Canadian Delegation to Participate in the International Gathering Celebrating the Life of Berta Cáceres in Honduras
(Ottawa/Montreal) Today, the Canada Honduras Delegation for Justice, Land and Life is traveling to Tegucigalpa for the International Peoples Gathering ‘Berta Cáceres Lives’. First Nations women leaders, lawyers, filmmakers and solidarity activists make up the delegation that has been organized in the wake of the murder of Berta Cáceres’ on March 3rd, followed closely by her colleague Nelson Garcia’s murder on March 14th.
Berta Cáceres was a Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder has sparked an unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. Berta and the organization that she helped found, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), have been fighting powerful economic and political interests to keep hydroelectric dams and mining concessions off of Indigenous Lenca territory.
“From the get go, the investigation into Berta’s murder and the attempted murder against Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who was with her at the time, has been fraught with irregularities. Yet, the Canadian government’s response has been insufficient, failing to question this process. We will be documenting what we hear to bring that back to Ottawa next week,” remarked Catherine Morris from Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.
Berta’s family and COPINH have denounced Honduran officials as incapable of undertaking a full and impartial investigation, outing one official for close ties to the hydroelectric company that Berta was protesting and citing bias against her, given prior attempts to legally persecute her on baseless charges. They insist that the Honduran government needs to reach an agreement with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to involve a group of independent, international experts in the investigation.
“We know that Berta’s murder is just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to Honduras to hear first-hand about the deadly environment that community activists face and how the Canadian government and business have been taking advantage of the repressive context to facilitate economic interests. We need this to change,” remarked Mary Hannaburg, Mohawk Nation Director for Quebec Native Women.
Delegation in Honduras: Grahame Russell, Rights Action, 011 (504) 9848-4633
Coordination in Ottawa: Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 722-0412
Coordination in Montreal: Marie Eve Marleau, Coordinator, Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), (514) 257-8710 x 334