An urgent alert from the US Section of the
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

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March 10, 2016 

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section (WILPF US) condemns the murder of Honduran human rights activist Berta Cáceres.
 
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 Berta Caceres by Prachatai
Berta Cáceras. Photo credit: Prachatai, Flickr Creative Commons

On Thursday, March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres, indigenous feminist human rights activist was murdered in her home in Honduras. This came after a series of death threats against her and other indigenous rights activists by supporters of the hydroelectricity project being built by DESA-Agua Zarca, a local private company which had been backed by several international financial companies, including China's SinoHydro, the International Finance Corporation, "the World Bank's private sector arm," and other international financial groups.

Berta Cáceres, a member of the Lenca indigenous group, and other activists were fighting to protect their lands and waterways from environmental destruction. Their activism resulted in the withdrawal of support for DESA-Agua Zarca's hydroelectricity project from SinoHydro and the World Bank, thus delaying the project. Cáceres was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for her activism. According to The Guardian
"She has also won plaudits from international NGOs for standing up to powerful landowners, a US-funded police force, and a mercenary army of private security guards in the most murderous country in the world for environmental campaigners."

In her own words on accepting the Goldman Prize: "Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action."

Mexican human rights activist Gustavo Castro Soto was also wounded in the attack that killed Berta Cáceres. He has been detained and prevented from leaving the country by Honduran authorities.

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section joins other peace as well as human rights and women's activist organizations in strongly condemning the murder of one of our own. We deplore the role of the US government in the 2009 coup and militarization of Honduras.

On this International Women's Day, we stand in solidarity as women, peace, and human rights activists in support of the work for which Berta Cáceres lost her life. In the name of our sister, Berta Cáceres, we commit ourselves to the achievement of a world where gender equity is a reality, where there is no violence against women, and ALL people can live in peace, dignity, and respect. On this day, we demand justice for Berta! La lucha sigue!

In sisterhood, peace, and solidarity,

Maureen N. Eke,
eke1mn@cmich.edu, Program Chair, WILPF US
Mary Hanson Harrison, president@wilpfus.org, President, WILPF US
 
action
Urgent Action  

Contact your Senators and Members of Congress, and Secretary of State John Kerry,
secretary@state.gov , asking them to insist:
  1. on an independent investigation of the murder of Berta Cáceres and
  2. that Mexican human rights activist Gustavo Castro Soto be released from Honduran custody and permitted to travel
  3. that US military aid to Honduras be withheld until the killing of environmental and human rights leaders is stopped and those responsible for the murder of Berta Cáceres are held to account.
 
Ambassador Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes // Honduras Embassy in the U.S. 202.506.4995, 202.450.3146,
E: consulado.washington@hondurasemb.org
1014 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

Ambassador James D. Nealon //
US Embassy in Honduras    http://honduras.usembassy.gov/ :
011 (504) 2238-5114, or 2236-9320,
E: NealonJD@state.gov
  irctgu@state.gov ,   usahonduras@state.gov
Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa M.D.C., Honduras

Ambassador Alden Rivera //
Honduras Embassy in Mexico
52 55 5211 5250
Calle Alfonso Reyes #220, 06170 Ciudad de México, D.F., México,
 

   
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom/US Section
11 Arlington Street | Boston, MA 02116 | 617-266-0999 | www.wilpfus.org
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