The Right to a Clean Environment Comes at the Right to Life This first article, published last year, reveals a depressing statistic: "More people were killed in Honduras per capita than any other country for each of the last five years as a result of their efforts to defend land and the environment". Activists trying to protect the land of their country have been assassinated for their efforts. Some people allege the government is behind some of these murders, others are believed to be carried out by companies which are protested against. Most of these murders happen with total impunity, and many happen to indigenous people. Berta Caceres is cited in this article as someone who campaigns against these murders. Which makes the recent news all the more shocking.                                  Berta Caceres, too, was murdered for her work this past week. She had been organizing against a large hydroelectric project that would have flooded indigenous land, and also working to expose the murders of other activists. Her voice, too, has been silenced through violence. But many Hondurans are rallying around her death to uplift the causes she fought for.                  This article extrapolates the problem outside of Honduras - explaining that murders of environmental activists happen all over the world. A case that has particularly troubled me is the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni nine - indigenous activists who were killed for fighting against Shell's destruction of their lands in the Niger delta. The Ogoni people have kept up their fight - Shell settled for their role in these murders years later, and several Ogoni farmers are taking Shell to court for environmental devastation in the Netherlands. It is a terrifying fact that activists of any kind get killed for their work. Here in America, they are often labeled terrorists and locked up. This is obviously a stripping of the right to life, but it is also a way to strip the right to protest, and the right to a clean environment. It's incredibly inspiring that the response to these murders is not the slowing or cessation of protests - often, rather, the protests ramp up in reaction to such violent intimidation.

Date Published: 

Monday, March 7, 2016