It is with a broken heart that we share this news.
Our friend and inspiration Berta Cáceres, Honduran anti-dam activist, Goldman Prize winner, longtime partner in our work, was assassinated in her home early this morning. Berta had received repeated threats against her life and well-being in the past, and was assigned precautionary measures by the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), which were however not implemented by the Honduran government.
Berta, a mother of four, was an incredibly courageous woman who devoted her life to fighting for indigenous rights and the land and rivers that she loved. As our Latin America coordinator Monti Aguirre remembers, “Berta was passionate about her work, she loved her community and where they lived. She was a good friend and I will miss sharing stories of our families and our work.”
Our condolences go to Berta’s family, to her community, and to all who joined her in the fight.
To honor Berta Cáceres’ lifelong struggle and her ultimate sacrifice for rivers and rights, we also demand that the Honduran government:
- Allow a prompt and thorough independent international investigation into the murder of Bertha Cáceres, as well as the murders of other social and environmental justice activists.
- Stop all projects that have been denounced by human rights defenders, specifically the Agua Zarca hydropower dam on Rio Blanco, and the Blue Energy project on Rio Cangel.
- End its campaign of persecution and criminalization against human rights defenders and take all precautionary measures to protect the integrity and safety of its people.
Furthermore, we demand that:
- Corporations and financial institutions (including Siemens, Voith-Hydro, Dutch FMO and Finnfund) immediately withdraw their support and investments from the Agua Zarca Dam and other projects that have violated human rights, and that have not received the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.
- The US government, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and European banks suspend all loans to Honduras until justice is done.
- The US government, in particular, end its support for the Honduran military through loans and through training at the School of the Americas. (You can sign a petition by Friends of the Earth US asking for the immediate halt of military aid to Honduras here.)
Join our online action calling on dam builders and financiers to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam now! As an urgent action, we also ask you to sign a petition asking for the security of our Mexican friend Gustavo Castro, who witnessed the murder of Berta and is still in Honduras, to be guaranteed.
We will share further updates about ways to honor Berta and protest her murder on this page as we have them.
The Board and staff of International Rivers
Berta Cáceres, Honduran environment and human rights activist, murdered | The Guardian
Who Killed Berta Cáceres? | International Rivers
Honduras: Indigenous Leader Murdered Despite Police Protection | TeleSUR
The Death of Berta Cáceres | The New Yorker
Murdered for Activism in Honduras | The New York Times
Senator Patrick Leahy’s Statement
The Mortal Danger of Opposing a Dam | International Rivers