PBI-Honduras sees greatest percentage increase in lethal attacks against activists in 2019

Published by Brent Patterson on

In October 2019, PBI-Honduras accompanied CEHPRODEC on a march in the capital city of Tegucigalpa in defence of water against mining.

On July 29, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted: “According to Global Witness, Honduras was the country with the highest percentage increase in murders of land and territory defenders, going from 4 in 2018 to 14 last year.”

“In this context, we continue to observe and accompany organizations that fight for access to land, for food sovereignty and against extractive projects.”

The Global Witness report Defending Tomorrow notes: “In Honduras killings rose from four in 2018 to 14 last year, making it the most dangerous country per capita for land and environmental defenders in 2019. It is the country with the greatest percentage increase in lethal attacks against activists.”

As reported in PBI’s 2019 Annual Review: “37 volunteers accompanied human rights defenders from different parts of the country.”

Some of the land defenders PBI-Honduras accompanies include:

Association for the Defence of Common Property in Quimistán:  ASODEBICOQ works to defend the rights to land, territory and the environment in the face of extractive projects in the department of Santa Bárbara.

Civil Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organisations in Honduras: COPINH is an indigenous organization founded by the Lenca people in March 1993. The organization promotes the protection of territories and the recognition of the political, economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous peoples in Honduras.

Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development: CEHPRODEC was founded in 1991, with the aim of working on food and land sovereignty with families who live in rural areas of Honduras. It coordinates the National Coalition of Environmental Networks and Organizations (CONROA).

Overall, the Global Witness report notes: “We are forced to report that this is the highest year ever for killings – 212 were murdered in 2019.”

That’s an increase from 164 killings in 2018.

In 2019, 117 land and environmental defenders were killed in countries where PBI accompanies or supports defenders. Divided by country: Colombia (64), Mexico (18), Honduras (14), Guatemala (12), Nicaragua (5), Indonesia (3) and Kenya (1).

In her response to the Global Witness report, Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, commented: “The links between many of the killings and business activities is another extremely worrying element of the report. Up to now, companies have largely been left to self-regulate themselves when it comes to the negative human rights impact of their activities. It is clear this model is not working. When it comes to large-scale projects, it is also now clear that a responsibility also lies with those financing such projects, including States and investment banks.”

The Global Witness report Defending Tomorrow can be read here.

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