Demand Justice for Murdered Environmental Activists

Target: Xiomara Castro, President of Honduras

Goal: Initiate an independent investigation into the murder of environmental activists in Honduras.

Two prominent environmental activists were shot dead in Honduras in an alleged incident of robbery. The activists, Aly Dominguez (38) and Jairo Bonilla (28) were key members of the Guapinol Water Defenders Movement. Open-pit iron oxide mining in Honduras is a major socio-political issue, marred by corruption and power play. Maneuvered by influential business groups, heavy mining activity is a major environmental issue in this Latin American country. Last year, the new President Xiomara Castro passed an order to ban open pit mining to conserve areas of ‘high ecological value.’ However, existing mines were allowed to operate until their permits expire. The slain men were active against a controversial mining project in Carlos Escaleras National Park. Their deaths have sparked an international uproar, with the UN and the US Embassy demanding justice.

Dominguez and Bonilla were engaged in their day jobs, getting service payments from local residents on behalf of a regional cable television company when they were attacked. The murders took place in a secluded area and police were quick to attribute the deaths to a botched robbery. The assailants did not take the money or the motorcycles, indicating something far more serious. The mining company in question, Inversiones Los Pinares, is one of the richest business establishments in the Latin American country.

UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor demanded an independent investigation on the matter, suggesting that the attacks could be retaliatory. Ambassador Laura F. Dogu, of the United States to the Republic of Honduras also demanded a high-level inquiry. Esly Banegas, a prominent activist in Honduras compared the corrupt businesses to a monster, demanding prompt action to defend the rights of the indigenous people. However, Inversiones Los Pinares has long argued that it practices ‘environmentally responsible’ activities directed towards the development of impoverished regions. Meanwhile, the funeral procession of Bonilla and Dominquez was attended by hundreds of people in the village of Gaupinol. The human rights group Peace Brigades International has also joined the rally for a credible investigation of the killings.

By signing the petition below, you raise your voice against corrupt business practices in Honduras. Demand justice for the slain water defenders who were murdered in broad daylight.


Dear President Castro,

Open-pit mining is a major environmental concern in Honduras. Last year, your government ordered an end to this harmful activity, but existing mines were allowed to operate. Earlier this month, two environmental activists from the village of Gaupinol were murdered by unidentified assailants in broad daylight. The activists, Aly Dominguez and Jairo Bonilla, were water defenders protesting the mining works by Inversiones Los Pinares in the Carlos Escaleras National Park.

Local police were quick to label the incident as a failed robbery attempt. However, the personal belongings of the slain men were left untouched. The killings have sparked a major international outcry with the US Embassy, the United Nations, and Human Rights groups demanding an independent inquiry.

We urge you, President Castro, to initiate a credible investigation of the unfortunate incident and put an end to open pit mining in Honduras.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jose Matute

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