Photo of Bertha Zuniga Caceres via Democracy Now
Activists said they believed the attack was related to their work campaigning against mega-projects such as dams and logging on ancestral land
By Paola Totaro – July 5, 2017
London (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The daughter of murdered Honduran environmental activist, Berta Caceres, has survived an attack by three men armed with machetes, campaigners said, sparking fresh fears for the safety of rights defenders in the central American country.
Bertha Zuniga Caceres, 26, who has taken on her mother’s work, was travelling in a car on Friday with two other members of the campaign group, Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), when they encountered a black pick-up truck blocking the road.
Three men carrying machetes approached their car, according to Front Line Defenders, a group which monitors rights activists at risk.
As Caceres and her colleagues sped off, the truck’s driver gave chase trying several times to run their car off the road and over a cliff, the group said.
COPINH members said they believed the attack was related to their work campaigning against mega-projects such as dams and logging on ancestral land owned by the Lenca people who live in a large swathe of southwest Honduras.
Berta Caceres was gunned down at her home in La Esperanza, west of the capital Tegucigalpa, in March 2016 after years of threats. Her colleague, Mexican activist Gustavo Castro Soto, survived the shooting by pretending to be dead.
Honduras is considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries for human rights defenders. At least 33 activists were killed in 2016, according to Front Line Defenders.
The country was criticised for failing to protect rights activists in several major reports last year by organisations including the U.N. human rights office and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
COPINH members reported the latest attack on Facebook on Saturday saying they believed it was related to a dispute over access to a water source that supplies several communities.
They said the attack may have been carried out by some members of the Lomas de San Antonio and Las Delicias communities who are in favour of a development project which would restrict access to the spring. COPINH opposes the project.
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