Environment

Another Honduras activist falls to bullets

Honduras is a dangerous country where 101 deaths of activists occurred between 2010 and 2014

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Friday 18 March 2016 | 07:02:20 AM

International organisation Oxfam has condemned the assassination of Nelson García (38), the second indigenous rights activist to be killed in Honduras in less than two weeks.

This comes right after the murder of Berta Caceres on March 3. Caceras was also an environmental activist based in Honduras.

In a chilling reminder of her fears of being murdered Cáceres had said earlier, “They follow me. They threaten to kill me, to kidnap me, they threaten my family. That is what we face.”

Billy Kyte, campaigner at international non-profit Global Witness, had wrapped up the situation aptly when he told Down To Earth last year, “In Honduras and across the world environmental defenders are being shot dead in broad daylight, kidnapped, threatened or tried as terrorists for standing in the way of so-called ‘development’.” Environmental defenders are fighting to protect the climate against ever-increasing odds, he had added.

According to a global report, environmentalists and land defenders, who dare to oppose big development projects in a bid to protect natural resources, have potential life risks.

Around 116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014, almost double the number of journalists killed during the same period, the report adds.

García had lent his support to the indigenous Lencas from the Río Chiquito community who were being evicted from land in the Río Lindo sector in Cortés.

According to The Guardian, he was shot dead in the face by unidentified assailants as he returned to his family home in Río Lindo in north-west Honduras.

He was the second member of COPINH (National Council of Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) killed this month. Co-founder Cáceres, the Goldman Prize-winning leader, was leading the Lenca community opposition to the Agua Zarca dam before she was murdered.

Honduras is a dangerous country where 101 deaths of activists occurred between 2010 and 2014, according to Global Witness.

According to Chris Moye, environmental campaigner for Global Witness, corruption is rampant in these two regions across both the law enforcement and judicial systems.

“What underpins many of the cases in these regions are land use problems and clashing conceptions of development. On the one hand, large landowners, the government and companies are pushing for a resource extraction model with the full force of the law on their side, and, on the other, local communities, mainly indigenous, are fighting to subsist and in many cases to simply conserve their environments,” Moye said.

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