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Environmental Human Rights: News & Updates

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Roberto David Castillo – who was trained in the U.S. and was a former member of the Honduran army during a coup in 2009 – was convicted on July 5, 2021 of being a co-conspirator in the assassination of world renowned Indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres. On August 2, he will be sentenced, which could be between 24 and 30 years. In the US Congress, companion legislation being considered in the House and Senate would suspend support for the Honduran government until corruption and human rights abuses are no longer systemic. A separate bill in the House, HR 1574, the "Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act," would stop U.S. assistance to the Honduran police or military. "Berta was of the generation that understood profoundly what militarization did. The bill really speaks to her legacy and efforts to end militarization and funding for the military," said Suyapa Portillo Villeda, a Honduran historian and associate professor at Pitzer College.
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Please see a summary of the letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries. We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: (1) protect people living under threat, (2) demand investigations into human rights crimes, and (3) bring human rights criminals to justice. IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) volunteers write six letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn , or ask us to mail you hard copies.
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A June 2021 report from Amnesty International showed the Biden administration needs improvement on making the U.S. a safe refuge.
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Thank you to Rights Action for this news piece.

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Please see a summary of the six letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries. We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: -protect people living under threat -demand investigations into human rights crimes -bring human rights criminals to justice IRTF’s Rapid Response Network volunteers write letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn, or ask us to mail you hard copies.
News Article
After years of organizing by environmental defense groups in Honduras--and solidarity actions by groups in the US and Canada--the US government withdrew financial support this week from a proposed Río Jilamito dam in Honduras that is at the center of a simmering conflict between local residents and developers. Two opponents of the project have been killed. The decision by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, (DFC), which provides funding for private-sector projects, marked a victory for the activist groups in Honduras and the United States that had urged the agency to drop the project.

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