Miriam Janeth Mejía Cruz and Lourdes Elizabeth Gómez Rodas
Municipal Defense Committee of Public Communal Assets in Tocoa, Colón
Defense of communal assets
THE FACTS – According to information available to the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras, as of September 13th, an arrest warrant has existed for eighteen members of the Municipal Defense Committee of Public Communal Assets in Tocoa, Colón, who are participating in the Encampment for Life in Defense of the Right to Water, including defenders Miriam Janeth Mejía Cruz and Lourdes Elizabeth Gómez Rodas. The camp was set up last August to protest against the action of the Los Pinares Mining Investment Company, which is causing serious environmental damage to the San Pedro and Guapinol rivers.
At the same time, there are indications of a possible imminent eviction of the camp, which makes the situation even more disturbing in view of a number of precedents of violent evictions and arbitrary arrests perpetrated by State security forces that we have been denouncing in IM-Defensoras and the National Network of Women Defenders.
En Honduras, the State is in constant complicity with private companies, placing their interests above the public interests and human rights of the communities. This occurs through the systematic criminalization of defenders and the use of public security forces to repress the population that is exercizing its legitimate right to protest against the destructive action of these extractive companies.
We of IM-Defensoras and the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras remind the Honduran government that according to international human rights norms, the right to defend rights is a legitimate right of all people that it must guarantee. Therefore, we demand the immediate suspension of all arrest warrants and any action that could endanger the integrity and the right to defend rights of the participants in the Encampment for Life in Defense of the Right to Water, and we hold the State responsible for any harm that may come to them.
Lastly, we call on the international community to show solidarity with the Municipal Committee in Defense of Public Communal Assets in Tocoa and to stay abreast of the situation.