The Labour MP Jo Cox, killed on Thursday by a man who shot and stabbed her on a West Yorkshire street, was an exceptionally principled and effective advocate for human rights, humanitarian causes, development and social justice. We are many at Human Rights Watch who worked closely with Jo, and we are shocked and devastated by her murder.
Jo did so much in the British Parliament to highlight the suffering in Syria’s conflict. She championed the cause of protecting civilians in Syria, and in many other countries, including Sudan and Yemen.
Jo was courageous and outspoken on refugees, and a powerful voice calling for Britain and other countries to resettle more desperate and vulnerable people fleeing war and rights abuses in their home countries, including children. She never stopped reminding those in power that they could make choices to affect people’s lives in a positive way. She was in so many ways a visionary leader, and humanity was her guiding principle.
Recent murders are affecting indigenous people’s efforts to protect the environment.
When Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was gunned down in her home last spring the international community and even activists in the notoriously violent country were shocked. Her death followed threats related to her support for indigenous people fighting the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam along the Gualcarque River.
A few days after her death Nelson García, another leader of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (known as COPINH), which Cáceres founded in 1993 to advocate for the native Lenca peoples’ rights, was also murdered.
Have these recent deaths made a difference in indigenous efforts to protect the environment? Though change is slow, there is some indication that they are not going unheeded.
“Berta had such an amazing support network and she had done so much great work in reaching out to other organizations both domestically and internationally that there’s this enormous outrage when she was assassinated,” says Danielle DeLuca, project manager for the Cambridge-based nonprofit Cultural Survival, which advocates for indigenous groups around the world.
It’s been nearly a month since two Flint Water Crisis investigators were found dead within day’s of one another. Although a vague explanation surfaced for one of the deceased, a pandora’s box of questions remains unsatisfied. In lieu of official answers, the familiar ring of conspiracy chatter has encroached to fill the void. What are we to make of all this, and will closure come with officials facing charges?
First came Flint Water Treatment Plant foreman Matthew Mcfarland, found dead at this home. According to the Amsterdam Times, Mcfarland was found in his home, after being interviewed for the investigation. Initially, authorities suspected foul play though couldn’t confirm how he died.
Recently, investigators were able to determine drug intoxication, coupled with a heart condition, as the cause of death. According to MLive, the 43 year old died after high levels of a drug mixture, and remains filed as “indeterminate”, remaining an ongoing investigation.