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Honduras: Homicide

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 14th March 2016.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Shadow Foreign Secretary

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the government of Honduras on the death of Berta Cáceras.

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK is deeply concerned by the murder on 03 March 2016 of Honduran human rights and environmental activist Berta Cáceres. As one of the most prominent activists in Honduras, Berta Cáceres worked tirelessly over many years to promote the rights of indigenous communities. My Noble Friend, The Rt Hon Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Foreign and Commonwealth Minister of State for Human Rights, condemned the murder in the clearest terms on 04 March and also called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. These points and a wider call for a commitment to human rights and those who defend them, were set out in an EU statement which the UK has strongly supported. Since initial events, the EU delegation in Honduras has been in contact with the main stakeholders and will continue to follow up. The Honduran authorities are now taking forward an investigation into what happened. While it is too early to comment on its outcome, we welcome their swift action to initiate an investigation. Cáceres’ death – and the injuries sustained by Gustavo Castro Soto, a human rights defender who was also a victim in the attack – are clear evidence of the risks activists face in Honduras every day. We continue to call on the Honduran Government to take steps to improve the security situation, and we raise our human rights concerns with them regularly – as the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire) did during a visit to the UK by a Honduran parliamentary delegation in September 2015. These issues are discussed with the Honduran authorities during frequent visits to the country by Carolyn Davidson, Our Ambassador to Honduras, resident in Guatemala, and we seek to improve the situation on the ground through a range of Embassy-sponsored projects, including with Oxfam and the Tribunal for Women Against Femicide. We also maintain a close dialogue with NGOs and others with an interest in Honduras, such as Peace Brigade International.

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