UN warns of abuses to defenders of indigenous peoples

Berta Cáceres was killed by his defence of the environment in 2016. | Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize

Many indigenous rights activists are arrested and imprisoned in their countries under charges of terrorism or belonging to political groups, denounced the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations in that area, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.
The United Nations Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples said that the main concern of these populations is to defend their lands and resources, as well as to protect their right to self-determination in the political, socio-economic and cultural development.
Tauli-Corpuz said that by 2015 more than 180 human rights defenders were killed, and 40 per cent were indigenous, according to studies of the NGO Global Witness.
The expert met with relatives of the indigenous leader and environmentalist Berta Cáceres, murdered in Honduras in 2016. The Rapporteur stressed that the masterminds of the crime, is still unknown, despite the fact that eight people have been arrested. The hearings were delayed due to “lack of determination” of the prosecutors in the case, said Tauli-Corpuz.
Berta Cáceres was killed in the early hours of March 3, 2016 by unknown individuals who forced the insurance from the entrance to the home of the activist. The killing of Cáceres was motivated by their fight against the hydroelectric project Agua Zarca. 
Cáceres was general coordinator of the Civic Council of popular and indigenous organizations of Honduras (Copinh) and led demonstrations in defense of the environment and against the construction of the hydroelectric project Agua Zarca because this threatened natural resources. His activism earned him the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015.
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