A group of 730 leading Latin American experts and scholars have condemned the assassination of Honduran activist Berta Caceres and urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to halt aid and support to Honduras until the Central American country improves its atrocious human rights record.
“Despite Honduras’ worsening human rights conditions, the U.S. is providing an aid package to the region, the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle,” the signatories said in a statement.
The scholars’ letter calls for U.S. sanctions on Honduras until the murder of Berta Caceres is properly investigated with the assistance of international human rights investigators.
The huge group of academics join a growing list of influential figures putting pressure on Kerry to take action after the killing of Caceres.
Also Thursday, U.S. representatives Hank Johnson and Keith Ellison, alongside 60 other colleagues, wrote to the secretary of state to request his support in combating human rights violations and rampant impunity in Honduras.
In the letter, members of Congress call for an independent, international investigation into the murder of Caceres with backing from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The letter was signed just hours before the murder of Berta Caceres’ colleague and fellow activist, Nelson Garcia, further highlighting the ongoing nature of these crimes and the need for urgent action.
Both the group of academics and U.S. politicians also demanded protection for Caceres’ family and key witness Gustavo Castro, as well as Honduran social and human rights activists, who are targeted with impunity.