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  • Berta Isabel Zuniga, daughter of the murdered Honduran environmentalist, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, April 13, 2016

    Berta Isabel Zuniga, daughter of the murdered Honduran environmentalist, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, April 13, 2016 | Photo: EFE

Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations says the Honduran government should protect its members.

The organization founded by the murdered environmentalist Berta Caceres has condemned an attack on her daughter and two indigenous leaders in Honduras.

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The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, COPINH, said its members Berta Isabel Zuniga, Sotero Chavarría and Asunción Martínez were assaulted twice on Friday night by four men.

They were targeted as they drove to her house in Cancire, Santiago Puringla, in the western department of La Paz.

Three men with machetes drove a vehicle in front of the COPINH members' car, thereatening Caceres's daughter Berta and her companions.

A fourth man threw a stone at their vehicle, hitting the top of the window.

The men then tried to force their car off the road but the driver managed to escape with the passengers.

The organization blamed the attack on members of the communities of Lomas de San Antonio and Las Delicias, with help from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for "removing a source of water to the communities of San Antonio, Cancire, Higuito and Cedrito. "

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COPINH said it is the "responsibility" of the Honduran State to "protect the physical integrity" of its members.

It also called for the government to "take all necessary measures" to allow the organization to  carry out its work in defense of the rights of Lenca communities and their territories.

In addition, it said the international community should be "attentive and demand" the Honduran State's "protection" of its members.

Berta Cáceres, a 44-year-old indigenous leader, environmentalist and human rights campaigner was shot and killed at her home in the Honduran city of La Esperanza on March 3, 2016.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with her death.

Honduras  has the highest murder rate for environmental activists in the world, and conflict over land rights is the primary driver.

Inequality, a weak judicial system, close ties between political and business elites and near total impunity for crimes against human rights defenders have contributed to 101 murders of environmental activists between 2010 and 2014, according to the British NGO Global Witness.

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