On July 14, 2016, bill HR 5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, was introduced to the US House of Representatives by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Conyers (MI), Ellison (MN), Kaptur (OH), Serrano (NY), and Schakowsky (IL).
Why is this legislation important?
HR 5474 marks a great advancement toward ending the repression in Honduras that the US has historically financed and backed. The US government has financially and politically supported the Honduran state, military, and police in their human rights abuses, violent persecution, and killing of indigenous peoples, environmentalists, and frontline activists in Honduras. In 2009, the US State Department backed the coupthat ousted the progressive, democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, creating the space for the US to influence Honduran politics and leading to the conditions that have resulted in repression and violence against activists, women, grassroots and indigenous movements, and many on the frontlines of protecting their communities, lands, and bodies.
Berta Cáceres was outspoken against the 2009 coup and critical of Hillary Clinton, who played an active role with the US State Department in illustrating the coup. After years of being targeted and harassed for being a leader in the struggle to fight dam development on the sacred rivers of her indigenous Lenca community, Berta was assassinated on March 3rd, 2016. The loss of Berta, recognized around the world for her environmental and social activism, has put a spotlight on US foreign policy andaid to Honduras. As the investigation into the intellectual and physical authors of Berta’s murder takes place without the accountability measures being asked of by her family and community, the US State Department continues to support the Honduran government and impede the investigative process.
About the Bill
The provisions in the Berta Cáceres Human R
ights in Honduras Act include suspension of U.S. military and police aid to Honduras until human rights violations committed by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice. The full bill can be read here and in the .pdf below. Here are a summary of the provisions included in the bill:
– All U.S. aid to Honduran security forces must cease, and the U.S. must vote no on all loans from multinational development banks to Honduras until the following conditions are met:
– A full investigation and prosecution into the murders of Berta Cáceres, 100 small-farmer activists in the Aguán Valley, Joel Palacios Lino and Elvis Armando García.
– A full investigation and prosecution of the armed attack against Félix Molina.
– A full investigation and prosecution of those members of the Honduran military and police forces who have committed human rights abuses.
– That the Honduran military withdraw from domestic p
olicing, as mandated in the constitution.
– That the rights of “…land rights defenders; trade unionists; journalists; Indigenous, Afro-Indigenous, small farmer and LGBTI activists; human rights defenders; critics of the government; and other civil society activists…” are protected.
– Take steps toward establishing the rule of law and strong democratic systems such as a functioning judiciary branch capable of prosecuting member of the military and police forces.
Now is the time to organize our congressional Representatives to co-sponsor and support this bill!
#5MesesSinJusticia #5MesesSinBerta #JusticiaParaBerta #JusticeForBerta #HR5474