Honduras
19.01.24
Statements

Honduras: More than 100 organisations in solidarity with the people of Tocoa

More than 100 national and international organisations, including the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH), demand that the Honduran authorities respect the decision of the people of Tocoa to say NO to the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and the Emco mining megaproject, among other demands.

On Saturday, December 9, 2023, the people of Tocoa were called by the Municipal Corporation to participate in an open town meeting regarding the Ecotek petroleum coke thermoelectric project, one of the seven components of an iron oxide megaproject promoted by the "Emco Holdings" consortium of Ana Facusse and Lenir Perez.

More than 2000 people showed up early at the Froylan Turcios Institute to ensure that their voice was heard, despite a stigmatization campaign against the human rights defenders of the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Common and Public Goods of Tocoa in the run-up to the town hall, with the intention of provoking fear in the population.

During the civic assembly, there was a strong police presence, as well as representatives of the Human Rights Secretariat, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Honduras, the Observatory for Justice for the Defenders of the Guapinol River, national and international organizations, as well as international human rights observation organizations.

Municipal staff tried to prevent voters from entering the Institute and, upon seeing the large number of people who had arrived to vote against the project, Mayor Adán Funes refused to enter the Institute to hold the open town meeting. As a result, the people self-convened a popular assembly, in which the municipal councilors were present, and voted against the petcoke thermoelectric plant and Emco's megaproject. The process was supervised by municipal councilors and the minutes were notarized. The popular decision reaffirms the result of the open town hall held in November 2019 in Tocoa that roundly rejected the mining project.

We are concerned that Emco's energy project has been promoted by local and state authorities as a way to alleviate the electricity problem in Tocoa, despite the fact that, according to the same environmental impact assessment that the company Ecotek submitted to the Secretariat of Natural Resources - SERNA/MiAmbiente, most of the electricity generated is destined to the operation of the company's plant to pelletize the iron oxide it extracts from the Carlos Escaleras National Park.

We welcome the position of the State of Honduras at COP28 in defense of forests and the generation of clean energy, but we are deeply concerned about efforts to produce energy through the burning of petroleum coke, which is highly polluting to health and the environment, especially because according to the opinion of SERNA's Center for Contaminant Studies and Control (CESCO) dated April 23, 2023, the burning of petroleum coke is not regulated in Honduras.

For more than seven years, the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Common and Public Goods of Tocoa has publicly denounced, and through the corresponding Honduran Authorities, the illegalities, human rights violations and environmental contamination related to Emco's mega-project.

These complaints have not resulted in any significant action by the corresponding authorities, despite the fact that the CMDBCPT has presented clear and substantiated evidence after a meticulous review of the company's files and State documents, which support its denunciations.

The members of the CMDBCPT have been victims of arbitrary detentions, assassinations, threats, forced displacements and smear campaigns aimed at silencing their dignified struggle for life and the protection of the forests and rivers of the Montaña de Botaderos "Carlos Escaleras" National Park.

Since October 2023, the members of the Municipal Committee and their legal teams have been beneficiaries of precautionary protection measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) due to the imminent risk they face.

In light of the decision taken by the people of Tocoa, and in support of the Municipal Committee's struggle for justice and accountability, we demand:

  • The decision of the People of Tocoa validly expressed on December 9, 2023 through a popular assembly, be respected and implemented immediately by all levels of the Honduran government.
  • The immediate and unconditional cancellation of the Emco Holdings megaproject, including the ASP and ASP2 mining concessions of Inversiones Los Pinares; the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and the Ecotek pelletizing plant concession; the concessions for the use of water from the Guapinol, San Pedro and La Ceibita rivers.
  • The immediate and comprehensive protection of the members of the Municipal Committee, their legal teams and their families through measures adopted by the State in consensus with the defenders.
  • The investigation of the criminal and administrative complaints filed by the Municipal Committee in order to bring to trial and sanction those responsible for the illegalities related to the extractive project and the threats and stigmatization campaigns against the defenders of the Municipal Committee.
  • The independent investigation, prosecution and punishment of those materially and intellectually responsible for the murders of Jairo Bonilla, Aly Domínguez and Oqueli Domínguez.
  • The reparation of damages, both to the victims of the persecution by Emco and the State of Honduras, as well as to the core zone of the Carlos Escaleras National Park.

