Many people have heard of the March 2016 murder of Berta Cáceres, an award-winning environmental and indigenous rights leader in Honduras, and the many threats that proceeded her death. They may not know, however, that the Honduran authorities had falsely charged Cáceres with inciting usurpation of land, coercion, and damages against the company building the hydo-electric damn opposed by her organization, the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in 2013. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Josefina Salomón, News Writer at Amnesty International
The armed men who burst into the house of Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres on 3 March had a simple plan: find her, kill her, and leave.
What they didn’t expect, however, is for Gustavo Castro, a human rights activist working with Friends of the Earth Mexico and a close friend of Berta’s, to be in the next room. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
WATCH LIVE: Human Rights Implications of Protecting People on the Move in the Americas
Migration from Central America to the U.S. is not a new phenomenon, however the reasons, or push factors that are causing people to migrate or flee have changed. The Northern Triangle of Central America (“NTCA”), composed of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, is considered one of the most dangerous places on earth, which has caused unprecedented levels of migration. The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees has called this a humanitarian crisis. Many Central Americans are refugees who like Syrians, are fleeing for their lives.
While the United States has seen a record in asylum applications in recent years, Central American countries are dealing with larger migratory flows from the NTCA within their borders. According a 2014 UNHCR report, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama have had a 432% increase in asylum applications. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“Defending human rights in Honduras is a crime. They are criminalizing the right to our [indigenous] identity and sense of self.”
-Berta Cáceres, 2013
Gunmen brutally murdered Berta Cáceres, award-winning leader of the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in La Esperanza, Honduras on March 3, 2016. Almost immediately, the Honduran authorities jumped to the conclusion that she must have been killed in a robbery.
By Esmeralda López and Adotei Akwei
Urias (a 32-year-old mother from Usulután Province, El Salvador) says ICE agents showed up at the door of her apartment in Atlanta at 11 a.m. Sunday, but she wouldn’t let them in. Then they called her and said they were actually there because her ankle monitor was broken. So she opened the door. Once inside, they told her to get her kids together and go with them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Victims of abuses in Honduras rely upon the work of human rights defenders in their country for help. But what happens when the defenders themselves become the target of threats and violence?
Amnesty International’s recent report, Defending Human Rights in the Americas: Necessary, Legitimate and Dangerous, features several examples of abuses directed against human rights defenders in Honduras: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
On January 24, a high-ranking military official told Honduran journalist César Omar Silva Rosales that he would be found “in a ditch, gagged and with yellow legs” if he continued to produce unfavorable coverage of the military. Even more shocking, the official made this threat directly to the journalist’s face as he was trying to cover a congressional session on military policy. Amnesty International has issued an urgent action in this case. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
It has been almost two years since Amnesty International launched its report on attacks against human rights in the Americas, Transforming Pain into Hope. Many of the cases it documented took place in Honduras, often against campesino (rural) leaders. Unfortunately, human rights abusers continue to target rural activists. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Amnesty International welcomes the positive step of President Obama’s recent meeting with his counterparts from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala regarding the increasing number of children fleeing violence in those countries – with or without their parents.
It is extremely troubling, however, that President Obama continues to assert that his government will return the overwhelming majority of these children to the extreme violence that has driven them to make the dangerous journey to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
President Obama has responded to the recent surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border with a $1 million ad campaign aimed at Central Americans.
The U.S. government wants to send two main messages – the journey to the U.S. is extremely dangerous, and those caught, including children, will be deported.