PBI-Honduras highlights call for COPINH and Rio Blanco community to be include in Fraud on the Gualcarque trial

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The Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project has posted: “On August 17 will start the trial ‘Fraud on the Gualcarque’ for acts of corruption in the concession of the hydroelectric project #AguaZarca over the Gualcarque River, Lenca indigenous territory. @COPINHHONDURAS and the Río Blanco community continue to be excluded from the process as victims whose rights were violated for more than 10 years.”

EFE has reported: “[On August 6] about 70 organizations asked the judiciary to resolve the appeal for amparo filed by [COPINH] prior to the start of the trial in a case of granting the concession of a hydroelectric project to which she opposed.”

“In a virtual press conference, Bertha Zúñiga [said the letter asks that COPINH] be accepted ‘as a victim’ in the case called Fraud on the Gualcarque.”

“The signatory organizations indicate that the Honduran law establishes the right of civil societies to be recognized as victims, and therefore they request the Constitutional Chamber to ‘resolve expeditiously and within the framework of legality’ the amparo filed by COPINH before the trial of this corruption case begins.”

“Zúñiga noted that COPINH filed in November 2019 an application for amparo ‘for the constitutional protection of the rights to justice, due process and fundamental rights of indigenous peoples contemplated in international instruments.’”

“She added that the amparo was filed by COPINH after the Court of Appeals decided in August 2019 to ‘exclude them as a victim’ of the case of irregularities in the hydroelectric project known as Agua Zarca.”

The article highlights: “The Lenca community of Río Blanco and COPINH have denounced that ‘the acts of corruption with which the permits and licenses were authorized’ for the Agua Zarca project were ‘the origin of a series of actions of state and non-state violence’ in the last decade, Zúñiga said. Among these violations are the violation of the right to prior consultation of indigenous communities ‘death threats, armed attacks, murders, including those of Tomas García and Berta Cáceres.’”

The statement from the 69 organizations asks the court to “take into consideration the amicus curiae introduced by the international expert organizations Lawyers Without Borders Canada, ASFC [Avocats sans frontières Canada] and the University of Quebec, the Due Process Foundation (DPLF) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).”

PBI-Honduras has accompanied COPINH since May 2016.

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