PBI-Honduras present at town hall meeting that declares Gualaco free of mining

Published by Brent Patterson on

On October 23, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted, “CEHPRODEC is an organization that informs the Honduran population about their rights and facilitates the processes of their claim.”

That post adds, “PBI-Honduras was present at one of these processes at the beginning of this month, when the municipality of Gualaco, Olancho declared itself free of mining.”

Defensores en linea reports, “The act took place in the parish hall on Friday, October 11, where municipal authorities, patronages, civil society organizations, church representatives and residents residing in the municipality participated.”

That article continues, “The department of Olancho is formed by 23 municipalities and in most of them concessions for exploration and exploitation have been granted, according to the report ‘The State of Mining in the Department of Olancho’, carried out by the Honduran Center for Development Promotion Community (CEHPRODEC).”

Carlos Padilla of CEHPRODEC explains, “Mining generates social conflicts, division of the Honduran family and communities, because since they arrive they start talking to them with promises of development and great benefits, but nobody really sees them.”

The article also highlights, “It should be noted that this is the first open town hall that takes place in the municipality of Gualaco where residents consider it to be historic, and recognize the work of the environmental committee that has been fighting since it was created against the installation of hydroelectric plants in the area.”

Last year, CEHPRODEC director José Luis Espinoza noted that the municipalities of Gualaco, Juticalpa and Choluteca are the locations of the greatest number of mining concessions. More than 300 concessions were reportedly granted in Honduras in 2017.

Canada, Honduras and mining

MiningWatch Canada’s then Latin America program coordinator Jennifer Moore expressed concern to a Canadian parliamentary committee about the Canadian-backed mining law that was passed in Honduras in January 2013.

Moore stated, “This law was developed and passed with strong diplomatic support from the Canadian embassy, and with contributions from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the former Canadian International Development Agency.”

And Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams warned in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper not long before the mining law was passed:

“In creating this new law, the Honduran government has bent over backwards to meet the needs of Canadian and other mining companies, but has carried out almost no consultations with Honduran civil society and community organizations.”

“[It accelerates] the licensing process for new mines in Honduras, including open-pit mines, and simplify the rules for mining companies planning to operate in Honduras. It would also reduce environmental standards and privilege water use by mining companies.”

Williams highlights, “A recent survey shows that the majority of Hondurans reject open-pit mining and associate it with harmful affects to the environment and human health. [And] the new law … fails to ensure the communities that will suffer the most direct impact from the mining have any meaningful say over mining developments.”

In May 2014, CEHPRODEC contributed to the report: The impact of Canadian Mining in Latin America and Canada’s Responsibility.

That report includes the recommendation that Canada, “refrain from providing any government support, whether through development programs, trade and/or association agreements, public financing or technical or political assistance, for the purpose of influencing the enactment of lax regulatory frameworks for mining investments and to the detriment of the obligation to guarantee human rights in the host countries of the extractive projects.”

PBI-Honduras began accompanying CEHPRODEC in May 2014.

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