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RRN letter summaries - NOV 2022

NOVEMBER 2022: Rapid Response Network – summary of letters this month


NOVEMBER 2022: Rapid Response Network – summary of letters this month

Rapid Response Network (RRN) letters this month

21 NOV 2022


desecration of cemetery:  Indigenous Maya Chortí community in Copán

Despite a court order to stop expansion of its open-pit gold mining operations in La Unión, Miami-based Aura Minerals continues the destruction of an Indigenous Maya Chortí community in Copán Department in western Honduras. At the heart of the matter for local residents is the contamination of vital water sources and the destruction of their 200-year-old Azacualpa community cemetery. As we described in previous letters (cf December 2, 2021; January 25, April 11, July 21, 2022) army and police were deployed to ensure the exhumations of graves, to facilitate expansion of the San Andrés gold mine, which is owned by US- and Canada-based Aura Minerals and operated by its Honduran subsidiary MINOSA (Minerales de Occidente SA). On March 30, 2022, the government of Honduras ordered MINOSA to stop its operations, but the destruction has continued. In early November, the Supreme Court of Justice in Tegucigalpa admitted a writ of habeas corpus filed by lawyers on behalf of community residents, demanding from the Ministry of Health and the mining company to disclose the location of the illegally exhumed bodies.

We wrote to authorities in Honduras, urging them to: (1) guarantee that the appointed executing judges effectively locate the exhumed corpses of the Azacualpa cemetery, (2) support and adopt all decisions necessary to return those corpses to the cemetery in La Unión, Copán, and (3) order an immediate retreat of the mining company MINOSA and all its affiliates, including armed forces, from the cemetery hill and the local community and revoke any outstanding mining approvals for the company

You can read the full letter at


22 NOV 2022


assassinated: Carlos Alberto García Sepúlveda, leader of the Organization of Indigenous Reservations of the Awá People of the Pacific (ORIPAP).

Carlos Alberto García Sepúlveda, age 22, was traveling by bus when three individuals dressed in hoods forced him out of the bus. They murdered him just 300 meters from his house in the municipality of Tumaco, Nariño Department, where he lived with his parents and his two-year-old son.

Carlos Alberto García Sepúlveda was a leader of the Organization of Indigenous Reservations of the Awá People of the Pacific (ORIPAP). He is more than just a number, and yet he is also the 156th social leader assassinated in the course of this year, with a total of 1,376 leaders killed since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016.

You can read the full letter at:



23 NOV 2022


assassination plot: by agribusiness Dinant against campesion leaderhip in El Aguán Valley

Members of the Coordinator of Popular Organizations (COPA) and the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) announced in a press conference that agribusiness corporations like Dinant have a plan to assassinate the peasant leadership in El Aguán who are fighting to secure access to their ancestral lands. Sources say the agribusiness companies have carried out surveillance to monitor the movements of the leadership and have devised a plot to murder the leadership of the Agrarian Platform—and then blame it on common street-crime violence. The names of the threatened leaders are: Jaime Cabrera, Jony Rivas, Héctor Murillo, José Cruz, Santos Pérez, Alexander Garcia, José Garcia, William Sorto and Esly Banegas.

We are urging that authorities in Honduras: (1) safeguard the life and personal integrity of the campesino leadership in El Aguán Valley, in strict accordance with their wishes, (2) initiate an investigation against businessman Miguel Mauricio de la Soledad Facussé Saenz, leader of Corporación Dinant, who has been accused of implementing the plan to assassinate the peasant leadership.

You can read the full letter at:



24 NOV 2022


criminalization: Reinaldo Baharona Reyes, environmentalist and Indigenous Tolupán tribal leader

October 26, Indigenous Tolupán tribal leader Reinaldo Baharona Reyes he was given a national award for his environmental defense, named the Carlos Escaleras National Prize.  Despite the national honor, Reinaldo Baharona Reyes still faces threats of criminalization and imprisonment. 

Reinaldo Baharona Reyes is president of the Las Vegas tribe of Tepemechín in Victoria, Yoro Department. The tribe’s territory has been threatened by landowners linked to cattle ranching, loggers, and miners, who have decades-long legacy of controlling mayors' offices and using them as organized crime structures to dispossess the Tolupán. When bribes and tribal division do not work, tribal council leaders have been assassinated. Indigenous people have been dehumanized as just another species by those who covet land.

Reinaldo Baharona Reyes went to court in Victoria on November 4 to address the criminal complaints against him. His attorney says that he is at risk and needs the special attention of the authorities to guarantee his safety to do his human rights work.

You can read the full letter at:


25 NOV 2022


robbed, beaten: Luis Adolfo Ich Choc, an elected representative of the Ancestral Council of the Q'eqchi' People of El Estor, resistance to El Fénix nickel mine

We wrote to authorities in Guatemala urging protection for Luis Adolfo Ich Choc, an elected representative of the Ancestral Council of the Q'eqchi' People of El Estor, Izabal Department. In recent months, Luis Adolfo Ich Choc has been the victim of robbery (September 16) and a beating that left him with a fractured shoulder (October 19). He is being targeted because of his active role in the organized resistance to the El Fénix nickel mine.

The nickel mining operation has been a source of contention and violence for many years in El Estor, a community where 90% of the inhabitants are indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’. The Swiss-Russian consortium Solway Investment Group purchased the mine from HudBay Minerals in 2011; the mine is operated by its subsidiary, the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN). For the past 15 years, impacted residents have reiterated that the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) did not obtain their free, prior, and informed consent as required by national and international law (ILO Convention 169, the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of 1989). In its ruling in 2019, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala ratified the right to consultation and resolved that the mining company had to suspend its mining activity.  The company later carried out a “consultation” but excluded many key actors, including the fishing communities and the local indigenous authorities. The mining operations continue in defiance of the spirit of the court ruling.

You can read the full letter at



26 NOV 2022


assassinations: community leaders Efraín Sánchez Durán and Oswaldo Eliecer Duglas Bula

We wrote to authorities calling for justice in the assassinations of two social leaders killed last night.

Community leader Efraín Sánchez Durán was shot and killed by four armed men in the Paloca sector of Barrancabermeja, Santander Department. The hitmen fled the scene but were later captured by authorities. Efraín Sánchez Durán was the director of the Manos Amigas foundation, which serves the elderly in his community.

Also assassinated on November 25 was Oswaldo Eliecer Duglas Bula in Montería, the capital of Córdoba Department. He was a champion of various social processes, including the relocation of vendors from the South Market, a union of which he was a part.

You can read the full letter at



Rapid Response Network

InterReligious Task Force on Central America & Colombia

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