We are so saddened–and outraged–by the assassination of Berta Cáceres, Indigenous and environmental rights activist from Honduras. We were lucky to partner with Berta several times through our work on indigenous land rights and climate change. She was and is an inspiration to all of us.
Her murder is particularly painful because it comes less than a year after Berta won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the top prize for environmental activism. Her death is a huge loss for the movement.
It also comes less than a year after a Global Witness report warned that Honduras had become the deadliest country for environmental activists.
Our hope is that Berta’s death draws more attention to the harassment and killing of environmental activists globally. These are people (many of them Indigenous) who stand up to governments and extractive industries, who die defending our environment and protecting the natural resources all of us need to survive.
We second these words from Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
“Berta spent her life fighting for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly to the lands they have long called home. Her murder is a devastating loss for her family and community – and for the indigenous peoples’ movement. I salute her for her bravery and courage to persist in leading the resistance of her people against the dam, in spite of all the death threats she has been receiving.
Cáceres is the latest name on a long list of indigenous activists who have been murdered for standing up for their human rights. It is time for the nations of the world to bring perpetrators to justice and to protect indigenous rights activists peacefully protesting the theft of their lands and resources.”