The scandalous lack of an effective investigation to find those responsible for ordering the brutal killing of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres sends a terrifying message to the hundreds of people who dare to speak out against the powerful, said Amnesty International on the first anniversary of the killing on 2 March.
“Berta’s tragic murder illustrates the woeful state of human rights in Honduras. The message is clear: if your human rights work disturbs those with power, you will be killed,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“The scandalously poor investigation into Berta’s murder, which has so far failed to identify those responsible for ordering her killing and the lack of an effective mechanism to protect witnesses and other human rights defenders, shows the Honduran authorities’ lack of interest in securing justice.
“Every day that goes by without justice being delivered pushes Honduran environmental activists one step closer to a tragic end. Failing to protect them is failing to protect the natural resources which everyone depends on for survival.”
Berta Cáceres, leader and co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Peoples Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was shot dead on 2 March 2016 in her home in the town of La Esperanza, in the province of Intibucá, western Honduras. For years, she had vocally campaigned against the construction of the Agua Zarca dam because of the threat it posed to the Indigenous Lenca people.
Since her brutal murder, several other Honduran environmental and human rights activists, including others from COPINH, have been harassed and threatened.