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Honduras 08/14/2019

Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General of Honduras

Lica. Karla Cueva, Secretary of State for Human Rights Affairs

August 14, 2019

Dear Attorney General Chinchilla and Secretary Cueva:

We are extremely concerned about recent attacks affecting Rosalina Domínguez and at least 25 families of the community of Río Blanco in Intibucá Department. The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) reports that food crops allocated to feed 25 families were intentionally destroyed on July 15 (cf our letter of July 16). The attack occurred in the same area in which COPINH Finance Coordinator, Rosalina Domínguez, Domínguez’s four sons and two other members of the community were threatened on April 30 and May 1 (cf our letter of May 22). 

On July 31, when Rosalina Domínguez, her four sons (aged between 16 and 30), and two other members of her community were on their way to work, they faced verbal death threats from a group of at least seven people, one of them armed. The aggressors blocked their path, threatened them with a machete and said, “this is not going to happen. . .this is a witch equal to Berta.” This was in referrence to Berta Cáceres, founder of COPINH, who was assassinated in March 2016 by hit men linked to Energy Development Company (Desarrollos Energéticos SA, or DESA), which has been trying to develop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam on Lenca ancestral lands along the Gualcarque River without the required consent of the community. Since 2012 COPINH has been organizing resistance to the project, as it threatens the environment and traditional way of life of the Lenca people who live along the Gualcarque River. 

We are quite concerned that these continued threats and harassment indicate risk of further attacks against Rosalina Domínguez, members of COPINH and members of the Lenca community. Therefore, we strongly urge that you

  • thoroughly and impartially investigate the recent threats and attacks, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
  • take all necessary actions to stop the systematic violence suffered by the Lenca community in  Río Blanco
  • guarantee the safety of members of the community of Río Blanco and COPINH, in strict accordance with their wishes

Sincerely,

Brian J. Stefan Szittai        and        Christine Stonebraker-Martinez                     

Co-Coordinators

 

copies:     

Marlon Ramsses Tábora Muñoz, Ambassador of Honduras to the US ~ via website or fax, and US mail

Lawrence J. Gumbiner, 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 on the Rights of Indigenous People,Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email and US mail

CESPAD: Centro de Estudio para la Democracia ~ via email

Rights Action ~ via email

Amnesty International-Urgent Action Network ~ via email

US Senators Brown and Portman ~ via email

US Representatives Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email