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Defending Berta’s Legacy—Tell Congress to stand up for human rights in Honduras

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Author: Andrea Fernández Aponte

Who is
Berta Cáceres?

Berta, longtime activist and charismatic leader, co-founded COPINH (Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) in 1993 to address the growing threats posed to Lenca communities by illegal logging and to fight for their territorial rights and improve their livelihoods. Together with her partners, she helped prevent the deforestation of indigenous lands from major lumber companies. Berta rallied the indigenous Lenca people and waged a grassroots campaign to oppose the Agua Zarca Dam project on the sacred Gualcarque River. She received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her outstanding efforts. Berta courageously fought for justice until the very end of her life.

      
 

Yesterday marked exactly one year since beloved environmental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home in La Esperanza, Honduras. To this day, the intellectual authors of her killing have not been brought to justice. Unfortunately, this has become the norm in Honduras.

More than 120 human and land rights defenders have been killed in Honduras since 2009, and countless others that have been threatened or attacked. Rural communities that stand up for their land rights and the environment experience shocking levels of violence—while perpetrators go free.

Today, we mourn the loss of Berta and all the other brave community leaders in Honduras who have lost their lives defending the environment and the rights of their peoples.


ACT NOW

On the anniversary of Berta’s death, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-4) reintroduced the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (the new bill number is H.R.1299; previously H.R.5474) in honor of the renowned activist’s life and work. This bill prohibits funds from being made available to Honduras for its police and military until the country’s government prosecutes those members responsible for human rights violations, and protects the rights of human rights defenders. 

Please take a minute to contact your representative and urge them to support this bill. >>>

In addition, members of the House started circulating a Dear Colleague letter addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week. The letter urges Secretary Tillerson to enforce human rights conditions on Honduras vigorously (withholding aid where needed), to work with the Department of the Treasury to oppose investments in Honduran industries implicated in human rights violations, and to hold the Honduran government accountable for attacks against human rights defenders and environmental activists.

[[First_Name]], there’s still time! Click here to tell your representative to also sign this crucial letter.>>>


SPREAD THE WORD

 

Berta Cáceres 1     
   

 

I stand with human & land rights defenders in Honduras! @LAWGaction #BertaBecameMillions
   
Congress: I urge you to support #HR1299 and champion human rights in Honduras. @LAWGaction #BertaBecameMillions
   
#BertaCaceres did not die, she multiplied! Happy to join @LAWGaction in defending her legacy! #BertaBecameMillions