PBI-Honduras amplifies Plataforma Alert about the murder of environmental defender Omar Cruz Tomé in Tocoa, Colon

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: La Prensa.

PBI-Honduras has amplified an Alert from the Plataforma Agraria Honduras (Honduras Agrarian Platform) that says:

“The president of the Los Laureles Agricultural Cooperative is assassinated in Aguan”

The Plataforma has also tweeted:

At 8:00 p.m., the president of the Cooperativa Agropecuario Los Laureles, Omar Cruz Tomé, was murdered along with his father-in-law, by hit men who came to their house in Tocoa, Colon with the sole purpose of taking their lives.

The cooperatives in this area of Tocoa, which include the Los Laureles Cooperative, the Camarones Cooperative, the Tranvio Cooperative, the Brisas del Aguan Cooperative, the Occidental Cooperative and the El Chile Cooperative have been subject to constant threats from and attacks by the security company SEC that works for the Dinant Corporation, and irregular armed groups with which it coordinates.

The statement from the Plataforma includes this point:

“13. We demand that the government of President Xiomara Castro comply with the campaign promises “respect for human rights; suspend mining projects that generated violations of human rights, support and promote agrarian reform, guarantee social protection projects”. The mining company Inversiones los Pinares/Ecotek owned by Lenir Pérez and Ana Facusse and the Dinant Corporation Miguel Mauricio Facusse owned by Soledad Sáenz are the main generators of violence and human rights violations against defenders of water and land in the Bajo Aguán region.”

The statement can be read in full on the Facebook page of Plataforma Agraria.

And the Plataforma has tweeted:

“#ElAguan out loud / Press conference. The Government knew of DINANT’s plan to assassinate peasant leader José Omar Cruz Tomé.”

That media conference can be seen here.

The Spanish news agency EFE also now reports:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) condemned on Thursday the murder in Honduras of human rights defender Omar Cruz Tomé and asked the authorities to protect this group from widespread violence.

So far, the National Police has not specified details about the violent death of the human rights defender or where it occurred.

The OHCHR urged the State of Honduras “to intervene in a timely, adequate, comprehensive manner and in guarantee of human rights to protect the population, in particular human rights defenders, from generalized violence in the Aguán area.”

Honduras is considered one of the most dangerous for environmental, human rights and land defenders, according to reports by Amnesty International and the NGO Global Witness.

According to the state-run National Human Rights Commission, in 2021 at least 170 defenders were victims of attacks, harassment and threats in Honduras.

The human rights organization echoed last week a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in which it points out “the serious situation of violence” faced by human rights defenders in Honduras, mainly those who defend the environment, land and territory.

We express our condolences to family and friends and will follow this closely from Canada.

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