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Environmental Human Rights: News & Updates

News Article

Nina Lakhani

Another indigenous environmentalist has been killed in Honduras, cementing the country’s inglorious ranking as the deadliest place in the world to defend land and natural resources from exploitation.

News Article

By Nan McCurdy

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The Bufete de Estudios para la Dignidad, in conjunction with the Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia, MADJ, makes public the sentence resolution issued by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), in which the CSJ orders the municipal government of La Union, Copan and the Ministry of Health to reject any authorization of exhumations in the Cemetery of San Andres (Azacualpa) carried out by Aura Minerals (MINOSA).The ruling restores the right to self-determination of peoples, personal integrity, culture and the right to protection of the family. It constitutes a precedent that vindicates and strengthens community struggles and the exercise of sovereignty against the abuses and violations of rights by companies and, in general, by the extractive model in Honduras.
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“Every day that passes we know less about him. He’s weak, he’s had Covid symptoms; we worry about his health and safety in the prison.” Gabriela Sorto expresses great concern for her father Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, a 48-year-old builder and farm worker, who is one of eight protesters from Guapinol held in pre-trial detention since September 2019 for alleged crimes linked to their opposition to an iron oxide mine which threatens to contaminate their water supply. The community of Guapinol (named for its river) is in the fertile, mineral-rich Bajo Agua region, where for years subsistence farmers and indigenous Hondurans have been forcibly displaced, criminalized and killed in conflicts with powerful conglomerates over land and water. “My dad has been jailed for defending a river which gives our community life, for trying to stop the exploitation of natural resources by rich companies who the government helps to terrorize us,” said Gabriela Sorto.
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The ZEDEs (Zonas de Empleo y Desarrollo) -- also known as "model cities" -- continue stirring up controversy on the pages of the daily newspapers and on the streets of Honduras in the form of organized resistance. Edmundo Orellano is the former foreign minister and former defense minister of Honduras. In this article published in La Tribuna, he describes the ZEDEs this way: "We are handing over the territory and sovereignty, displacing the population and stripping it of its real estate, to establish small States ['model cities"] in a territory that will no longer be ours, populated by foreigners, that are like the ones that appear provoking the islanders in the video went viral on the networks, they will be, for the most part, louts."

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