Honduras: More than 100 organisations in solidarity with the people of Tocoa

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Héctor Emilio Gonzalez / Unsplash

More than 100 national and international organisations, including the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH), demand that the Honduran authorities respect the decision of the people of Tocoa to say NO to the petroleum coke thermoelectric plant and the Emco 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:

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

* If you organization hasn’t signed on but would still like to, you can do so here.

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  • Co-signatories

    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 - Spain
    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
    Centro de Información sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos -UK
    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 Internacional (CEJIL) - Costa Rica
    Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD) - Honduras
    CIVICUS World Alliance - South Africa
    Clínica Internacional de Derechos Humanos, Facultad de Derechos, Universidad de Virginia, USA
    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 - Canadá
    Comunicadorxs Populares por la Autonomía - COMPPA - Mexico
    Consejo Indígena Lenca de Reitoca - Honudras
    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 Canadá - Canadá
    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 - México
    FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), in the frame of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders , Paris (Global)
    Foro de Mujeres por la Vida - Honduras
    France Amérique latine, Paris, 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.) - México
    Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos - Mesoamérica
    Innovando la tradición - México
    Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Project - USA
    Instituto de Derecho Ambiental de Honduras (IDAMHO) - Honduras
    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 - Global
    Latin America Working Group Education Fund Washington DC - USA
    LAWG - USA
    MDR - Honduras
    Mira: Feminismos y Democracias - México
    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 - México
    Oficina Ecumenica por la Paz y la Justicia - Germany
    OFRANEH - Honduras
    World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) in the frame of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders , Paris (Global)
    Parroquia San Isidro Labrador Tocoa, Colón - Honduras
    Patronato Pro Mejoramiento Cuaca Jaral - Honduras
    Peace Watch Switzerland - Suiza
    Plataforma Agraria - Honduras
    Plataforma Internacional Contra la Impunidad - Honduras/Internacional Protection International - Internacional
    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 - Mesoamérica
    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
    SITRASEMCA - Honduras
    Tlalij, Yolojtli uan Nemililistlij A. C. - Mexico
    Trócaire - Ireland
    ZEHAR-Errefuxiatuekin - Spain

  • Member organisations - Honduras
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