Guapinol: Press statement for immediate release
In light of the upcoming trial, organizations present the "Observatory for Justice for the Guapinol River Defenders".
November 24, 2021 - Today, national, and international organizations announced the formation of the "Observatory for the Justice of the Guapinol River Defenders", an initiative that aims to monitor the development of the trial that the eight water defenders of the Guapinol community, who have been deprived of their freedom for more than two years, will face as of Dec. 1, 2021.
The organizations that make up the Observatory - the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Committee for Freedom of Expression (C - Libre), the International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law, US, the Reflection, Research and Communication Team (ERIC), Front Line Defenders, International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organization Against Torture in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders - stated that they will combine their legal, advocacy and communications experience to "demand that the State ensure that criminalized defenders receive an impartial, public, transparent and transparent process that complies with human rights standards, as well as accountability," said Joaquín Mejía from ERIC.
During the presentation of the space, the organizations recalled that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention recognized that the detention of the Guapinol defenders is arbitrary and that there are no legal grounds to maintain the deprivation of their liberty. They also mentioned that the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, have called for their release and that, already in 2019, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights had requested the State to protect the life and integrity of environmental defenders and their communities.
"The prolonged detention, the way the investigation has been conducted, and the threat of criminal conviction for the exercise of recognized rights are acts contrary to international law. Furthermore, these acts constitute worrying indications of the existence of a pattern of state practices in benefit of corporate power, in which state institutions are used to favor private interests, including the use of legal tools to criminalize the public participation of the population and the defense of human rights," added Clara Ferrerons from OMCT.
The Observatory for Justice of the Guapinol River Defenders will document the development of the trial in an impartial manner and present information on its progress, as well as technical-legal analyses that will help evaluate the Honduran State's compliance with its international human rights commitments.
To this end, the organizations called on the Honduran State to guarantee the necessary conditions for the publicity and transparency of the trial, including the presence of international observers in the judicial proceedings. To this end, they sent a request to the President of the Supreme Court of Justice to allow them access in person to the judicial proceedings that will begin on December 1.
The international and national organizations that make up the Observatory for Justice for the Guapinol River Defenders are:
· Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
· Committee for Freedom of Expression (C - Libre), Honduras
· International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law, USA
· Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC), Honduras
· Front Line Defenders
· FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (Observatorio para la Protección de Defensores de Derechos Humanos)
· World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders