Stop the Destruction of Indigenous Lands and Waters in Honduras

Berta Caceres stands at the COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) offices in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras where she, COPINH have organized a two year campaign to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, that poses grave threats to Rio Blanco regional environment, river and indigenous Lenca people.

Target: Ernesto Gutierrez, Projects Executive for the Central American Bank for Economic Integration

Goal: Stop funding the Agua Zarca Dam project.

Honduran indigenous rights activists have been the target of a violent campaign. This campaign has left two members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) dead, murdered by unidentified gunmen. First, renown Indigenous rights and environmental activist Berta Caceres was murdered at her home, then her colleague Nelson Garcia was killed as he returned home. Among other things, these activists had a shared opposition to the Agua Zarca Dam project. The Agua Zarca Dam project aims to build a medium size dam across the Gualcarque river, a river that is sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. Furthermore, the dam project may starve farms from water as well as disrupt waterways that support many communities.

From the first proposals for the dam in 2006, COPINH has objected to the project. Under treaties to which Honduras is a signatory, projects on indigenous lands are only legal if the people in question have been informed and consulted. The Lenca people have consistently stated that they have not been consulted. The government of Honduras has pursued a strategy of violent evictions, harassment of protesters, and murder, all in the name of protecting the project.

While the project is being run by a Honduran company founded in 2008 specifically to oversee the project, it is funded by international banks. If these banks were to pull their support for the project, it will not happen. Two banks have already pulled out of the project, the withdrawal of a third would definitively end it. The last bank involved in the project is the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, a regional development bank, which has $24.4 million dollars invested in the project. Sign our petition and let the Central American Bank for Economic Integration know that it cannot continue to support the Agua Zarca project

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Ernesto Gutierrez,

The Agua Zarca Dam project has been pursued in violation of the Honduran government’s obligations under the ILO treaty on indigenous rights. Representatives of the Lenca people have repeatedly stated that they have not been consulted on the project, and Honduran law enforcement has been pursuing a campaign of intimidation against local communities. The recent murders of Berta Caceres and Nelson Garcia have led to the withdrawal of Finnbank and FMO from the project. It is now time for the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to follow suit.

While economic development can provide an opportunity for the people of Honduras, the model of development represented by the Agua Zarca project is development at the cost of human rights. It is the kind of development that benefits the few while costing many their land and livelihood. As the sole remaining financial backer of the project, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration can prevent the violation of the rights of the Lenca people and send a message that development must respect human rights.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Goldman Environmental Prize

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105 Signatures

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