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13th July 2017, 12:39:44 UTC

On June 30 there was an armed attack against members of COPINH. 

Unknown assailants attacked Berta Zuniga Cáceres, Sotero Chavarría Fúnez and José Asunción Martínez, coordinators of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), while they were on the road returning to La Esperanza municipality. The safety of COPINH members remains at risk.

Berta Zuniga Cáceres, Sotero Chavarría Fúnez and José Asunción Martínez, were returning to La Esperanza from Cancire Community in Santiago Puringla municipality. They had been discussing strategies with the Indigenous Council for defending territory and the environment in Cancire.

They told Amnesty International that a vehicle overtook theirs at high speed. A few metres ahead, the same vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. Three individuals with machetes and the driver stepped out of the vehicle and stood next to it in a threatening manner trying to hit the defenders’ vehicle with the machetes. COPINH’s driver was able to avoid them, but one of the armed men threw a stone at their vehicle that hit the windshield. A few minutes later the same vehicle overtook COPINH’s car, but with only the driver inside. The driver then tried to force COPINH’s vehicle off the road. The attacker’s car remained in front of COPINH’s car at a slower speed. The COPINH members succeeded in losing their attacker once they reached an urban area.

Sotero Chavarría Fúnez informed Amnesty International that in previous days two unknown men were asking for his whereabouts in his hometown. In June, unknown men tried to kidnap the mother of his children in a vehicle. On 21 June, COPINH reports that an unknown man threatened Francisco Javier Sánchez another coordinator, with a pistol while he was working the land and said he would kill his children.

Take urgent action to ensure their safety.

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