Honduras: With Upsurge of Violence in Guapinol, Observatory Extendes Its Mandate
Honduras: Faced with the upsurge of violence in Guapinol, the Observatory for Justice for Guapinol River Defenders extends its mandate
January 23, 2023 - The national and international organizations that make up the Observatory for Justice for Guapinol River Defenders express deep concern about the new wave of violence and threats against defenders of the Guapinol River, and announce the expansion of its mandate to ensure independent investigations and effective and comprehensive protection measures for the community of Guapinol and the membership of the Municipal Committee for the Defense of the Common and Public Goods of Tocoa (CMDBCPT).
The murder of Guapinol community water and environmental defenders Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla on January 12 is the result of repeated failures by the Honduran state to protect the lives of those who defend the Montaña de Botaderos "Carlos Escaleras" National Park, and the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers. These murders respond to the pattern of violence inflicted against the community of Guapinol, sector San Pedro and the CMDBCPT since 2018. Since then, the environmentalists of Guapinol and their families have been victims of continuous stigmatization campaigns in social media and press, threats, criminalization, arbitrary detention and murders, with the sole objective of silencing the voices of those who oppose the concession granted in an irregular manner to the mining company "Inversiones Los Pinares" in the National Park. All of this remains in impunity.
Initially created to monitor the trial of the eight Guapinol defenders between December 2021 and February 2022, the Observatory for Justice for the Guapinol River Defenders is today expanding its mandate to ensure that the State of Honduras adopts comprehensive protection and prevention measures in favor of the Guapinol community and the CMDBCPT membership, and to independently, thoroughly and impartially investigate the murders of Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla, as well as the climate of threats that preceded this double homicide and persists to this day.
Investigators must take into account the activities of both human rights defenders, as well as the whole community of Guapinol and the CMDBCPT, in order to identify the interests that have been affected by the exercise of their right to defend human rights, and thus establish lines of investigation and hypotheses of the crimes, as required by regional and international human rights standards.
In this new stage, the Observatory will continue working to ensure that the Honduran State complies with the resolution of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in order to provide full reparations to the eight Guapinol defenders who were arbitrarily detained for 914 days, and to ensure the non-repetition of this violation of their human rights.
To this end, the State must not only compensate the defenders, but also reestablish the nuclear zone of the Carlos Escaleras National Park, repair the environmental damage caused by the mine, and cancel the mining projects that operate with an illegal environmental license, which are the epicenter of the violence against the environmental defenders of Guapinol.
The organizations that make up the Observatory for Justice for Guapinol River Defenders include:
● Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).
● International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law, US
● International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild
Reflection, Research and Communication Team (ERIC) ● International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
● International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
● World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
● Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights