PBI-Honduras comments on the importance of land defenders given climate change

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 14, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project commented, “The fact that Honduras is one of the areas most affected by the climate change within Latin America shows once again the importance of the work provided by land and territory defenders, criminalized for their work in defense of common goods.”

The El Pais article that PBI-Honduras shared on its Facebook page reports:

“In the last decade, Honduras was the second country most affected by hurricanes, storms or floods according to the Climate Risk Index (IRC) prepared by Germanwatch every year.”

“And its future does not seem brighter than its recent past: in almost all the maps of the United Nations group of experts on climate change (IPCC), this region appears in red, and it is expected that its coastal areas will soon be under the sea, like Myanmar, Dominica or the Caribbean islands of Panama.”

“In Cedeño, located in the Gulf of Fonseca, the sea is eating the coast at a rate of one meter and 22 centimeters each year. Its inhabitants already live in the future.”

“’You can say that climate change is the third cause of emigration after violence or hunger but the three are linked to each other,’ says Pablo Costa from EL Rica, Pablo Escribano, specialist in climate change and migration of the Organization International for Migration (IOM).”

The article also raises concerns that have been expressed about the construction of hydroelectric dams in Honduras – including the struggle against the dam that cost Berta Cáceres her life – and the coastal degradation caused by shrimp farms, which would, according to the Chronicle Herald, include the Seajoy Seafood Corp. shrimp farms now owned by New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture.

On March 20, 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution that “stresses that human rights defenders, including environmental human rights defenders, must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity, in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement [an agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, reached in December 2015].”

In 2018, eight PBI-Honduras international volunteers accompanied members of six organizations and one individual human rights defender working on business and human rights, land rights, indigenous rights, freedom of expression, support to victims, women’s rights and LGBTI rights. Volunteers are based in Tegucigalpa.

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