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Honduras: 100+ organizations demand Honduran authorities respect decision of the people of Tocoa to say NO to petcoke thermoelectric plant and Emco's mining megaproject

National and international organizations demand that Honduran authorities respect the decision of the people of Tocoa to say NO to the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and Emco's mining megaproject, among other demands. On Saturday, December 9, 2023, the people of Tocoa were called by the Municipal Corporation to participate in an open town meeting regarding the Ecotek petroleum coke thermoelectric project, one of the seven components of an iron oxide megaproject promoted by the "Emco Holdings" consortium of Ana Facusse and Lenir Perez. More than 2000 people showed up early at the Froylan Turcios Institute to ensure that their voice was heard, despite a stigmatization campaign against the human rights defenders of the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Common and Public Goods of Tocoa in the run-up to the town hall, with the intention of provoking fear in the population.

During the civic assembly, there was a strong police presence, as well as representatives of the Human Rights Secretariat, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Honduras, the Observatory for Justice for the Defenders of the Guapinol River, national and international organizations, as well as international human rights observation organizations. Municipal staff tried to prevent voters from entering the Institute and, upon seeing the large number of people who had arrived to vote against the project, Mayor Adán Funes refused to enter the Institute to hold the open town meeting. As a result, the people self-convened a popular assembly, in which the municipal councilors were present, and voted against the petcoke thermoelectric plant and Emco's megaproject. The process was supervised by municipal councilors and the minutes were notarized. The popular decision reaffirms the result of the open town hall held in November 2019 in Tocoa that roundly rejected the mining project.

We are concerned that Emco's energy project has been promoted by local and state authorities as a way to alleviate the electricity problem in Tocoa, despite the fact that, according to the same environmental impact assessment that the company Ecotek submitted to the Secretariat of Natural Resources - SERNA/MiAmbiente, most of the electricity generated is destined to the operation of the company's plant to pelletize the iron oxide it extracts from the Carlos Escaleras National Park.

We welcome the position of the State of Honduras at COP28 in defense of forests and the generation of clean energy, but we are deeply concerned about efforts to produce energy through the burning of petroleum coke, which is highly polluting to health and the environment, especially because according to the opinion of SERNA's Center for Contaminant Studies and Control (CESCO) dated April 23, 2023, the burning of petroleum coke is not regulated in Honduras.  

For more than seven years, the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Common and Public Goods of Tocoa has publicly denounced, and through the corresponding Honduran Authorities, the illegalities, human rights violations and environmental contamination related to Emco's mega-project.

These complaints have not resulted in any significant action by the corresponding authorities, despite the fact that the CMDBCPT has presented clear and substantiated evidence after a meticulous review of the company's files and State documents, which support its denunciations. 

The members of the CMDBCPT have been victims of arbitrary detentions, assassinations, threats, forced displacements and smear campaigns aimed at silencing their dignified struggle for life and the protection of the forests and rivers of the Montaña de Botaderos "Carlos Escaleras" National Park.

Since October 2023, the members of the Municipal Committee and their legal teams have been beneficiaries of precautionary protection measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) due to the imminent risk they face.

In light of the decision taken by the people of Tocoa, and in support of the Municipal Committee's struggle for justice and accountability, we demand:

1. The decision of the People of Tocoa validly expressed on December 9, 2023 through a popular assembly, be respected and implemented immediately by all levels of the Honduran government. 

2. The immediate and unconditional cancellation of the Emco Holdings megaproject, including the ASP and ASP2 mining concessions of Inversiones Los Pinares; the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and the Ecotek pelletizing plant concession; the concessions for the use of water from the Guapinol, San Pedro and La Ceibita rivers.

3. The immediate and comprehensive protection of the members of the Municipal Committee, their legal teams and their families through measures adopted by the State in consensus with the defenders.

4. The investigation of the criminal and administrative complaints filed by the Municipal Committee in order to bring to trial and sanction those responsible for the illegalities related to the extractive project and the threats and stigmatization campaigns against the defenders of the Municipal Committee.

5. The independent investigation, prosecution and punishment of those materially and intellectually responsible for the murders of Jairo Bonilla, Aly Domínguez and Oqueli Domínguez.

6. The reparation of damages, both to the victims of the persecution by Emco and the State of Honduras, as well as to the core zone of the Carlos Escaleras National Park.



