Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, PBI and ISHR comment on UN Working Group’s report on visit to Honduras

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On July 10, Peace Brigades International, Bertha Isabel Zúniga Cáceres, the general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) made a joint statement at the United Nations during the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on the question of human rights and transnational corporations and other companies.

Their statement was in response to the report from the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises on their August 19-28, 2019 visit to Honduras.

The 20-page report from the Working Group can be read here.

The Working Group notes in their report: “A root cause of most social conflicts is the systematic lack of transparency and meaningful participation of affected communities in decisions regarding development projects and the exploitation of natural resources, and in the energy and agribusiness sectors.”

The following statement was made by Cáceres in a pre-recorded video in Spanish:

COPINH, PBI and ISHR welcome the report of the working group on business and human rights on their visit to Honduras.

Honduras is the country with the greatest number of deathly attacks against Indigenous and Afro-descendants in 2019 and a very high number of murders. We are particularly concerned about the unequal use of the judicial system with the aim of hampering the work of defenders.

While the intellectual authors continue to be unpunished the system does not enable human rights defenders to be free in a context of widespread contagion because of the COVID pandemic in the prisons of the country in spite of the recognition by the Honduras public prosecution of crimes and acts of corruption.

The concession of the Gualcarque River continues to be in force which is a threat for Lenca communities who continue to be attacked. Also, the San Alonso Rodríguez Foundation informs that the Los Pinares company continues to operate outside of the COVID restrictions.

It is difficult to talk about companies and human rights in Honduras without clarifying responsibilities in breaches to human rights and the environment and also to guarantee the process of free, prior and informed consent of affected communities.

There is a need to have conditions which give rise to the rule of law as well as binding instruments.

You can hear her 90-second presentation in Spanish (as well as in English through the UN translation service) starting at 2:14 by clicking here.

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