Attempt on life, Threats, Persecution
THE FACTS – On Friday afternoon, June 30th, on their way back to the Cancire community in the town of Santiago Puringla, La Paz, the COPINH Coordinator Bertha Zuniga, along with general coordinators Sotero Chavarría and Asunción Martínez, were subjected to two attacks by four men.
In the first attack, three men armed with machetes who were stationed beside a car blocking the road from the community of Cancire to San Antonio, threatened them by brandishing their machetes in an attack position. Thanks to the skill of the driver, they were unable to stop the car or strike it with their machetes, but a fourth man, the driver of the assailants’ car, threw a rock that struck the upper part of the window of the driver of the COPINH vehicle.
In the second attack, the driver of the same car pursued the COPINH vehicle, passing it at a dangerous speed and trying to crash against it with the aim of forcing it into the abyss. He then pulled ahead, trying for about ten minutes to stop the car, but fortunately the COPINH driver was able to take a detour on another road.
It’s important to remember that Bertha Zuniga is the daughter of Bertha Cáceres, the former General Coordinator of COPINH, who was killed on March 2, 2016, for her struggle in defense of the territory, environment and rights of the Lenca people.
We, of IM-Defensoras condemn this attack and express our concern over the safety and security of defender Bertha Zuniga. We remind the government of Honduras of its obligation to protect the physical integrity of the defender and other COPINH members and to take all necessary measures to ensure that the organization is able to continue with its work in defense of the rights of the Lenca communities and their territories.
We call on the International community to stay on the alert and join in the demand for the protection of COPINH members.