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Oxfam strongly condemns the assassination of Nelson García, the second indigenous rights activist to be killed in Honduras in less than two weeks. The ongoing violence against this community is shocking, inexcusable, and must end.
García had been supporting indigenous Lencas from the Río Chiquito community who were being evicted from land in the Río Lindo sector in Cortés when he was murdered yesterday. He is the second member of COPINH (National Council of Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) killed this month. Co-founder Berta Cáceres, the Goldman Prize-winning leader, was assassinated on March 3. Cáceres had been leading Lenca community opposition to the Agua Zarca dam before she was killed.
The Dutch development bank FMO and FinnFund, from Finland, have both announced they will suspend all of their operations in Honduras, including pending disbursements to the Agua Zarca dam project.
While FMO’s and FinnFund’s moves are necessary and welcome, this is not enough. Only a full withdrawal from the project by all investors will help stem the violence and send a clear message to the Honduran authorities that the targeting of human rights defenders must cease.
Oxfam will continue to campaign and pressure all international investors in the Agua Zarca project, including Voith-Siemens and the Central-American Bank for Economic Integration, to withdraw their support.
Oxfam calls on the Honduran government to protect Cáceres’ family, members of her Indigenous rights organization, and the human rights activist Gustavo Castro from Mexico, who was shot and injured in the same attack. As the sole witness to Cáceres' murder, Castro remains in Honduras to testify before authorities.
Oxfam also calls for a full and independent investigation overseen by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights into the murders to be carried out, so that those responsible are brought to justice and the appalling cycle of violence is broken.