Statement from the Dam Tormentor Network, civil society and environmental activists in Thailand call to condemn after the assassination of the Honduras human rights activist

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4 March 2016
2 March 2016, night time, (GMT -6), Berta Cáceres was shot dead by two assailants in her home. Her brother also was injured.

Ms. Cáceres, who is member of the Lenca indigenous group and the environmental rights activist, has co-founded National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras for protecting the human rights of the Lenca indigenous peoples from
the construction of the Aqua Zarca Dam located at Gualcarque River where the Lenca people live. Ms. Cáceres fought for the Lenca in various forms such as legal advocacy, prosecution, community consultation and empowerment, complaint submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, etc.

In 2015, she was awarded the Goldman Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for grass-roots environmentalism.

The New York Time reported that although the Inter-American Human Rights Commission had ordered protective measures for Ms. Cáceres, she was not under the protection of
the Honduran security forces on the day of her death.

What Ms. Cáceres has devoted herself is to raise a call for human rights of the indigenous peoples to protect national resources as regarded as the community heritage for more than 500 years. She, in association with her network, has opposed the dam construction by requesting for a community consultation prior decision making and project development.

After the Coup d’ Etat in Honduras in 2009, the military has established a junta and granted many concessions and projects involving with the dam, mining, mineral, to the private companies. These grants seized and deprived the community resources for profits.
The Aqua Zarca Dam where Ms. Cáceres put her efforts against the dam’s construction has been granted for the Sinohydro, the Chinese state-owned dam developer. After the constant protests and pressures, the Sinohydro gave up the project.

Some of us may have met and recognized her at a five-day conference on large dams under the rallying cry of “Rivers for Life” (2003) where roughly 300 grassroots activists, people affected by large dams and representatives from NGOs gathered in a small village in Rasi Salai district in Northeast Thailand. We are very aware that how it was when the community was ignored and the voices were never heard without participation in decision making.

We, the tormentors from the dams in the river basins and mines in Thailand and the civil society whose names are endorsed below, condemn those who committed, or were otherwise responsible for, this inhuman act. We also call on the Honduras government to initiate the investigation and proceed the judicial process immediately.

List of Organizations Endorsing the Call to Condemn March 4, 2016
1 Karen Studies and Development Center
2 Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC)
3 Land Watch Working Group
4 The campaign for Public Policy on Mineral Resources : PPM
5 Thai network of the people who own mineral resources
6 Eco-Culture Study Group
7 Youth Leadership for Social Change Project, Thai Volunteer Service Foundation
8 Nonthaburi Healthy Public Policy Foundation
9 Green World Foundation
10 Focus on the Global South
11 ENLAWTHAI Foundation (EnLAW)
12 Local Action Links (Local Act)
13 Living River Siam Association
14 Mekong Community Institute (MCI)
15 Orphya Institute
16 Mae Yom River Basin Network
17 Takorn Yom Youth Group
18 Rat Sathorn Rak Pah Group
19 Chiang Kong Mekong School on Local Knowledge
20 Mekong-Lanna Natural Resources and Culture Conservation Networks
21 Upper Mae Jam River Basin Community Conservation Network
22 Khonanurak Facebook page
23 Tamm Mun Project
24 Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (Thailand)
25 Alternative Agriculture Network
26 Seub Nakasatiean
27 Thai Climate Justice
28 NET Foundation
29 Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Dr. Chainarong Sretthachau Mahasarakham University
Darunee Paisarnpanichkul, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Chiang Mai University
Preeda Thongchumnum, Lawyer
Pattranit Yaodum, Lawyer
Janejin Ema, Lawyer

 

 

Translated by Jirawat Suriyashotichyangkul

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