to the people of Honduras
and to the government of the Republic of Honduras
“Scientific progresses most extraordinary, the most surprising technical achievements, the most remarkable economic advancement , if they are not accompanied by a authentic and moral progress will definitively turn against the human person.”
Pope Francis, “Discourse to the FAO”
“An attempt [on the life of whatever defender of human rights is an attempt on all of us.”
Letter of the Vatican to the family of Berta Cáceres
In the Assembly of the Social Ministry Assembly of the Catholic Church, with representatives of the nine dioceses of Honduras, from April 19 to 21 in Comayagua, gathered to analyze our pastoral activity in regard to the social commitment of the Church, illuminated by the Gospel and Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Church, and letting ourselves to be called to account by the reality, we declare the following:
- The growing taking of consciousness of the social problematic by pastoral workers and their commitment with social organizations, their work close with their struggles and defense of the common goods, who illuminate the reality of death from the [standpoint of the] Gospel.
- The integration of the church, accompanying the organizing processed of the communities.
- The successes which have been made in the defense of the goods of creation and social demands [reivindicacciones].
- The growing organization of indigenous and campesino organizations in defense of Life, especially in the defense of the rivers and forests.
- The approval of laws which favor megaprojects (Open pit mining, ZEDES [model cities], hydroelectric [projects], monocultivation) trampling the rights of communities. Generating conflicts and violence. This option of the government for large scale extractive industries hoards, consumes, and contaminates the vital liquid of the communities.
- The violation of agreement 169 of the OIT [International Labor Organization] which refers to the respect for the territories, culture, and patrimony of indigenous peoples.
- Migration of children and youth in the communities, forced by violence.
- The deterioration of the health and public education institution[s] concerns us.
- The deterioration security and the increasing militarization of the Honduran society which has not responded in the face of the violence.
- The criminalization, persecution, and killing of defenders of human and environmental rights
- Institutionalized corruption in all government levels.
We encourage the people
- To maintain hope and continue believing in the strength of organization in unity for the defense of life, territory and the goods of creation.
- So that the electoral process which is approaching does not sidetrack us from the care and defense of life and our Common Home.
We ask the government
- To clear up the assassination of Berta Cáceres, seeking an international independent investigative commission.
- To clear up all the assassinations of defenders of human rights and the goods of creation.
- The help of La Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción e Impunidad en Honduras (MACCIH) [the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras] in working against corruption and impunity in cases of national seriousness.
- End the mining concessions and megaprojects that make life worse in Honduras.
We close this letter reiterating our hopeful commitment and confirming our being disciples of Jesus in the accompaniment of the Honduran people in their joys, sorrows, hopes and struggles for Life and our Common Home.
Participants in the National Social Ministry Assembly