This Monday 14/05/2018 marks the start of the European tour that will take members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to some of the main European capitals, to denounce the lack of recognition of indigenous communities and protection of human rights defenders in Honduras.
Corruption between the Honduran judiciary and the Honduran executive is also a cause for concern among human rights defenders, as is the case of Berta Zúñiga Cáceres, an indigenous activist and coordinator of COPINH, who will be in Brussels this Monday to meet with the European Union’s Foreign Service.
More than two years after the murder of his mother, Berta Cáceres, a human rights defender, environmental activist and winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the International Advisory Group of Experts – GAIPE – released a report in November 2017 that revealed a lack of diligence in the investigation, including the absence of prosecution of potential intellectual authors of the murder. Members of GAIPE will be among the members of the delegation to present the progress of their research.
The tour will begin in Brussels on 14 and 15 May with a press conference at OMCT’s premises on 14 May (9:00-11:00) called by the EU-LAT Network, CIDSE, CNCD-11.11.11 and Protection International. The delegation will be in the Netherlands and Switzerland from 16 to 23 May 2018 and in Spain and Germany from 24 to 30 May 2018.
With this European tour, the delegation wants to denounce the impunity that remains in the case of Bertha Cáceres and the community of Río Blanco, due to the lack of dismantling of the economic and political structure behind the aggressions, as well as the fundamental sources of risk for COPINH. He also wants to show that Bertha’s case is an emblematic case from which both the systematic continuity of impunity and the claim to the rights of indigenous communities can emerge. It is also about denouncing the actions of the State that seek to protect the structures behind the murder and persecution of the indigenous communities that defend their territories, and to show the responsibilities of the international financial institutions in cases of human rights violations in extractive projects in Honduras.
On the same day 14 May, EU-LAT network, Broederlijk Delen, CNCD-11.11.11, CIDSE and Protection International,organise a public meeting with Bertha Zúniga Cáceres of COPINH and human rights defenders (CNCD, Brussels, 14 May 2018, 18:30) (FR – NL).
Members of the delegation
- Bertha Isabel Zuniga Caceres
General coordinator of COPINH. Bertha Isabel is the daughter of Bertha Caceres, as well as spokeswoman for the demand of justice, truth and no repetition of Bertha Caceres’ murder.
- Laura Yolanda Zúniga Cáceres.
Daughter of Berta Cáceres. Member of COPINH and one of the spokespersons in the demand for justice, truth and guarantees of non-repetition of the crime of her mother Berta Cáceres.
- Miguel Angel Urbina Martinez
Guatemalan lawyer and notary. A group member of the International Advisory group of experts (GAIPE), an independent group that investigated the murder of Bertha Caceres.
- Victor Antonio Fernandez
Lawyer, human rights defender and social leader. Ex-prosecutor and current Political Coordinator of “Broad movement for dignity and justice” or “Movimiento Amplio por la dignidad y la justicia”. He is also the coordinator of the legal team for justice in the case of Bertha Caceres.
- Francisco Javier Sanchez
President of the Indigenous Council for the community of Rio Blanco, Intibucá; where the “Agua Zarca” hydroelectric project is intended to get started.
It will also be a good time to talk about the current situation in Honduras after the last controversial elections.