IM-Defensoras research shows women human rights defenders in danger in Honduras

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On July 16, The Guardian reported: “Despite the global outrage [at the murder of environmental defender Berta Cáceres], there has been no improvement in the plight of Honduran activists, who complain of facing intimidation, ranging from harassment and smear campaigns to death threats and illegal detention.”

That article further notes:

According to a new analysis, the number of incidents involving female human rights defenders rose from 203 in 2016 to 475 in 2017.

The research by IM-Defensoras, an organisation representing female rights defenders in Central America, found seven other women who were engaged in similar struggles had been killed. There had also been 34 attempted murders since 2016, it found.

Between 2016 and 2019, 48% of all incidents targeting female defenders in the region occurred in Honduras.

Lydia Alpízar, co-director of IM-Defensoras, said the data painted a clear picture of Honduras as a place where environmentalists were at high risk.

Activists say that since the 2009 coup, the state has worked hand in hand with big industrial companies to pursue environmentally destructive projects, with scant regard for the rights of indigenous people.

“They are protecting their ancestral lands, and they’re in the way, and in the case of Honduras you can see clearly that opposing this model is lethal. You can get killed or criminalised, or pushed from your land,” says Alpízar.

The article also quotes Bertha Zuñiga who says: “We have to continue the fight. Our work, our struggle for justice in the case of our mother, will contribute to this important cause of ensuring there is no repetition of this kind of crime in our country.”

The full article in The Guardian can be read here.

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