Honduras: Indigenous Leader Berta Cáceres Murdered

Source: TeleSUR English

Berta Caceres, the coordinator and co-founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, or COPIHN, was killed by unknown assailants early Thursday morning at 1:00 a.m. local time inside her home in La Esperanza in the western province of Intibuca.

Caceres was leader of the Lenca Indigenous community and was a staunch human rights defender. She won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015. Her assassination has rapidly sent shock waves across the country and sparked outrage over her death.

“Berta Caceres is one of the leading indigenous activists in Honduras. She spent her life fighting in defense of indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources,” said Karen Spring, Honduras-based coordinator of the Honduras Solidarity Network, in a statement. “Her death will have a profound impact on the many Lenca communities that she worked with, COPINH, the Honduran social movement, and all that knew her.”

The attackers waited until the victim went to sleep before breaking into her house and assassinated her. Her brother was injured during the attack, according to local reports.

According to Spring, who spoke to teleSUR by phone from La Esperanza, Caceres’ family and COPINH demand an independent, international investigation that is not led by Honduran officials, the Organization of American States, or the newly launched OAS and government-backed anti-corruption body known as Maccih.

“They want a thorough investigation, they don’t want it to remain in impunity, and they obviously remain very skeptical that the police and the Honduran government will adequately respond and do a thorough investigation,” said Spring.

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