Killing of another human rights defender: FMO suspends all activities in Honduras

March 16, 2016

Bertha Cáceres, daughter of murdered Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres.

 Bertha Cáceres, daughter of murdered Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres. Photograph: Liz Ford for the Guardian

This week, Bertha, who is studying for a masters degree in Latin American studies in Mexico, was in New York to speak at side events during the annual Commission on the Status of Women. Here she said “… I will talk about the situation in Honduras. This is not the first assassination, but one of a series of assassinations of human rights defenders … I don’t want another human rights defender to be assassinated”. Even while she spoke with the Guardian journalist a call came through from COPINH’s lawyer (the NGO her mother worked for) to say another member of the organisation had been shot dead ….

According to a statement by Front Line Defenders today, this human rights defender, Nelson Garcia, was returning home following a violent eviction conducted by the Public Order Military Police and the Cobras Special Force in the municipality of Río Lindo when he was intercepted by unidentified men who shot him in the face four times.

The assassination of Nelson García happens less than two weeks after the killing of prominent COPINH leader, Berta Cáceres, on 3 March 2016 [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/berta-caceres-human-rights-defender-assassinated-today-in-honduras/]

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/mar/16/berta-caceres-bertha-honduras-not-first-human-rights-defender-assassinated

With regard to the issue of financing the Agua Zarca dam [see my post of a few hours ago https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/berta-caceres-killing-agua-zarca-dam-finance/] it is interesting to note the Statement by FMO of today (16 March 2016) that: “FMO is shocked by the news that Nelson García, another COPINH member, has been murdered in Honduras. After the recent violent death of Berta Cáceres, we have called upon the Honduran government to do anything in their power to stop the ongoing violence and killings in their country. The right of speech for those who speak up for their rights and the livelihoods of people are of very high value to FMO. Every individual should be safe when defending their position. FMO rejects and condemns any violence against those individuals or groups.

Given the current situation, with ongoing violence, FMO decided to suspend all activities in Honduras, effective immediately. This means that we will not engage in new projects or commitments and that no disbursements will be made, including the Agua Zarca project. As already announced, a delegation, including our CEO and FMO’s director for the Energy Sector, will travel to Honduras and visit the communities around the Agua Zarca project to get a complete understanding of the current situation. FMO has invited NGOs to support it in those efforts. This mission will be undertaken as soon as the safety situation allows for it. We will also do a thorough investigation on all the other projects in Honduras it is involved in. On the basis of each investigation, further decisions will be made on the continued involvement of FMO.”

https://www.fmo.nl/k/n1771/news/view/28133/538/fmo-suspends-all-activities-in-honduras-effective-immediately.html

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