In reaction to the murder of Lesbia Yaneth Urquia Urquia, a member of the Indigenous rights organization COPINH, Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said:
“Once again, the blood of a human rights defender has been shed in Honduras. Our hearts are full of sadness and anger. When will this cycle of violence and intimidation end?”
According to a statement released by COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras,) Urquia was a mother of three and a distinguished leader who fought for the rights of her community in La Paz. Recently she had led opposition to hydroelectric projects approved in Lenca indigenous territories in violation of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention ratified by the Honduras state in 1995.
“Just yesterday I visited the leaders of COPINH in La Esperanza. I heard from a woman who survived a previous assassination attempt. The defenders express worry for their safety and the safety of their colleagues. The murder of Lesbia Yaneth is tragic proof that their fears are not unfounded. Honduras needs brave women defenders, like Berta Cáceres and Lesbia Yaneth, who fight for the rights of the voiceless. Killing them will not silence the voices calling for justice.”
“We urge Honduran authorities to swiftly and thoroughly investigate the murder of Lesbia Yaneth. The authorities need to end impunity, end the killings of women, and to guarantee the safety of all human rights defenders.”