Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. joined with 118 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe today in urging the U.S. Department of State to take immediate action in response to the assassination of Goldman Prize winning environmental activist Berta Cáceres.
Tuesday’s assassination of Nelson García, a member of the same indigenous rights group as Ms. Cáceres, emphasizes the need for swift action. Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper organizations are calling on the U.S. Department of State to: support an independent and international investigation of the murder of Ms. Cáceres; press the Government of Honduras to provide immediate, carefully consulted protection to members of Ms. Cáceres’ family and colleagues, especially Mexican national Mr. Gustavo Castro, sole witness to the murder; urge the Government of Honduras to meet its obligation to provide prior, free, informed and transparent consultation of communities for proposed and existing hydropower concessions; and ensure that U.S. assistance and support for multilateral bank projects do not promote or permit development projects without meeting the obligation for robust, transparent consultation with indigenous communities.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance, stated:
“We are calling on Secretary Kerry to take immediate and tangible actions to discourage further tragic events like the murder of Ms. Berta Cáceres, tireless defender of Honduran rivers, land rights, and indigenous communities. Ms. Cáceres’ life was taken due to injustice, greed and corruption. On Tuesday, Nelson García, a colleague of Ms. Cáceres, was also killed in cold blood. They both fought against the most perverse threats to their environment in a country rife with socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations.
Brutal aggressions against environmental advocates as they take a stand for their communities’ given rights are an attack on fundamental freedom. Like these brave advocates, Waterkeepers throughout the U.S. and the world challenge the rationale and benefits of large-scale projects that pollute and damage our waterways. These heroic defenders of our environment must be protected.”