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Environmental Human Rights: News & Updates

News Article

Since its election of the new president Xiomara Castro, Honduras has a lot to do to move forward.

From October 26 to October 28, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) held a series of meetings with members of civil society, press, donors, the U.S. Embassy and President Castro.

The main talking points were the fight against corruption, migration and the human rights situation in the country. 

The state aims to dismantle the existing corruption networks in its institutions and strengthen the independence of the country's judicial system. To reach this goal, the government is cooperating with the the International Commission against Impunity (CICH).

Furthermore, Honduras plans on cutting crime rates, especially against women and other marginalized groups by reducing impunity for gender based violence. 

In the discussion about migration, the main focus was on displacement and the situation of unaccompanied minors at the U.S. border. WOLA emphasized the need for Honduras to work on the structural causes of migration and to implement immediate actions to address the humanitarian crisis contributing to migration.

WOLA will remain a partner on Honduras' rocky road towards the full implementation of human rights and to become a safe place for every citizen and migrant in the country. 

News Article

The indigenous people of  Sonsonate in western El Salvador are bundled with daily struggles. Commercial farming damages their homeland and privatizations strip them of basic needs like water. 

Women especially are suffering under these circumstances. 

In 2017 the New Dawn Association of El Salvador (ANADES) founded their Agroecological School, teaching indigenous women their ancestors' way of farming, using native crops and to work in harmony with the environment. Besides the practical training, the program includes theoretical classes, reflecting on the oppression with which the women are confronted every day. Together they analyze structures like capitalism, colonization and patriarchy. 

The program helps communities and families to become financially independent while saving the environment and building an economy benefiting all. 


News Article

Even though Halloween is past, another holiday season is almost knocking on the door and will push chocolate sales once more. Reason enough to shed light on the crooked dealings of the chocolate industry. 

The chocolate industry has been growing rapidly during the last few years and is expected to become a 180 billion USD industry by 2025. But this immense growth comes at a heavy price for the cocoa farmers and their families in the Global South who work for a minimal income to provide cheap chocolate for us. 

Next to the daily struggle to make ends meet, which drives up to 1.5 million children onto the fields in West Africa and Latin America, this industry poisons its workers.

More and more (small) farms have been giving into the pressure and have started using heavily hazardous pesticides as a means to maximize their yields. 

Due to weak regulations, Africa and South/Central America are lucrative markets for these pesticides, many of which are illegal in the United States and the EU. These bans don't exist without a reason. The pesticides can cause acute poisoning and chronic health issues. 

Especially children, pregnant women and their unborn are endangered by the chemicals. Adding to this is a lack of information about potential hazards which can arise and protective equipment for the workers on the fields. 

You can find more on the dangers of chemical pesticides, exploitation of the chocolate farmers and how you can help in the following article. The article also provides a table rating of different manufacturers and gives examples of fair and organic produced chocolate. 

News Article

On behalf of IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) members, we wrote six letters this month to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala,  urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries.  We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: (1) protect people living under threat, (2) demand investigations into human rights crimes, (3) bring human rights criminals to justice.

IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) volunteers write six letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see , or ask us to mail you hard copies.