PBI-Honduras expresses concern about Maya-Chorti peoples defending their ancestral lands from Aura Minerals

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo from Bufete Estudios Para la Dignidad.

On April 12, PBI-Honduras posted:

After seven years, despite the ratification in an Open Council and an injunction in their favor, the struggle of the Azacualpa community continues.

The exploitation of the hill has not stopped, and with it the dispossession of the lands, the displacement of its inhabitants, the exhumations and environmental pollution.

From PBI we express our concern about the complex situation that the Maya–Chortí people live, who, when exercising the right to defend their ancestral lands, suffer constant threats. We are also concerned about the actions of intimidation and threat against the Studies for Dignity Law Firm who have closely followed the case.

The Study Center for Democracy (CESPAD) link that PBI-Honduras shares adds:

“This is the scenario of a constant and long-term territorial conflict, which has its origins in 1998, when the mining company Greenstone Minerals, with Canadian capital (Orellana Peña, 2016), began operations in the area, which was mutating from its corporate name, until it currently operates Minerales de Occidente S.A. (MINOSA).”

And Avispa Midia further notes:

“The Chortí Mayan community of Azacualpa, in the state of Copán, northeastern Honduras, sits on a hill that is part of a huge gold vein mined by Minerales de Occidente S.A de C.V. (Minosa), a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Aura Minerals.”

The Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) has also highlighted:

“Since 2012, this mining company has been attempting to dig up all the dead from the Azacualpa Cemetery, and move them, in order to exploit the gold underneath. The company has used diverse mechanisms and schemes to achieve its goals.”

Then on February 7, 2022, the Toronto-based Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) tweeted:

“Beyond despicable that Canadian/US mining company @AuraMinerals just snuck in at night & illegally demolished a CEMETERY to mine the gold under it. The Mayan community of Azacualpa in #Honduras has been fighting to defend their loved ones’ remains for years. Here’s the before & after.”

On March 28, the Studies for Dignity Law Firm tweeted:

“In the next few hours, the mining company MINOSA will continue to dynamit the hill of the Maya Chortí cemetery in Azacualpa. The State of Honduras since Saturday has full knowledge of these illegal actions. We expect concrete actions.”

And on March 30, Reuters reported:

“Honduran authorities ordered a subsidiary of Canada’s Aura Minerals Inc (ORA.TO) to suspend open-pit gold mining on Wednesday at an indigenous cemetery site, drawing fierce opposition from residents, whose lawyer confirmed the suspension in a statement.”

We continue to follow this situation.

Further reading: PBI-Honduras amplifies CEHPRODEC message about Guapinol and Azacualpa resistance to mines.

 Photo from Resumen Latinoamericano.

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