Honduras

Amnesty International
Date of publication
août 2016
Geographical focus

Defendemos la tierra con nuestra sangre explora el aumento de la estigmatización, las amenazas, los ataques y los homicidios, así como la falta de justicia, a los que se enfrentan las personas y comunidades que luchan por proteger el medio ambiente frente a los proyectos en gran escala de minería, extracción de madera y producción de energía hidroeléctrica.

Amnesty International
Date of publication
septembre 2016
Geographical focus

An insidious wave of threats, bogus charges, smear campaigns, attacks and killings of environmental and land activists in recent months has made Honduras and Guatemala the most dangerous countries on earth for those protecting natural resources, Amnesty International said in a new report six months after the brutal murder of Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.

The report, We defend the land with our blood,explores the increasing stigmatization, threats, attacks, killings and lack of justice faced by individuals and communities fighting to protect the environment from large-scale mining, logging and hydroelectric projects.  

“Defending human rights is one of the most dangerous professions in Latin America but daring to protect vital natural resources takes these risky jobs to a whole new, potentially lethal level,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

An astounding 65 percent (122 out of 185) of the murders of human rights defenders working on issues related to land, territory or the environment registered across the world in 2015 were from Latin America, according to Global Witness. Eight took place in Honduras and 10 in Guatemala alone – making them the highest rate per capita in the region.  

“The tragic murder of Berta Cáceres seems to have marked a deadly turning point for human rights defenders in the region. The lack of a transparent and effective investigation into her killing has sent the abhorrent message that shooting someone, point blank, for standing up to powerful economic interests is actually allowed,” said Guevara-Rosas.

Honduras: Deadly attacks

The murder of Indigenous leader and human rights defender Cáceres in her home a few hours from the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, on the night of March 2 was one in a string of deadly attacks against her organization.   

The  leaderof theConsejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), she had worked for years to protect the Gualcarque River from the potentially negative impact of a dam that is being planned in the area.

Since the campaign against the dam began in 2013, Cáceres had received several death threats, which were never properly investigated. The Honduran authorities failed to provide her with effective protection despite the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights requesting the government to do so.

Attacks, threats and harassment against members of COPINH and its sister organization MILPAH (Movimiento Indígena Lenca de La Paz Honduras) which works to protect the land of the Lenca Indigenous people, increased after Cáceres’ murder. Members of the community say that unknown individuals have been harassing them near their homes and the community radio station.

On March 15, Nelson García, another leader from COPINH, was shot dead on the street as he was riding his motorbike back home, after meeting the community to organize a protest later that day. Authorities have opened an investigation which is yet to shield any results.

On July 6, the body of land rights activist Lesbia Urquía, was found in a dumpster in the city of Marcala, on the border with El Salvador. A few days later, authorities arrested two men in connection with her death but they have not yet been charged.

A week later, Martín Gómez Vásquez, another MILPAH leader, was pelted with stones as he left the western Honduras community of Azacualpa. He said the attackers were members of a family that alleges ownership of a portion of the Lenca community’s ancestral lands. The Honduran authorities have not launched an investigation into this attack.

Date of publication
février 2006

The World Trade Organization (WTO) hailed the recent Hong Kong Sixth Ministerial Meeting last December 2005 as a positive movement towards the conclusion of the Doha Development Round. The round was supposedly geared towards ensuring that trade contributes to the development objectives of least developed and developing countries. However, for most civil society groups around the world, the Hong Kong meeting was nothing but a step towards further liberalization, a prescription for countries to further open up their markets, despite its negative impact on small producers, especially small farmers, in developing economies.

Date of publication
mai 2007

A Special Product (SP) is an agricultural product “out of the WTO” in that they are not subject to tariff reductions, i. e. Countries can keep the right to maintain protective tariffs on certain agricultural products that are essential for food security, rural development, and farmers’ livelihoods. The G33 proposal is for 10% of developing country products to be exempt from tariff reductions, with an additional 10% of product lines to have limited tariff reductions. This would be somewhere in the range of 300 products. The US counter-proposal is for a mere 5 products! Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) means that if there is an import surge, countries have the right to increase protective tariffs. Why are SP and SSM important in the WTO negotiations? The issue of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SP/SSM) is a key issue in the current Doha Round of negotiations. The SP/SSM seems to be one of few issues that developing countries are quite strong on, and that the US is strongly opposed to, meaning that if the developing countries (G33) stay strong in defense of SP/SSM, it could keep the Round deadlocked. If the Round goes through, then SP and SSM are measures to protect farmers from further damage from WTO rules. 

