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10 March 2016 | Interviews | Water | Criminalization of COPINH | Free Honduras | Land grabbing | Resisting neoliberalism | Human rights | Gender | Climate Justice and Energy | Social activists at risk | Berta lives on!
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The Intergovernmental Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council in charge of defining the terms of a binding treaty on human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises is expected to present a report about the advances so far. Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the Group has not overlooked the murder of Lenca indigenous leader Berta Cáceres in Honduras.
Social movements and organizations member of the Global Campaign to dismantle corporate power and members of the Treaty Alliance made sure of this. Just after sending their delegations, they learned about the terrible death of Berta, a crime in which Gustavo Castro, coordinator of Otros Mundos Chiapas – Friends of the Earth Mexico, was also injured.
“We came to denounce the murder of Berta, the permanent harassment suffered by the Lenca people and the members of COPINH (Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) as well as the wrongful detention, to say the least, against Gustavo Castro, that is still taking place”, said yesterday activist Alberto Villarreal, Latin American and Caribbean coordinator of the Economic Justice-Resisting Neoliberalism Program of Friends of the Earth International.
The idea of the social movements was to raise in Geneva the support of the Intergovernmental Working Group and present its views about the report, but the news about Berta´s murder “was like a knife to the heart”, and the plans had to “change completely”, said Villarreal, also member of REDES – Friends of the Earth Uruguay.
Recently, Berta and COPINH had been very active denouncing the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project on the Gualcarque River, owned by company Desarrollos Energéticos Sociedad Anónima (DESA) with the support of transnational funds. The leader warned several times about the harassment and threats suffered by her and her colleagues from the company and the National Police and Army as well. Now COPINH is demanding an investigation on these actors over the murder of their coordinator, considering them responsible, together with the foreign investors of the dam.
On Wednesday there was a parallel activity outside the Palais des Nations in Geneva, were the UN´s Human Rights Council is holding its sessions, and today there will be a press conference by some members of the Global Campaign to dismantle corporate power and the Treaty Alliance.
The demands for justice over the murder of Berta and protection for COPINH members and the Lenca people, as well as for Gustavo Castro and for his return to Mexico have featured the work of the social movements and organizations in Geneva. And they are present in this interview with Villarreal, in the search for the demands that cost so much to the Honduran and Latin American struggle to be heard and addressed also at international spheres.
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