PBI-Honduras amplifies calls for investigation into the murder of two Guapinol River defenders opposed to Los Pinares mine

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Unitarian Universalist Service Committee: “The legacy and love of Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla, murdered while defending their communities’ land in Honduras, shall triumph over the systemic violence that is allowed to occur at the hands of mining companies. We join the call for independent and credible investigations!”

PBI-Honduras has tweeted:

“The Municipal Committee of #Guapinol demands from @MP_Honduras an independent investigation of the murder of #AlyDomínguez and #JairoBonilla. In addition, it warns about the risk that other defenders in the community run, pointing out the importance of effective protection.”

Now, The Guardian reports: “Two environmental defenders have been shot dead in broad daylight in Honduras, triggering fresh calls for an independent investigation into the persecution and violence against a rural community battling to stop an illegally sanctioned mine.”

The article continues:

Aly Domínguez, 38, and Jairo Bonilla, 28, from Guapinol in northern Honduras, were murdered on Saturday afternoon as they returned home on a moped after finishing work collecting payments for a cable company. They were intercepted by armed assailants and died at the scene, according to relatives.

Domínguez and Bonilla were co-founders of Guapinol’s grassroots resistance against an iron ore mine owned by one of the country’s most powerful couples. Domínguez was among 32 community leaders falsely accused of crimes by the mining company and local authorities.

Local police and prosecutors immediately ascribed the deaths to a botched mugging – even though the assailants fled without taking the victims’ moped, cellphones or money.

Reynaldo Dominguez, Aly’s brother, says: “We reject the official hypothesis. These two young men were founders of the struggle to protect our natural resources from an illegal mine that is destroying rivers in the national park. For five years we’ve been threatened, criminalised and falsely imprisoned, the only thing left was murder.”

And Michael Phoenix, the head of research for Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders, says: “It’s vital that an independent impartial investigation is carried out which must take into account the possibility that Aly and Jairo have been retaliated against for their work defending human rights.”

Agnes Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, has also tweeted her support for an independent investigation.

The Washington, DC-based Institute for Policy Studies has also tweeted:

The Guardian adds: “The mine continues to operate, and the community have reported ongoing police harassment.” In February 2022, EFE also 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.”

We continue to follow this situation from Canada.

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