Letter to Secretary Kerry From Bishop Cantú on Death of Berta Cáceres

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March 22, 2016

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

As Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I write to share the concerns of my fellow bishops in Honduras regarding the tragic slaying of Berta Cáceres, noted environmental and human rights activist.

Attached please find the Spanish original version, as well as an unofficial English translation, of a recent statement of the Pastoral Social Department of the Honduran Bishops' Conference. In this document, the bishops condemn this murder, and call for renewed efforts to end impunity and lawlessness in this troubled nation.  On behalf of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the USCCB, we urge the U.S. Government to take into account the concerns and recommendations as set forth in the statement by the bishops of Honduras in shaping U.S. policy and programs related to that nation.

As a major international presence in the region, our nation has a special moral responsibility to help protect the lives, dignity and future of all our Honduran brothers and sisters. This course will require respecting the wise advice, in particular, of the Church's bishops, ministers and workers, as well as those of human rights advocates. These leaders and ministers are in the forefront of service to the Honduran people in their quest for peaceful and just development, and must receive the protections consistent with a functioning system of justice that respects the rule of law.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Oscar Cantú
Bishop of Las Cruces
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace

Enclosure: Statement, Honduran Bishops' Conference (Spanish original and unofficial English translation)