Urgent Action: Environmental Activist Assassinated in Honduras
Witness to the assassination of Honduran indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres being held in Honduras.
Urge Canadian & Honduran authorities to take action
CoDevelopment Canada joins the many organizations expressing condemnation of the assassination of Berta Cáceres, general coordinator and co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).
Ms. Cáceres was killed in La Esperanza, Intibuca on March 3rd after several individuals broke into the house where she was staying and shot and killed her. We are also very concerned for the safety of Gustavo Castro Soto, a Mexican colleague of Ms. Cáceres, who witnessed and survived her assassination, and who is now being held in Honduras.
Ms. Cáceres’ murder was witnessed by Gustavo Castro Soto, a Mexican citizen and colleague from the organization Otros Mundos Chiapas. Mr. Castro has fully cooperated with all aspects of the investigation into Ms. Cáceres’ assassination. On Sunday, March 6th, Mr. Castro attempted to leave Honduras legally and with protection from the Mexican Embassy in Honduras, but was detained by Honduran authorities at the airport under the argument that he had to give additional testimony, without having received prior notification of this. Honduran authorities then insisted on conducting additional interviews with Mr. Castro in Intibuca instead of from the safety of the Mexican Embassy in Tegucigalpa.
After assuring Mr. Soto verbally that he could leave Honduras after giving additional testimony, the Honduran Attorney General then issued a 30 day migratory alert requiring Mr. Soto to remain in Honduras, in spite of already having participated fully in the investigation. It is vitally important to highlight that Mexico and Honduras have a treaty for mutual cooperation in criminal investigations, under whose terms Gustavo could continue to participate in the investigation from Mexico. There is no need for him to remain in Honduras and it is urgent that Honduran authorities revoke his migratory alert and that, together with Mexican authorities, ensure his safety and safe passage home as soon as possible.
Furthermore, Berta’s family and her organization COPINH have been speaking out against the manipulation of the investigation into her murder, as rather than questioning the people that Berta was denouncing for threats and as being her paid assassins, the investigation has been oriented to further persecute and criminalize COPINH.
Please join CoDevelopment in signing the two letters below. The first letter calls on the Canadian Government to: urge the Honduran government to revoke the migratory alert that keeps Gustavo in Honduras and guarantee his safe and prompt return to Mexico; urge the Mexican government to maintain and strengthen measures for Gustavo’s physical and psychological well-being in Honduras and safe return to Mexico; urge for the involvement of independent, international investigators specifically in coordination with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), given the weakness of the Honduran justice system and lack of political will to ensure a full and impartial investigation of Berta Cáceres’ assassination.
The second letter calls on Honduran authorities to lift the migratory alert and allow Mr. Castro to leave Honduras, and calls on the Mexican authorities to take greater actions to pressure the Government of Honduras to allow Mr. Castro to leave Honduras.