Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General of Honduras
Lica. Karla Cueva, Secretary of State for Human Rights Affairs
May 22, 2019
Dear Attorney General Chinchilla and Secretary Cueva:
We are outraged at the constant threats and attacks against Rosalina Domínguez, Finance Coordinator for the Indigenous Council of Río Blanco in Intibucá Department, her four sons (ages 16 to 30), and two other members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). On April 29, April 30 and May 1 they were threatened by members of the Madrid family carrying firearms and machetes. The aggressors went so far as to say that they would kill her “the same way they did Señora Berta,” in reference to the killing of Berta Cáceres in 2016.
The threats received by Rosalina Domínguez, her family, as well as other members of (COPINH) are an attempt to silence the voices of indigenous rights leaders in order to maintain lucrative economic maneuvers by powerful families and companies in Honduras. This intimidation is unacceptable.
Since 2011 COPINH members have been campaigning against the development of the “Agua Zarca” Hydroelectric Project on Lenca indigenous lands, formerly owned by the Madrid family. The development company, Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA), never obtained prior, free, and informed consent for the project, as required by law. On March 2 of 2016, Berta Cáceres, leader and co-founder of COPINH, was murdered in her home in La Esperanza, Intibucá Department. On March 7 of 2016 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) issued a new precautionary measure of protection in favor of Berta Caceres' family and all COPINH members on the grounds of the risks posed by their work defending human rights, land and natural resources, as well as their increased vulnerability after Berta Caceres' assassination.
This incident is further evidence of the possibility of further aggressions, harassment, and assassinations against the Lenca people and COPINH. We strongly urge that you
- conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the latest threats against Rosalina Dominguez, her family and COPINH members, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
- take all measures necessary to protect the life and integrity of Rosalina Domínguez and all the defenders of the territory in Río Blanco.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
COPINH: Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras ~ via email
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
David Tagle, Honduras Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Joel Hernández, Rapporteur for Honduras, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email and US mail
Antonia Urrejola, Rapporteur for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, ~ via email and US mail
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci, Ryan ~ via email