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Article

1 Sep 2021

Author:
nacla

Honduras: After two years of arbitrary detention, Guapinol defenders remain jailed for protesting against Inversiones los Pinares

CEJIL

“Arbitrary Justice: The Fate of Environmental Defenders in Honduras”, 01 september 2021

...September 1 marks two years since a Honduran judge ordered seven community leaders into pretrial detention for opposing an iron ore mine in Tocoa, a municipality in the country’s northern Colón department. The activists, all from the community of Guapinol, belong to the Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Goods (CMDBCP) of Tocoa, a network of local groups dedicated to land and environmental defense. They were charged in 2018 along with 24 other CMDBCP members for false imprisonment, aggravated arson, theft and criminal association. At the time of writing, their trial has just been scheduled for the beginning of December 2021...

Throughout the judicial process, the Guapinol defenders have faced a lack of due process, the constant cancellation and rescheduling of hearings, and the unfounded extension of their pre-trial detention…

Despite repeated high-level international condemnation and calls for reform, the Honduran justice system is increasingly prioritizing vested interests, particularly those of domestic and international companies, over the rights of Hondurans. The eight leaders from Tocoa languish in prison on trumped up charges, still uncertain about their future. Meanwhile, even though the project lacks community consent, Inversiones Los Pinares continues to push forward the mining project in hopes of supplying international iron ore markets at the expense of locals’ rights and the environment they live in...