Statement by the family of Berta Cáceres on recent arrests in Honduras

We demand the participation of an international, independent commission of experts to investigate the murder of our beloved Berta given the recent actions by the Honduran Attorney General

Olivia, Berta, Laura and Salvador Zúniga Cáceres (Berta Cáceres’s daughters and son), Austra Bertha Flores (her mother), and the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), each a victim of the assassination of Berta Cáceres under Honduran law, were surprised this morning by the Attorney General and ATIC (Criminal Investigation Agency) announcement in relation to the capture of persons involved in this vile crime against our beloved Berta.

The family and COPINH, as well as all Honduran society and the international community demand justice and truth regarding the assassination of our Berta.

Because we have been denied our right under Honduran law to participate in the investigative process from the beginning, we have no way of knowing if these arrests are the product of an exhaustive and diligent investigation, nor do we know if they include those who ordered the assassination. The news of the alleged participation of active and retired members of the military linked to DESA in the assassination should be investigated further and indicates involvement by state agents which is enough reason for the immediate suspension of and a definitive end to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project.

We regret that the investigations conducted by the Attorney General have moved forward without our participation and that our voices have not been heard.

Today, two months since the assassination of our dear Berta, we continue being victimized, having to learn of any news through the media rather than the official channels afforded to us by law.

Our ongoing lack of confidence in the Attorney General’s office has been fomented by its own actions, which lack transparency and ignore the victims. If the State has truly conducted an exhaustive, diligent investigation based on scientific proof that looks into both the plotters and perpetrators of this crime, then today they should accept the participation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights so that a group of independent experts can analyze the actions carried out thus far and establish whether they are consistent with the highest international standards of due diligence.

If the Attorney General’s office and its agency have carried out their work correctly, there should be no fear of having the commission that the IACHR has already made available begin its investigation immediately.

What we seek is truth and justice in the case of our beloved Berta’s assassination. If we achieve that, everybody wins.

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Costa Rica’s Former President Weighs In; Berta’s daughter, COPINH go to Europe

April 27, 2016

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1) Ex-Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias, urges JOH to allow IACHR investigation
“I’m sure we agree that in a case such as this one, involving the brutal murder of a nationally and internationally recognized social leader, it is important that the investigation be seen as transparent and impartial by the victim’s family and by the general public. This is why I respectfully urge you to consider granting the family’s request to allow the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to form a commission of independent international experts to join the murder investigation.”

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Ex-Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias, urges JOH to allow IACHR investigation

“I’m sure we agree that in a case such as this one, involving the brutal murder of a nationally and internationally recognized social leader, it is important that the investigation be seen as transparent and impartial by the victim’s family and by the general public. This is why I respectfully urge you to consider granting the family’s request to allow the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to form a commission of independent international experts to join the murder investigation.”

Link to English version of letter

Link to original version of letter in Spanish

‘Time was running out’: Honduran activist’s last days marked by threats

In her final days, Berta Cáceres was bombarded with texts and calls warning her to give up the fight against the Agua Zarca dam, or else.

The Honduran indigenous leader told trusted friends and colleagues that some of the death threats were from a suspected sicario – or hitman – who was terrorizing community members near the dam and openly boasting of his intention to kill her.

Read more.

LA Times: Murder of acclaimed activist has U.S. questioning massive Central American aid package

“The administration has portrayed Hernandez as a credible partner in tackling the region’s myriad troubles, including the flood of undocumented families to the U.S. border, rampant violence and drug-trafficking.

That kind of assessment infuriates many in Congress and in the activist community. They are skeptical Hernandez will allow a credible investigation into the Caceres slaying or ease the government’s repression of people it doesn’t like.”

Read more.

This Earth Day, Lets Defend Earth’s Defenders

In many places, basic human dignity often requires those who live closest to the land to fight, openly, to protect it. And, increasingly the bold actions of those on the frontlines of environmental protection lead them to be marginalized, criminalized, and even killed. Such was the case with Honduran environmental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, who was killed early last month. Read more.

Stop aid to Honduras, says murdered campaigner’s daughter

The daughter of murdered environmental leader Berta Cáceres has called for a suspension of European aid to Honduras and investment in its hydro projects until the country complies with human rights norms.

Cáceres was shot as she slept on 2 March, after her family say that Honduran authorities failed to adequately respond to a slew of escalating death threats.

Read more.