ACI Participa - Honduras

AFET Asociación Feminista Trans - San Pedro Sula Honduras

Alianza Centroamericana Frente a la Minería, ACAFREMIN - Regional

Alternativa de Reivindicación Comunitaria y Ambientalista de Honduras, ARCAH - Honduras

Anticapitalistas Madrid - Spain

Asociación Entrepueblos-Entrepobles-Entrepobos-Herriarte – Spanish State

Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network (ARSN) - Canada

Bufete Estudios para la Dignidad - Honduras

Canadian Jesuits International - Canada

Casa Espiral - Mexico

Casa tonatiuh - Mexico

Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM - Honduras

Centro de Desarrollo Humano. CDH/ Honduras - Honduras

Centro de Información sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos -Inglaterra

Centro de Investigación y Documentación Chile-América Latina (FDCL e.V.) - Germany

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos - Honduras

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho International (CEJIL) - Costa Rica

Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD) - Honduras

CIVICUS World Alliance - Sudáfrica

Comité Campesino del Altiplano CCDA - Guatemala

Comité del Agua de Guapinol - Honduras

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) - Honduras

Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Publicos de Tocoa - Honduras

Comité municipal de saneamiento de microcuencas de Sonaguera - Honduras

Comité para los derechos humanos en America Latina - Canada

Comunicadorxs Populares por la Autonomía - COMPPA - Mexico

Consejo Indígena Lenca de Reitoca - Honduras

Consejo Indígena Lenca Tierras del Padre - Honduras

Consejo Tribu Las Vegas de Tepemechin - Honduras

Convergencia Contra el Continuismo - Honduras

Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguan, COPA - Honduras

COPINH - Honduras

CPTRT - Honduras

Derechos humanos sin frontera Honduras - Honduras

Desarrollo y Paz - Caritas Canada - Canada

Dominican Sisters of Hope - USA

Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Office of Peace and Justice - USA

Dominican Sisters of Sparkill - USA

Eighth Day Faith Community, Washington DC - USA

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación - Honduras

Equipo Jurídico por los Derechos Humanos - Honduras

Escuela para defensoras en derechos humanos y ambientales Benita Galeana - Mexico

FIDH (Federación International por los Derechos Humanos), en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos Paris (Global)

Foro de Mujeres por la Vida - Honduras

Franacía América Latina París, France

Friendship Office of the Americas - USA

Fundación para el debido proceso (DPLF) - USA

Fundación San Alonzo Rodríguez - Honduras

Grupo de Información sobre América Latina (IGLA) - Austria

Guatemala Human Rights Commission GHRC-USA - Guatemala/USA

HEKS EPER - Switzerland

Hondurasdelegation - Germany

Iglesia catolica Bonito Oriental - Honduras

IMDEC (Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario A.C.) - Mexico

Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos - Mesoamerica

Innovando la tradición - Mexico

Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Project - Estados Unidos

Instituto de Derecho Ambiental de Honduras (IDAMHO) - Honduras

International Human Rights Clinic, University of Virginia Faculty of Law, USA

InterReligious Task Force on Central America - USA

Jesuit Social Services Australia - Australia

Justice Committee of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Albany - USA

Justice in Mining - A Global Ignatian Advocacy Network - International

Latin America Working Group Education Fund Washington DC - USA

LAWG - Estados Unidos

MDR - Honduras

Mira: Feminismos y Democracias - Mexico

MOSO -LCBA - Honduras

Movimiento Ambientalista Santabarbarense MAS - Honduras

Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia - Honduras, Centro América

National Lawyersw Guild International Committee - USA

NISGUA - Guatemala-USA

Nucleo de base ambientalista - Honduras

Observatorio indígena - Mexico

Oficina Ecumenica por la Paz y la Justicia - Germany

OFRANEH - Honduras

Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT), en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos - International

Protection International - International

Parroquia San Isidro Labrador Tocoa, Colón - Honduras

Patronato Pro Mejoramiento Cuaca Jaral - Honduras

Peace Watch Switzerland - Switzerland

Plataforma Agraria - Honduras

Plataforma International Contra la Impunidad - Honduras/International

Red Continental Cristiana por la Paz Reconpaz - Honduras Guatemala

Red Continental Iglesias y Mineria - capitulo Honduras - Brazil

Red de Mujeres del Consejo Indígena Lenca de Reitoca - Honduras

Red departamental de Mujeres Santa Bárbara - Honduras

Red Mesoameri-Kaab - Mesoamerica

Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras - Honduras

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights - USA

Romero Initiative (ICR) - Germany

Salvemos El Río Danto, La Ceiba, Atlántida, Honduras - Honduras

SHARE Foundation - USA

Sisters of Mercy Justice Team, Washington DC - USA

Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg - USA

Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill Philadelphia Pennsylvania - USA

Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery/West Hartford - USA

Sisters of St. Joseph Rochester - USA

Sisters of the Holy Spirit - USA


Tlalij, Yolojtli uan Nemililistlij A. C. - Mexico

Trócaire - Ireland

ZEHAR-Errefuxiatuekin - Spain