Date of publication
août 2012
Geographical focus

The Nuestras Rais Program (NR) was
created in Honduras in 1995 after massive ethnic
demonstrations, in which people protested poor access to
basic public services and demanded more access roads (and
land rights). The government responded with the Roads for
Production (Caminos para la Produccion) program, which paid
nominal wages to beneficiaries to open and rehabilitate
small tertiary roads and paths. NR phases I and II was
financed with domestic funds disbursed through mayors. Most
beneficiaries were Lenca of the ONILH federation, the rest
belonged to four other federations. NR's main goal is
to improve the living conditions of Honduras' nine
ethnic groups by helping build human capital, social and
cultural assets, and gender equity. NR finances small-scale
social and economic infrastructure projects identified,
selected, and implemented by community groups.

Date of publication
juillet 2013
Geographical focus

This regional study encompasses three
Central American countries: Nicaragua, Guatemala, and
Honduras. The focus of this report is Honduras. The
objective of the study is to understand how broad-based
economic growth can be stimulated and sustained in rural
Central America. The study identifies "drivers" of
sustainable rural growth and poverty reduction. Drivers are
defined as the assets and combinations of assets needed by
different types of households in different geographical
areas, to take advantage of economic opportunities, and
improve their well-being over time. The study examines the
relative contributions of these assets, and seeks to
identify the combinations of productive, social, and
location-specific assets that matter most to raise incomes,
and take advantage of prospects for poverty-reducing growth.
It adopts an asset-based conceptual approach, where assets
are defined to include natural, physical, financial, human,
social, political, institutional, and location-specific
assets, and, focuses on how households deploy their assets
within the context of policies, institutions, and risks to
generate a set of opportunities. The report further analyzes
the quantity, quality, and productivity of assets needed by
households in different geographical areas, to exercise
their potential for generating long-term growth and
improving well-being. Findings indicate that while there are
well-defined areas of higher economic opportunity, given
their underlying agricultural potential, relatively good
access to infrastructure, and high population densities,
poverty is widespread, and deep in rural Honduras,
particularly in hillside areas. And, although agriculture
should form an integral part of the rural growth strategy in
hillside areas, despite its limited potential, agriculture
alone cannot solve the rural poverty problem, yet, those
remaining in the sector need to be more efficient,
productive and competitive. It is recommended to move from
geographically untargeted investments in single assets, to a
more integrated and geographically based approach of asset
enhancement with proper complementarities, such as land
access and security, technical assistance provision, health
and education services, and strong local level institutions,

Date of publication
août 2012
Geographical focus

With a population of seven million,
Honduras is the second most populous country in Central
America. It is also the second poorest country in the region
with an annual per capita income of less than US$ 1,000. Two
out of every three people in Honduras are poor (per capita
income less than US$ 1.50/day); and three out of every four
poor people are extremely poor (per capita income less than
US$ 1.00/day). Social indicators such as child malnutrition
rate (17 percent), life expectancy at birth (66 years),
child mortality rate (32 per 1000 births), and literacy rate
(less than three-quarters of the population) are among the
poorest in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region.

Date of publication
juillet 2013
Geographical focus

This regional study encompasses three
Central American countries: Nicaragua, Guatemala, and
Honduras. The focus of this report is Honduras. The
objective of the study is to understand how broad-based
economic growth can be stimulated and sustained in rural
Central America. The study identifies "drivers" of
sustainable rural growth and poverty reduction. Drivers are
defined as the assets and combinations of assets needed by
different types of households in different geographical
areas, to take advantage of economic opportunities, and
improve their well-being over time. The study examines the
relative contributions of these assets, and seeks to
identify the combinations of productive, social, and
location-specific assets that matter most to raise incomes,
and take advantage of prospects for poverty-reducing growth.
It adopts an asset-based conceptual approach, where assets
are defined to include natural, physical, financial, human,
social, political, institutional, and location-specific
assets, and, focuses on how households deploy their assets
within the context of policies, institutions, and risks to
generate a set of opportunities. The report further analyzes
the quantity, quality, and productivity of assets needed by
households in different geographical areas, to exercise
their potential for generating long-term growth and
improving well-being. Findings indicate that while there are
well-defined areas of higher economic opportunity, given
their underlying agricultural potential, relatively good
access to infrastructure, and high population densities,
poverty is widespread, and deep in rural Honduras,
particularly in hillside areas. And, although agriculture
should form an integral part of the rural growth strategy in
hillside areas, despite its limited potential, agriculture
alone cannot solve the rural poverty problem, yet, those
remaining in the sector need to be more efficient,
productive and competitive. It is recommended to move from
geographically untargeted investments in single assets, to a
more integrated and geographically based approach of asset
enhancement with proper complementarities, such as land
access and security, technical assistance provision, health
and education services, and strong local level institutions,

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