PBI-Honduras publishes ‘Defending the Land has a Woman’s Name’ report ahead of United Nations review

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 6, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project began to circulate its new report Defending the Land has a Woman’s Name.

The report notes:

On May 8, 2020, during the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, Honduras will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The Universal Periodic Review is a process that involves a review of the human rights records of all United Nations member states under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. It provides an opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve their human rights situation.

Over five years since the opening of the Peace Brigades International (PBI) project in the country, and with a consolidated presence in rural areas, PBI has observed a concerning situation for defenders of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR).

Within the context of the defence of ESCR, and in keeping with the transversal focus on gender as described in this Strategic Plan, PBI has found that women defenders of land, territory and the environment in Honduras are in a particularly vulnerable situation.

Through this report, PBI aims to bring increased visibility to the specific violence and risks that women defenders of land, territory and the environment face.

The process of granting concessions in Honduran territories to national and international companies that began at the start of this decade, has led to 302 mining concessions covering 2,173 square kilometres.

The exploitation of natural resources leaves communities without the means of production and forces them to defend their territories and life itself. Traditionally, the responsibility for the sustainability of life and the satisfaction of human needs (food security, healthcare, education, care) lies with women. This is why the exploitation of land leads to even greater vulnerability for women defenders of ESC rights.

As part of the 2015 UPR, the governments of Canada, the United States, Norway and Switzerland published recommendations in which they requested that the military police be redefined as a temporary measure [but] the PMOP [military police], created as a temporary measure, has become a normalised practice and the number of officers continues to increase. Civil society reports that this increase is accompanied by a rise in human rights violations, and more specifically an increase in sexual abuse.

The report also includes ‘Women Defenders Speak’ sections featuring Lilian Borjas of the National Centre for Fieldworkers (CNTC) and María Santos Domínguez of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

Both the CNTC and COPINH are accompanied by PBI-Honduras.

The 34-page report concludes with 11 recommendations and can be read in full here. Additionally, the 9-page ‘Report for the Universal Periodic Review of Honduras 2020 Women defenders of land, territory and the environment’ submitted by PBI-Honduras in September 2019, can be read here.

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