visible support from around the world.
This month marks two years since gunmen burst into the home of COPINH leader Berta Cáceres (below) and shot her to death. Prior to the deadly attack, Berta had reported receiving death threats from powerful people connected to a controversial hydro-electric project called Agua Zarca whose construction she was campaigning to stop because of its destructive impacts on the rights of indigenous communities and the environment.
For the past two years, amidst an official investigation that seemed intent on a cover-up, members of COPINH and Berta’s family, like her daughter Bertita (below), have courageously sought justice.
Lack of justice in Honduras sends a chilling message that human rights defenders can be killed with impunity. That’s a green light for more violence. In the past two years, COPINH leaders have continued to be followed, attacked and killed, as they have sought justice and confronted powerful economic interests to protect Indigenous rights, land and the environment in Honduras.
On March 2, 2018, Honduran authorities arrested David Castillo, president of DESA, the company building the dam that Berta was speaking out against. Castillo, a former military intelligence officer, is alleged to have masterminded the murder to silence Berta’s powerful voice.
Berta’s family is convinced the arrest of Castillo is thanks to the pressure created by supporters of organizations inside and outside Honduras repeatedly calling for ALL those behind the killing to be found and prosecuted.
It is vital that we keep up the pressure. Castillo is the 9th person to be detained on charges of involvement in the killing, and the highest ranking, but NO ONE has yet been brought to trial or justice. A recent report from an independent team of international lawyers hired by Berta’s family includes evidence that would implicate high-level business executives and state agents in the crime. COPINH says it will continue to denounce “the entire murderous, criminal structure behind the assassination of our sister Berta Cáceres, of which David Castillo is just one piece.”
It is vital that we make visible our support for COPINH and echo their calls that EVERYONE involved in the murder of Berta must be brought to justice.
1. CREATE A SOLIDARITY MESSAGE TO MAKE VISIBLE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE VITAL EFFORTS OF COPINH
Before March 20, create a message of support for COPINH and upload it to COPINH’s tumblr page so COPINH can display all the messages during its 25th anniversary celebration from March 22 to 24, as well as before. This communicates international support that is so vital for COPINH’s protection and its work for human rights. Messages can be in English or Spanish. They can be in the form of a written message, a photo message or a video (take a look at examples on the tumblr page). Be sure to mention that you send your message from Canada. Call for justice for Berta (Justicia para Berta!). You can also recognize the important work that COPINH does protecting the environment, the land and the rights of Lenca indigenous people. Let COPINH know they are not alone!
2. SIGN OUR ONLINE ACTION – JUSTICE FOR BERTA IN HONDURAS
3. ALSO SIGN OUR ONLINE ACTION CALLING ON AUTHORITIES TO PROTECT THE LAND AND WATER DEFENDERS OF COPINH
4. TWEET YOUR CONCERN AND A CALL FOR ACTION
Active on Twitter? Join us to show Honduran authorities that Canadians know what is happening and demand action to ensure justice and protection of human rights defenders. Be sure to use the campaign hashtag #JusticiaParaBerta along with the handle @COPINHHONDURAS and the handles of the following Honduran authorities: @Presidencia_HN @MP_Honduras @ofchb
From Canada, in solidarity with @COPINHHONDURAS we raise our voices yet again to demand #JusticiaParaBerta, rights AND protection for all the other defenders under attack in #Honduras for defending land, water & #Indigenous rights @Presidencia_HN @MP_Honduras @ofchb @AmnestyNow pic.twitter.com/cjxJvaixAQ
— Kathy Price (@KPriceAmnesty) March 2, 2018
5. LEARN MORE
>>> Read our press release Honduras: Failure to identify those behind Berta Cáceres’ murder puts other activists at risk
>>> Read our news flash Arrest of DESA executive must be followed by further action against those behind the killing of Berta Caceres
>>> Read our research report “We are defending the land with our blood”