While preparing the Pax Christi International reflections and call to action for International Women’s Day, we received the news of the outrageous crime against Berta Caceres, who was assassinated in Honduras on March 3rd, 2016.
Berta, as Coordinator of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH), was one of the leading indigenous activists in the country.
She was a natural leader, working for the human rights and dignity of indigenous populations, especially the Lenca, her own people, and for the agricultural communities in the country who are being deprived of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and their livelihoods. All of which denies them their human dignity and a role in the building up of Honduran society.
Berta was an outstandingly courageous human being, fighting against the powerful; those who wish to own everything to the detriment of those who own nothing. She opposed the power of money and politics which deny people their human rights. She repeatedly risked her life as she advocated for the land rights of indigenous communities and opposed the destructive practices of extractives industries, but she never wavered from her determined pursuit of a better world.
She also opposed the militarization of the country, raising her voice against the installation of military bases and their destructive impact on every aspect of the lives of communities.
Berta was a witness to truth, social and ecological justice and to the rule of law in Honduras, seeing that every person is equal before the law and must enjoy, without difference, the benefits of development and also be accountable for their actions when denying the human rights of others.
Pax Christi International is grateful for Berta’s life, grieves her death and prays for her, her family, friends and colleagues. We give thanks for her work and testimony and share it as an inspiration for all of us in working for justice and respect for human and environmental rights and the dignity of all creation.
We remember her, especially on International Women’s Day, as a woman of courage, integrity and commitment.
To read more about International Women’s Day 2016, click here.