One year on and Honduran Environmental Defenders still in jail without trial


Guapinol Daughters 690The ‘Guapinol 8’ were detained on 1st September last year for peacefully protesting against the exploitation of their community’s natural resources by private business interests.

Two daughters of the imprisoned Guapinol human rights defenders, Liss Jireth Cedillo Zúniga (7) and her friend Cristhel Alejandra Romero Portillo, holding their drawings in front of the Public Ministry in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The sign in the background says "Guapinol is resisting". Photo: Giulia Vuillermoz
Early in 2018, the crystalline Guapinol River that runs through Carlos Escaleras Mejia National Park, in northern Honduras, turned into a river of mud. The muddied waters could be traced to the activities of a mining company, ‘Inversión Los Pinares.’

Unknown to the communities of Guapinol, the company had been granted a licence by the government to operate in the park despite the fact that the area was protected by law.

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The lawyers in the Guapinol case reject denial of appeal stating that it was copied and pasted form a different resolution

"Business Human Right

Guapinol Daughters 690Legal Defense of Guapinol Water Protectors Respond to Disgraceful "Copy-Paste" Appeals Court Ruling with Constitutional Action", 24 de agosto de 2020

The eight defenders have been in pretrial jail for almost a year without ever having a solid legal reasoning as to why. A year ago this week, the defenders voluntarily appeared before the National Court to clarify their legal situation after the Los Pinares mining company and the Public Prosecutor's Office filed false charges against them. At the end of their initial hearing on September 1, 2019, Judge Lisseth Vallecillo ordered pre-trial detention despite the fact that the charges they face - aggravated arson and unjust deprivation of liberty - do not require this measure.

She reaffirmed this decision in November 2019 during a closed-door bond hearing, citing their possible involvement in a criminal network as a reason for keeping them in detention, even though the charges of illicit association they faced were clearly unfounded and were dismissed

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We Are in Danger Daily: Honduran Afro-Indigenous Garífuna Demand Return of Kidnapped Land Defenders

Democracy Now

bertaAt least 212 land and environmental defenders were murdered last year — the highest number since the group Global Witness began gathering data eight years ago. Some 40% of those killed were Indigenous peoples. We get an update from Honduras, where the Afro-Indigenous Garífuna community continues to demand the safe return of five Garífuna land defenders who were kidnapped by heavily armed men who were reportedly wearing police uniforms and forced them into three unmarked vehicles at gunpoint. This was the latest attack against the Garífuna community as they defend their territory from destructive projects fueled by foreign investors and the Honduran government. “We are in danger daily — all the leaders of the Garífuna community, all the defendants of the land in Honduras,” says Carla Garcia, international relations coordinator at the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, We are breaking with convention, and this is The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

We turn now to Honduras, where preliminary hearings are set to begin today for one of the men accused of murdering the indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres, who was shot dead in her home in Honduras by hired hitmen in 2016. A judge will decide whether the case against one of the alleged killers, David Castillo, gets sent to trial.

At least 212 land and environmental defenders were murdered last year. That’s the highest number since the group Global Witness began gathering data eight years ago, looking at the world. Around 40% of those killed were Indigenous people. Colombia was the deadliest country, with 64 land and environmental defenders killed. Honduras was also high on the list.

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Anglo American responses to AGM queries raise more questions than they answer

Aldo Orellana Lopez

Terra Justa

terraWe supported allies DHUMA to submit questions about Anglo American's Peruvian operations to their online AGM in May 2020. Their responses left much to be desired.

The annual shareholder meeting of London-registered mining giant Anglo American took place behind closed doors on May 5th 2020. The company is the owner of the Quellaveco copper mine in the Moquegua region of southern Peru, scheduled to begin operations in 2022. As members of London Mining Network, and together with colleagues from DHUMA (Human Rights and the Environment) in Puno, we helped to submit a series of questions to their annual shareholder meeting regarding the impacts of the Quellaveco mine on local water sources and communities, as well as the actions of the company during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company published written replies to our questions soon after. Below is our short analysis of the company’s predictable and unsatisfactory responses.

On water consumption and hydrological imbalance. One of the main observations regarding the Quellaveco project has to do with the high water consumption that the operation projects (22 million m3 of freshwater per year). Added to this are the potential impacts that the construction of the project and the extraction of water for its operations could have on the hydrological balance of the region.

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