Target: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
Goal: Pull support from companies pushing for special economic development zones in areas of Honduras where campesino leaders have been murdered.
In the latest of a string of murders of activists and community leaders in Honduras, two campesino leaders have been murdered by unidentified gunmen. Armed men allegedly attacked the president of the Aguán Unified Campesino Movement (MUCA), José Ángel Flores, and one of the group’s organizers, Silmer Dionisio George, as the two men left MUCA offices in the northern community of la Confianza. Both campaigned to protect communally owned land rights against pressure from corporations seeking to build palm oil plantations, and had previously received death threats. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights had previously directed the Honduran government to provide protections for both men.
In the area that this crime occurred, several firms backed by the World Bank are engaged in the construction of a “special economic zone,” or “model city,” which will be exempt from many Honduran laws. Given the number of killings of activists associated with large development projects such as the Agua Zarca dam project—linked to the murder of a number of indigenous and environmental rights activists, including Berta Caceres—it is necessary for international institutions such as the World Bank to take a leadership role in ensuring its projects occur in a context where human rights are respected.
Sign the petition below and demand that the World Bank suspend funding to “special economic zone” projects in Honduras.
Dear President Kim,
As you know, the World Bank is currently backing the establishment of a “special economic zone” in Northern Honduras. While I believe that Honduras requires economic development, in the past year there have been a number of assassinations, attacks, and threats against community leaders and activists campaigning against large projects in the country. Furthermore, the few investigations of these crimes that have resulted in criminal charges have implicated a number of people with ties or positions with private companies engaged in the disputes, as well as Honduran state security forces.
On October 18, two campesino leaders were murdered by unidentified gunmen in La Confianza in the same region of the special economic zone. These men were well-known defenders of collective land rights, which had recently been under pressure from corporations seeking to acquire land for palm oil plantations. The Honduran government had previously been directed to provide protection to these men after they received death threats.
Given the pattern of murders and lack of security for civil society in Honduras, I urge you to suspend World Bank funding for economic development projects until these extrajudicial killings stop.
[Your Name Here]
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