PBI-Honduras meets with MADJ to talk about threat posed to Indigenous Tolupan community in Yoro by extractivism

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On December 15, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “Yesterday we met with @MovAmplioHn [the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice/MADJ] to talk about the situation of #ddhh in the Tolupan indigenous community of San Francisco de Locomapa (Yoro). At PBI, we are concerned about the constant pressure on the community’s land for the extractive industry.”

On Facebook, PBI-Honduras adds: “The Tolupán people are one of the nine indigenous peoples of Honduras, during their process of struggle against dispossession and looting they have been one of the most martyred, from 1990 to date approximately 120 of their members have been murdered, most of them linked to the defense of the territory. ”

Last year, Tierra de Resistentes reported: “The Tolupan San Francisco de Locomapa Tribe, in Yoro, Honduras, has suffered murders, judicial harassment and attacks due to its opposition to power generation projects.”

“Within the best Honduran Pine forests and a land rich in minerals such as iron oxide, silver and antimony, over 40 murders have occurred in indigenous communities in the last 20 years, according to a report submitted by the Working Group on Mining and Human Rights in Latin America before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).”

It also notes: “In San Francisco de Locomapa, murders linked to the mining conflict started in 2013. From that moment, the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ, in Spanish) has recorded 10 murders not only linked to the wood conflict but also to an antimony mine.”

Front Line Defenders has also reported: “On 25 August 2013, environmental and indigenous people’s rights defenders María Enriqueta Matute, Armando Fúnez Medina and Ricardo Soto were killed in the village of San Francisco de Locomapa (Yoro) in Honduras.”

“All three defenders belonged to tribes of the Tolupán indigenous people, who have faced centuries of discrimination and violence – from Spanish colonizers in the 1500s to mining companies in 2016. Before their assassination, María, Armando and Ricardo were peacefully protesting against a mining operation and the construction of a hydroelectric dam on their indigenous land.”

That article adds: “Their killing followed years of threats and attacks by sicarios, people hired by mining companies, loggers and landowners to intimidate the local community.”

The context is also documented in Honduras: The cry of the forests in the land of the Tolupanes | Future Planet (March 2021) and “We came back to Struggle” by Sandra Cuffe (Summer 2014).

This past July, PBI-Honduras accompanied CEHPRODEC on a visit with the Tolupan community in Las Vegas de Tepemechín, Yoro. At that time, PBI-Honduras commented: “The Tolupan community lives a constant struggle to protect ancestral lands from extractive projects.”

The Conversation has reported: “In the early 2000s, Canadian investment [in Honduras] surpassed $100 million, much of it concentrated in mining and exploration.” And MiningWatch Canada has stated: “The General Mining Law [in Honduras] was developed with technical assistance paid for with Canadian overseas development aid. Its passage in 2013 lifted a seven-year moratorium on any new mining projects.”

We continue to follow the situation in Yoro.

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