Sign on to Organizational Statement on Killing of Honduran Anti-Mining Water Defenders

The National Lawyers Guild International Committee — represented by Emily Yozell — is part of the Observatory for Justice for the Guapinol Water Defenders. The Observatory is made up of the following groups:

● Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).


● International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law, US

● International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild

● Diakonia

● Reflection, Research and Communication Team (ERIC)

● International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

● World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

● Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Faced with the upsurge of violence in Honduras for >20 communities downstream from an illegal mining project inside a national park in Bajo Aguan, the Observatory for Justice for Guapinol River Defenders has extended its mandate to ensure independent investigations and effective and comprehensive protection measures for the community of Guapinol and the membership of the Municipal Committee for the Defense of the Common and Public Resources of Tocoa (CMDBCPT). 

Initially created to monitor the trial of the eight Guapinol water defenders between December 2021 and February 2022, the Observatory for Justice for the Guapinol River Defenders is today expanding its mandate to ensure that the State of Honduras adopts comprehensive protection and prevention measures in favor of the Guapinol communities and the CMDBCPT membership, and to independently, thoroughly and impartially investigate the murders of Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla, as well as address the climate of threats that preceded this double homicide and gravely persists to this day.

Please sign on to and circulate this campaign statement from the Observatory for Justice for Guapinol Defenders.*

Honduras: One Month After the Murder of 2 Defenders of the Guapinol and San Pedro Rivers, Human Rights Organizations Call for Compliance with International Obligations to Guarantee Access to Justice and Measures of Non-Repetition

One month after the terrible murders on January 7 of Ali Dominguez and Jairo Bonilla, water and environmental defenders of the Guapinol community, the Observatory for Justice of the Guapinol River Defenders and the undersigned national and international organizations call on representatives of the Government of Honduras to assume their international human rights obligations.

The defense of the Botaderos Mountain “Carlos Escaleras” National Park and the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers has raised an international alert about the reaches of the extractivist model that still operates in Honduras, maintaining the permanent risk to entire communities and aggravating the human rights situation of those who live in these territories. Despite the extensive and exhaustive documentation of the situation of risk of the Municipal Committee of Common and Public Goods of Tocoa (CMDBCPT) and their multiple public alerts, the Honduran State has not responded in an effective way to the critical situation of danger of the defenders of the CMDBCPT, Guapinol, San Pedro sector and their families, omitting its international responsibility to grant protection to defenders, the due, prompt and impartial investigation of the facts, as well as the guarantee of non-repetition.

Likewise, we express the urgent need to guarantee the reliable, exhaustive and impartial investigation that clarifies the double murder of the Guapinol defenders, identifying the causes and the relationship with their work in defense of the rivers and the environment, as well as the acts of violence previously denounced and that remain unpunished due to the lack of substantive advances in the investigation stages. We support the request presented on January 17 for the investigation to be transferred from the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Tocoa to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Life, with the assistance of the Technical Agency for Criminal Investigation, since the same local prosecutor’s office played a key role in the criminalization of defenders, including Ali Dominguez, the arbitrary detention of others for more than two years, and the violent eviction of the “Water and Life” camp.

In addition, the State must move forward in halting and repairing the environmental damage caused by the mining megaproject operating in the Botaderos Mountain, canceling projects that, being illegal, operate the State’s complicity and other companies that shields them from any responsibility. It is necessary that the origin of the various socio-environmental conflicts in Honduran territory be addressed from a human rights perspective and that the demands of those who inhabit the territories be met.

The Observatory for Justice for the Guapinol River Defenders and the national and international organizations subscribing to this communication regret that, despite a hopeful change of government for Honduras and the region, the patterns of violence against communities and Indigenous and peasant peoples continue, favoring private interests and the accumulation of wealth.

We recognize and support the work of human rights defenders in Honduras and stand in solidarity with the victims of reprisals and their families.

The undersigned subscribe to this communication:

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