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Home About Us Equipo Sur Stories of Honduras Urge the Honduran government to respect the Rio Blanco Indigenous Community
Urge the Honduran government to respect the Rio Blanco Indigenous Community PDF Print E-mail
Since April 1, the Rio Blanco Indigenous Lenca community has maintained a 24-hour road blockade to demand the withdrawal of the Agua Zarca Hydroelectic Project from their territory. Representatives of the company have brought the police, including the Police Commisioner of Intibuca, with them to the site of the action and have threatened those at the blockade. Members of the community and COPINH face threats, surveillance, and persecution for their opposition to the Agua Zarca Project. Members of the La Tejera community have also received death threats and physical aggression by employees of the company

Calls and e-mails are requested to the Honduran government to urge them to ensure the life and safety of the members of the Rio Blanco community and COPINH as well as to respect ILO Convention 169 on the rights of Indigenous people to be consulted about projects in their territory. A sample message in Spanish is below.

Send e-mails with the sample message or a personalized message to:

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Sample Message:

Estimados Señores y Señoras:

Les contacto para expresar mi preocupación sobre la situación y amenazas que enfrenta la comunidad Lenca y miembros de COPINH en Río Blanco, por expresar su rechazo al proyecto Agua Zarca en su territorio.  Estoy sumamente preocupado de escuchar que el Sr. Cristian Toledo de SINOHYDRO llegó a la toma de carretera, acompañado por la DGIC y la Policía Nacional, y amenazó a miembros de la comunidad. Les insto respetar la vida y los derechos de las comunidades Lencas y los miembros de COPINH que están exigiendo su derecho legitimo a decidir sobre su territorio.

Entiendo que las comunidades han rechazado el proyecto Hidroeléctrico Agua Zarca en cabildeos abiertos y asambleas Indígenas y que han informado al estado sobre su posición y han hecho denuncias en contra del proyecto Agua Zarca.  Les insto respetar el Convenio 169 de la OIT y respetar el derecho de las comunidades Lencas de ser consultadas sobre proyectos en su territorio -- incluyendo su derecho de rechazar estos proyectos.

Voy a seguir monitoreando la situación en Rio Blanco y el comportamiento de la policía y las empresas.  Espero que tomen acción inmediata para resolver la situación y asegurar respeto a la vida y los derechos del pueblo Lenca en Río Blanco.

Atentamente,

{Sign with your name, city/state, country, and organization if applicable}

Make calls to:

-Fiscal General de la Republica, Luis Alberto Rubí: (504) 2221-5670 or (504) 2221-3099 or (504) 2221-5603

-SERNA (Secretaría de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente): (504) 2232-1386 or (504) 2235-7833, ask for the office of Minister Rigoberto Cuellar

-President’s Office: (504) 9990-0878

Additional Background

Honduras has ratified ILO Convention 169 on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, a legally binding international convention that requires Indigenous communities be consulted about projects that affect them. In the Rio Blanco area, the Lenca communities have clearly rejected the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project in town hall meetings and Indigenous Assemblies. They have informed the government of Honduras of their position, held protests against the projet, and denounced it to the Special Prosecutor for Ethnic Groups, the Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, and the National Congress to no avail.

The Agua Zarca project is a result of a law passed just months after the 2009 SOA-graduate led coup in Honduras and subsequent actions by the post-coup government in which dozens of rivers were concessioned. The river has now been privatized and the community is not allowed to access it, affecting their way of life.  Watch a video (in spanish) here.

For more information, visit http://copinhonduras.blogspot.com/

 

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