Indigenous rights leader Berta Cáceres assassinated in Honduras

4 March 2016 - 9:45am

War on Want pays tribute to indigenous Lenca leader Berta Cáceres, shot dead in her home in Honduras in the early hours of 3 March 2016. We condemn her murder and we call on the Honduran government to bring the assassins to justice.

Berta Cáceres was a leader of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), and led the successful grassroots resistance to the Agua Zarca dam that threatened the Lenca community of Rio Blanco. Her courage and determination won her the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, whose commendation recognised the continuing threat to her life. This short video is a moving record of the people's resistance under the leadership of Berta Cáceres, and of her own personal courage.

War on Want had previously called on the Honduran authorities to guarantee the safety of Berta Cáceres and other human rights defenders from the Lenca community. Together with the Central American Women's Network (CAWN), we petitioned the Honduran embassy in October 2012 to protest against the wave of violence threatening women human rights defenders in Honduras.

When Berta Cáceres was arrested and imprisoned in May 2013, we joined the international campaign that secured her release. In October 2013, we sent a joint letter to the Honduran government condemning the false accusations made against Berta Cáceres and two other leaders of COPINH. Despite repeated calls for the authorities to guarantee her safety, she continued to receive death threats for her activities in defence of the Lenca community.

There will be a vigil in memory of Berta Cáceres outside the Honduran embassy in London on Monday 7 March at 3pm. We will honour the memory of such an inspirational and courageous leader, and we will demand an end to all violence against human rights defenders and indigenous activists in Honduras. Please join us - details here.

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