PBI-Honduras accompanies Guapinol River defenders who have still not received their final letters of freedom

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: PBI-Honduras accompanied the celebration on February 10, 2022, when it was announced that that Guapinol defenders would be released from prison.

Criterio.hn reports: “More than ten months after the eight defenders of Guapinol regained their freedom, the wait for the letters of definitive freedom continues without the judicial authorities pronouncing on the matter.”

The article continues: “Peace Brigades International (PBI) noted that the eight water defenders have not yet received definitive freedom letters and said: ‘We hope that 2023 will be a year of great hope for the Guapinol River.’”

PBI-Honduras tweet: “In 2022, after 914 days of preventive detention, the 8 defenders of #Guapinol were released. They have not yet received their final letters of freedom. PBI, we hope that 2023 will be a year of great hope for the Guapinol River.”

Criterio.hn further explains: “Since their release on 24 February, requests for definitive release letters to be extended have fallen on deaf ears, despite the fact that it is their right after being arbitrarily subjected to a judicial process, which included imprisonment for more than two years, which covered the onset of the covid pandemic.”

It adds: “This half-freedom continues to make the defenders of the territory vulnerable since after their release they continued to be required at National Police checkpoints, as happened in mid-March and May 2022.”

Status of the mining project

In February 2022, EFE reported: “Los Pinares has installed a processing plant for iron oxide pellets in the municipality of Tocoa, department of Colón and has requested an ‘expansion of the area of the concession from 100 hectares to 1,000 hectares.”

In July 2022, Criterio.hn reported: “[Guapinol River defender Reynaldo] Dominguez pointed out [that] environmental pollution is being created by the installation of a stone crusher on the banks of the San Pedro River, which at the same time has contaminated the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers with a high percentage of iron.”

In September 2022, the Office in Honduras of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) visited the area “to observe the environmental and social impacts of the mining projects that are installed in the National Park and the consequences of these on the rights of the surrounding communities related to the human right to water [Resolution 64/292] and to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment [Resolution 76/300].”

OACNUDH photo.

On December 4, 2022, PBI-Honduras accompanied the Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Property of Tocoa (CMDBCPT) as they traveled to Tegucigalpa to request that the state entity known as the Honduran Institute of Geology and Mines (INHGEOMIN) resolve the two requests made for cancellation of open-pit mining contracts signed between INHGEOMIN and Inversiones Los Pinares.

We continue follow this situation with concern.


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