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Members of COPINH hold a rally in Honduras during an international day of action for Berta Cáceres in June. (Photo: COPINH)

'Horrific Human Rights Crime': Another Environmental Activist Slain in Honduras

Lesbia Yaneth Urquía, a compatriot of two other recently murdered campaigners, was found dead beside a municipal landfill on Wednesday

Nika Knight Beauchamp

Another Indigenous environmental activist has been killed in Honduras, teleSUR reports.

"The death of Lesbia Yaneth is a political feminicide, and an attempt to silence the voice of those brave women who are courageously defending their rights and opposing the patriarchal, racist and capitalist system of of their society."
—COPINH

The activist, identified as Lesbia Yaneth Urquía, was abducted and found dead near a municipal dump with severe head trauma on Wednesday.

Urquía was a member of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the Indigenous rights group founded by slain activist Berta Cáceres. Urquía "fought against the building of hydroelectric power plants on Indigenous land," according to teleSUR.

"The comrade was killed with a knife," said La Voz Lenca, the communications arm of COPINH, on its Facebook page, according to teleSUR's translation. The group added that Urquía had been "abducted by unknown persons."

In a press release, COPINH wrote that the "death of Lesbia Yaneth is a political feminicide, and an attempt to silence the voice of those brave women who are courageously defending their rights and opposing the patriarchal, racist and capitalist system of of their society."

Maude Barlow, chairperson of the social justice group Council of Canadians, condemned this latest murder as a "horrific human rights crime."

Urquía's death also follows that of Nelson García, another COPINH activist who had fought against a mega-dam project alongside Cáceres before he was also shot and killed in March.

In June, a whistleblower revealed that Cáceres had been on a secret "kill list" that U.S.-trained Honduran special forces use to target environmental and Indigenous activists in the country.

Since a U.S.-backed military coup that overthrew a democratically elected president in 2009, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for environmental and land defenders, according to U.K.-based human rights group Global Witness.


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