Signatures

  1. ACI Participa - Honduras
  2. AFET Asociación Feminista Trans - San Pedro Sula Honduras
  3. Alianza Centroamericana Frente a la Minería, ACAFREMIN - Regional
  4. Alternativa de Reivindicación Comunitaria y Ambientalista de Honduras, ARCAH - Honduras
  5. Anticapitalistas Madrid - Spain
  6. Asociación Entrepueblos-Entrepobles-Entrepobos-Herriarte – Spanish State
  7. Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network (ARSN) - Canada
  8. Bufete Estudios para la Dignidad - Honduras
  9. Canadian Jesuits International - Canada
  10. Casa Espiral - Mexico
  11. Casa tonatiuh - Mexico
  12. Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM - Honduras
  13. Centro de Desarrollo Humano. CDH/ Honduras - Honduras
  14. Centro de Información sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos -Inglaterra
  15. Centro de Investigación y Documentación Chile-América Latina (FDCL e.V.) - Germany
  16. Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos - Honduras
  17. Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho International (CEJIL) - Costa Rica
  18. Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD) - Honduras
  19. CIVICUS World Alliance - Sudáfrica
  20. Comité Campesino del Altiplano CCDA - Guatemala
  21. Comité del Agua de Guapinol - Honduras
  22. Comité de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) - Honduras
  23. Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Publicos de Tocoa - Honduras
  24. Comité municipal de saneamiento de microcuencas de Sonaguera - Honduras
  25. Comité para los derechos humanos en America Latina - Canada
  26. Comunicadorxs Populares por la Autonomía - COMPPA - Mexico
  27. Consejo Indígena Lenca de Reitoca - Honduras
  28. Consejo Indígena Lenca Tierras del Padre - Honduras
  29. Consejo Tribu Las Vegas de Tepemechin - Honduras
  30. Convergencia Contra el Continuismo - Honduras
  31. Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguan, COPA - Honduras
  32. COPINH - Honduras
  33. CPTRT - Honduras
  34. Derechos humanos sin frontera Honduras - Honduras
  35. Desarrollo y Paz - Caritas Canada - Canada
  36. Dominican Sisters of Hope - USA
  37. Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Office of Peace and Justice - USA
  38. Dominican Sisters of Sparkill - USA
  39. Eighth Day Faith Community, Washington DC - USA
  40. Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación - Honduras
  41. Equipo Jurídico por los Derechos Humanos - Honduras
  42. Escuela para defensoras en derechos humanos y ambientales Benita Galeana - Mexico
  43. FIDH (Federación International por los Derechos Humanos), en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos Paris (Global)
  44. Foro de Mujeres por la Vida - Honduras
  45. Franacía América Latina París, France
  46. Friendship Office of the Americas - USA
  47. Fundación para el debido proceso (DPLF) - USA
  48. Fundación San Alonzo Rodríguez - Honduras
  49. Grupo de Información sobre América Latina (IGLA) - Austria
  50. Guatemala Human Rights Commission GHRC-USA - Guatemala/USA
  51. HEKS EPER - Switzerland
  52. Hondurasdelegation - Germany
  53. Iglesia catolica Bonito Oriental - Honduras
  54. IMDEC (Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario A.C.) - Mexico
  55. Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos - Mesoamerica
  56. Innovando la tradición - Mexico
  57. Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Project - Estados Unidos
  58. Instituto de Derecho Ambiental de Honduras (IDAMHO) - Honduras
  59. International Human Rights Clinic, University of Virginia Faculty of Law, USA
  60. InterReligious Task Force on Central America - USA
  61. Jesuit Social Services Australia - Australia
  62. Justice Committee of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Albany - USA
  63. Justice in Mining - A Global Ignatian Advocacy Network - International
  64. Latin America Working Group Education Fund Washington DC - USA
  65. LAWG - Estados Unidos
  66. MDR - Honduras
  67. Mira: Feminismos y Democracias - Mexico
  68. MOSO -LCBA - Honduras
  69. Movimiento Ambientalista Santabarbarense MAS - Honduras
  70. Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia - Honduras, Centro América
  71. National Lawyersw Guild International Committee - USA
  72. NISGUA - Guatemala-USA
  73. Nucleo de base ambientalista - Honduras
  74. Observatorio indígena - Mexico
  75. Oficina Ecumenica por la Paz y la Justicia - Germany
  76. OFRANEH - Honduras
  77. Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT), en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos - International
  78. Protection International - International
  79. Parroquia San Isidro Labrador Tocoa, Colón - Honduras
  80. Patronato Pro Mejoramiento Cuaca Jaral - Honduras
  81. Peace Watch Switzerland - Switzerland
  82. Plataforma Agraria - Honduras
  83. Plataforma International Contra la Impunidad - Honduras/International
  84. Red Continental Cristiana por la Paz Reconpaz - Honduras Guatemala
  85. Red Continental Iglesias y Mineria - capitulo Honduras - Brazil
  86. Red de Mujeres del Consejo Indígena Lenca de Reitoca - Honduras
  87. Red departamental de Mujeres Santa Bárbara - Honduras
  88. Red Mesoameri-Kaab - Mesoamerica
  89. Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras - Honduras
  90. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights - USA
  91. Romero Initiative (ICR) - Germany
  92. Salvemos El Río Danto, La Ceiba, Atlántida, Honduras - Honduras
  93. SHARE Foundation - USA
  94. Sisters of Mercy Justice Team, Washington DC - USA
  95. Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg - USA
  96. Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill Philadelphia Pennsylvania - USA
  97. Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery/West Hartford - USA
  98. Sisters of St. Joseph Rochester - USA
  99. Sisters of the Holy Spirit - USA
  100. SITRASEMCA - Honduras
  101. Tlalij, Yolojtli uan Nemililistlij A. C. - Mexico
  102. Trócaire - Ireland
  103. ZEHAR-Errefuxiatuekin - Spain

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