The daughter of murdered Honduran environmentalist and prestigious Goldman Prize winner Berta Cáceres has just barely survived an armed attack, mere months after she took over the Indigenous rights organization her mother founded.
Bertha Zuñiga, just 26 years old, was attacked by machete-wielding thugs and nearly forced off a cliff by a pick-up truck, yet somehow made it out alive.
This attack is the direct result of Bertha’s advocacy against the privatisation of water in the La Paz region of Honduras. The Zazagua dam was built on international development money by USAID on the pretenses of helping the community but it has done nothing but privatize their water supply, placing neighboring towns in conflict with one another.
Like Bertha and her mother, many women human rights defenders in Honduras have been systematically targeted and intimidated for their activism in years. This is why a new law is being pushed in Honduras to protect environmentalists and human rights defenders, so the time to act is now.
Tell USAID to pull its funding from Agua Zarca and other infrastructure projects in Honduras until the government takes steps to protect environmentalists lives.
Honduras is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an environmentalist. At least 124 activists have been murdered since 2009 when the democratically elected government was violently overthrown in a military coup.
Instead of pressuring the Honduran government to protect environmental and Indigenous activists, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has repeatedly put Washington’s foreign policy goals ahead of those of local communities by dishing out millions in mega infrastructure projects.
When Bertha Zuñiga’s mother was murdered, nearly 200,000 SumOfUs members spoke up. Just last month, the international funders behind the Agua Zarca dam project withdrew their funding. Only USAID continues to turn a blind eye. We have to make it listen before another Honduran water defender isn’t as lucky as Bertha Zuñiga.
Join our call to USAID to suspend all aid to Honduran infrastructure projects until environmentalists and human rights defenders are duly protected.