March 18th, 2016

NDP statement on the situation in Honduras

Hélène Laverdière, NDP Foreign Affairs critic, and Cheryl Hardcastle, NDP Member of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights made the following statement:

“New Democrats express their profound concern at the worsening situation in Honduras and the targeting of human rights and environmental defenders.

On March 4, prominent indigenous environmental activist and human rights defender Berta Cáceres was murdered, sparking outrage across the international human rights community. This week, her colleague Nelson García was also murdered.

We call on the Government of Canada to unequivocally condemn the murders of Berta Cáceres and Nelson García. We further call on Canada to urge the Honduran government to support an independent, international investigation into these murders. We support the request made by the victims’ families for the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to create a commission of independent experts, and we urge the Canadian government to help facilitate this request.

We are deeply concerned about the safety of Gustavo Castro, witness to Berta Cáceres’ murder, as reports indicate he is under threat. We urge the Canadian government to call on their Honduran counterparts to ensure Gustavo Castro is protected from reprisals and allowed to testify without threat of violence.

The deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras should be of grave concern to Canada, especially within the context of the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement, which passed despite evidence of widespread human rights abuses in Honduras. Given the presence of Canadian companies operating in Honduras and significant Canadian investment in the country, Canada has a responsibility to ensure that human rights are protected.”