Last week, Honduran police arrested several officers employed by the Agua Zarca Dam builder DESA and the country's armed forces as suspects in the murder of Berta Cáceres. It was a welcome sign of progress in a troubled investigation.
If the other financiers do indeed drop the Agua Zarca Dam, it will mark an important success for the international grassroots campaign coordinated by partners including COPINH, Friends of the Earth Europe, BankTrack and Both Ends. At the same time, the struggle continues, and the international financiers must learn their lessons from this violent and painful experience.
The situation on the ground remains extremely dangerous for COPINH activists. As I'm writing this update, the Honduran security forces are responding with brutal force against a peaceful COPINH protest at the country's Presidential Palace. The COPINH activists are simply asking for an independent investigation into Berta's murder. At least three people have been seriously injured, and at least four have been detained, including Francisco Javier Sanchez, who just returned from a visit to the European dam financiers.
In coordination with our international partners, International Rivers calls for the following measures to be urgently taken:
- The violent repression against COPINH and its partners in Honduras has to stop immediately. The detained activists must be released, and the Honduran government must guarantee freedom of association and expression.