Green MEP Tilly Metz calls on President of Honduras to put an end to the criminalization of Guapinol water defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

On August 31, Tilly Metz, a Member of the European Parliament from Luxembourg representing The Greens, tweeted:

“Defending the right to water and land against mining companies should not be a crime. President of Honduras, @JuanOrlandoH, it’s time to put an end to the criminalization of the water defenders of #Guapinol and ensure their right to a due process.”

Her tweet links to an article on the World Organization Against Torture website titled: Honduras: Continuation of the criminalization against the defenders of Guapinol.

In turn, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project has amplified Metz’s tweet by posting it on their Facebook page.

This past April, Metz and several other Green Party Members of the European Parliament were among the 20 MEPs who sent this letter to the President of Honduras “to express our deepest concerns over prolonged pre-trial detention of human rights defenders in Honduras, and in particular of members of the Municipal Committee in Defense of Common and Public Goods of Tocoa [criminalized for defending the Guapinol River].”

PBI-Canada encourages Green Party of Canada Members of Parliament to amplify the call made by Metz and other Green Party MEPs.

Background

In August 2018, area residents set up a ‘Guapinol Camp in Defence of Water and Life’ in opposition to the Inversiones Los Pinares mine.

The Nation reports: “It lasted 88 days, from August 1 to October 27 of 2018.”

“The water in the Guapinol River was filling with sediment from a hydroelectric project upstream, part of the growing infrastructure for the forthcoming mine, making the prospect of using the water for drinking, cleaning, or agricultural purposes impossible.”

“[On October 27, 2018, an estimated 1,500] security forces fired volleys of tear gas before opening fire with live ammunition. In the ensuing blitz of bullets, eight civilians were injured and one activist, Levin Alexander Bonilla, was killed.”

In February 2019, twelve water defenders (criminalized for their participation in the protest in defence of the river and environment) presented themselves in court. By March 4, 2019, the charges were dropped against these defenders.

The Nation notes: “It was in August of 2019 that the charges against [another] seven of the protesters finally landed them in prison.”

Now, on August 13 of this year, a Court of Appeals revoked the dismissal ordered in March 2019 for five of the twelve defenders. This means they could face a new trial and be sent to pre-trial detention as they previously experienced.

For more, please see this recently posted Amnesty International Urgent Action: WATER DEFENDERS AT RISK OF DETENTION.

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