Lic.Rolando Argueta, President of the Supreme Court of Honduras
Sr.Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General of Honduras
Lic. Jacobo Santos, Special Prosecutor for Human Rights
Lica. Karla Cueva, Secretary of State for Human Rights Affairs
November 11, 2018
Today we are writing, with increasing anger and urgency, about the violent eviction in the community of El Guapinol, Tocoa municipality, in Colón Department. On October 23 we wrote to you about our concern at the eviction order for the environmental defense organization Encampment for Life and the issuing of arrest warrants for 18 of its members (cf our letter of Oct 23).
On October 27, 1500 members of the Army, Cobras (militarized anti-riot police units), the National Preventative Police and others, heavily armed with rifles, shields, clubs and tear gas bombs, evicted a defenseless and peaceful population from the Encampment for Life. People were beaten and wounded; three persons were temporarily detained, and three people were killed, including two members of the Armed Forces. Tear gas injured a pregnant woman.Media members covering the event were attacked, their cameras were taken, the information was erased, and their personal possessions and documents were temporarily retained.
On October 28 the people of El Guapinol, tried to peacefully take back the Encampment. A group of 20 heavily armed paramilitaries in civilian clothes attacked them in the presence of the Army and the National Police. Several people were injured; Alex Bonilla was seriously wounded. The armed group burned the home of community leader Irma Serrano.
On October 29, military operatives terrorized the community of La Ceibita for hours by searching homes, taking women and children from their homes, and detaining men without arrest warrants.
The Encampment for Life was organized three months ago in response to the negative environmental and social impacts of large scale mining projects in the Atlantic zone carried out by the Los Pinares mining company. The Encampment members are facing a serious crisis as its leaders and other human rights defenders are being followed and criminalized (cf our letter of Oct 23). In light of this crisis, we strongly urge that you
- order the immediate demilitarization of the area so that the 14 communities that are part of the Encampment for Life and the zone in general can live without fear of arrest or injury;
- review the laws passed in the context of the 2009 military coup d’état restricting the rights of people and assigning rights to private companies to carry out extractive projects based on a non-existent legality that dispossess communities and peoples of their territories.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
Marlon R. Tábora Muñoz, Ambassador of Honduras to the US ~ via website or fax, and US mail
Heide B. Fulton, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy in Honduras ~ via email
Jason Smith, Human Rights and Labor Representative, US Embassy in Honduras ~ via email
David Tagle, Honduras Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Joel Hernández, Rapporteur for Honduras ~ via email
Maria Soledad Pazo, Country Representative to Honduras, United Nations Office High Commissioner for Human Rights ~via email
COFADEH ~via email
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci, Ryan ~ via email