For Immediate Release
Prize-Winning Honduran Environmental Activist Murdered
WASHINGTON - Last night assailants attacked and killed Berta Cáceres, an indigenous activist who earned the Goldman Prize in 2015 for her work stopping a dam project in Honduras.
Cáceres co-founded the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, known as COPINH. She won a fight of many years to pressure the world’s largest dam builder, the Chinese state-owned company Sinohydro, to pull out of construction of a complex of large dams known as Agua Zarca.
For over two decades, COPINH’s leadership in defending the lands and peoples of Honduras has earned it countless popular victories. At the same time, the group’s resistance to development megaprojects like dams, mines and forestry concessions has drawn the ire of loggers, dam-builders and palm oil interests. On many occasions, Berta and her colleagues were persecuted, harassed or threatened for their peaceful protests.
Friends of the Earth U.S. and Other Worlds recognized Cáceres' incredible leadership and dedication, and nominated her for the Goldman Environmental Prize -- the environmental equivalent of a Nobel Peace Prize. In April 2015, Cáceres came to San Francisco and Washington, D.C. to accept this award, which recognizes five ordinary individuals in the world every year who work at the grassroots level to protect and enhance our environment.
Jeff Conant, senior international forests campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S., made the following statement about this tragedy:
The killing of Berta Cáceres is a horrible shock -- but, tragically, it is not a surprise. Everywhere in the world where Indigenous and land-based peoples defend the earth and their ways of life, they are persecuted, dispossessed, and, as in the case of Berta and literally hundreds of others in the Honduran resistance movement, murdered in cold blood. We grieve her loss, we demand a full investigation and accountability -- and we call for redoubled efforts to support frontline struggles to defend lands and indigenous territories, everywhere.
For more information on the life of Berta Cáceres, visit the following links:
Berta Cáceres Is Still Alive (October 2013)
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Won't Exist.
Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.