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Environmental Human Rights: News & Updates

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Guapinol Water Defenders Set Free! The 12 human rights defenders in this case have had their charges dropped as of Monday, March 4, 2019! The international attention on this pivotal case involving the right to clean water helped the judge in the case make the right decision to drop all charges and set these advocates free!
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Camilo Atala, president of Ficohsa bank, protested after he was one of the 16 people whose names Congresswoman Borjas read from the security ministry’s inspector general report as a suspected plotter of the killing of environmental activist Berta Cáceres in 2016.
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Death of Jakelin Caal in US custody highlights how land conflicts and displacement fuel flight from indigenous villages...The oil extracted from the palm fruits is used for biofuel and in all kinds of household products, from ice cream and instant noodles to lipstick and detergents..."Before there was palm and before there was sugar cane...we farmed watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, chile, papaya and other crops that helped our families subsist and also generated work," said community leader Albino Mejia...Starting in 2005, palm and sugar cane companies moved in to take over land rights for plantations, raising lease rates for subsistence farmers, and draining water sources used by those small farmers who still had access to land. As a consequence, people have been displaced. Many migrate north to the US.
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The chief prosecutor’s office said it would seek formal charges against Roberto David Castillo Mejia for his alleged in the assassination of indigenous and environmental defense leader Berta Cáceres. Castillo Mejía Castillo was president of Empresa Desarollos Energeticos (DESA) when Cáceres was killed in 2016. Cáceres was a leader in her people's fight against the company’s construction of a hydroelectric dam, which would cause environmental destruction and cut off their access to their traditional waterway.
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Globalization as a qualitatively new phase in the ongoing and open-ended evolution of world capitalism has been characterized above all by the rise of a globally integrated production, financial, and service system. In Central America, the transnational model of accumulation that took hold during the boom has involved a vast expansion of maquiladoras (assembly factories in Export Processing Zones, employing some 800,000), agro-industrial complexes, mining and raw material extraction, global banking, tourism, and the “retail revolution,” like the spread of Walmart...At the same time, the spread of transnational tourist complexes has turned Central America into a global playground. Local indigenous, Afro-descendant, and mestizo communities have fought displacement, environmental degradation, and the commodification of local cultures by tourist mega-projects such as the Ruta Maya throughout the regiona-projects Roatan in Honduras, San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, Costa del Sol in El Salvador, or Guanacaste province in Costa Rica
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Maya communities bore the brunt of almost four decades of a civil war that ended in 1996, leaving over 200,000 casualties, the majority indigenous Guatemalans, according to the United Nations. Now the mostly Maya organizations and many human rights groups worry that the violence is making a comeback: In just the last year, 26 members of mostly indigenous campesino organizations have been killed. "Guatemala is on the verge of a major human rights catastrophe," says Jo-Marie Burt, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America.

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