Earlier this month, the seven men found guilty of the murder of Berta Cáceres were sentenced to jail for periods between 30 and 50 years. The court confirmed its opinion that Berta Cáceres was murdered for her role in defending the rights of the indigenous Lenca communities.
Last June, after months of negotiations in five different 'climate roundtables', the Dutch government presented its Climate Agreement . Negotiations had taken place in a roundtable for 'industry', for 'built environment', for 'electricity', 'mobility' and for 'agriculture and land use'. Climate measures that the Netherlands can take within its borders are pretty much covered by these climate roundtables. But the Netherlands also has a huge climate footprint outside its borders. It seems we have forgotten about the 'International' Climate Roundtable.
Good news for the climate: last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. This is part of its new energy strategy.
From April 19 to May 5 a delegation of four Indigenous Lenca activists from Honduras will be visiting five European countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Spain) to engage with Members of Parliament, policy makers and NGOs, discuss with financiers, join national protests at financiers and talk to media and the general public about the repression and impunity in their country. The main goal of the delegation’s visit is to stop the involvement of these countries in the Agua Zarca projects and other projects impacting the indigenous Lenca people in Honduras.On March 2, 2016, Berta Cáceres, the internationally-renowned Honduran human rights and environment defender and Lenca indigenous leader, was murdered, after leading for several years the struggle against a hydroelectric project along the Gualcarque River, also known as the Agua Zarca Project.
Last month I visited COPINH in Honduras. I stay in their house where I've been before. It has changed.The walls are decorated with colourful paintings, and there are altars for Berta Cáceres, their former leader who was murdered in March 2016. Instead of a simple fence, the building is now being protected by a thick wall with barbed wire. There are security camera's everywhere.
We are deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in her own home last week. Berta was the driving force behind the ‘Consejo Civico de Organizaciones Populares e Indigenas de Honduras’ (COPINH), a network of Honduran civil society organisations standing up for the rights of indigenous communities in the country. This attack once again proves that these rights are virtually non-existent in Honduras. We share the fear of many in and outside the region that this assassination will further worsen the situation of local communities.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has published its new policy for energy investments. In the new draft policy, the bank states to stop investing in fossil fuel related projects from 2020. This is good news for the climate, so Both ENDS and partners are happy with this draft policy. The shareholders of the bank, the member states of the European Union, still have to approve it.
This week, Laura Zuniga Cáceres, daughter of Berta Cáceres*, visits the Netherlands. She will talk with the directors of the involved departments of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in a colloquium about indigenous right of Leiden University and meet with several Dutch NGO's. Both ENDS asked this brave young woman about the situation in Honduras and her motivation to continue her mother's work.
For Both ENDS, the year 2015 marked an ending and a new beginning. It was the last year of the Communities of Change and the Ecosystem Alliance. The Fair, Green and Global Alliance also came to a close in its current form at the end of 2015. But the end of these programmes certainly does not mean the work will stop; what has been built up in the past five years will be continued within the new partnerships with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which have already started in 2016.