Care of the forest has brought persecution: Lenca leader María Felícita López

Published by Brent Patterson on

“Care of the forest and opposition to extractive projects has brought persecution, criminalization, threats, militarization, poverty and forced emigration.”

Indigenous feminist leader María Felícita López is the women’s coordinator with the Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, Honduras (MILPAH).

MILPAH was established in response to the irregular concessions of rivers and territories to mining companies and hydroelectric projects – and the Lenca demand for the right to free, prior and informed consent on their territories.

It is supported by the Honduran Centre for Communal Development (CEHPRODEC), which has been accompanied by PBI-Honduras since 2014.

In the department of La Paz, there are currently four hydroelectric concessions and at least 26 management plans and environmental permits for the exploitation of wood.

In these cases, López explains, the Forest Conservation Institute (ICF) grants permits without consulting communities and without finding out the environmental impact this will have on the community’s water sources.

She has commented: “You risk your life by challenging economic power here. It’s difficult, but we must do it.”

López says: “PBI helps us when there are difficulties with instances like the police or when communication no longer works. We are very grateful for this.”

#DíaInternacionalDeLosBosques #InternationalDayOfForests

“Care of the forest and opposition to extractive projects has brought persecution, criminalization, threats, militarization, poverty and forced emigration.”

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