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New acts of surveillance, harassment and threats against people accompanying and supporting defenders of Guapino

Status: 
Threatened
About the situation

Members of the Environmental Committee of Guapinol’s legal team, the Municipal Committee for the Defence of the Public Commons of Tocoa (CMDBCP) and those accompanying the Camp "Justice and Freedom for Guapinol", have reported an increase in surveillance, harassment and threats against them in the context of the reopening of the case and public trial against the human rights and environmental defenders of Guapinol and Sector San Pedro.

About Municipal Committee for the Defence of the Public Commons of Tocoa

The Municipal Committee for the Defence of the Public Commons of Tocoa (Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos) is an organisation in Tocoa, in the department of Colón, comprised of several organisations defending land and environmental rights: the Environmental Committees of Sector San Pedro (13 communities) and Sector Committee Abisinia (14 communities); Environmental Committee of the Community of Guapinol, campesino groups and the organisations Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguán (COPA); Fundación San Alonso Rodríguez (FSAR) and Parroquia San Isidro de Tocoa. The objective of CMDBCP is to promote concerted efforts and mobilise resources to protect public goods in the region.

26 January 2022
New acts of surveillance, harassment and threats against people accompanying and supporting defenders of Guapinol

Members of the Environmental Committee of Guapinol’s legal team, the Municipal Committee for the Defence of the Public Commons of Tocoa (CMDBCP) and those accompanying the Camp "Justice and Freedom for Guapinol", have reported an increase in surveillance, harassment and threats against them in the context of the reopening of the case and public trial against the human rights and environmental defenders of Guapinol and Sector San Pedro.

Download the Urgent Appeal

The Municipal Committee for the Defence of the Public Commons of Tocoa (Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos) is an organisation in Tocoa, in the department of Colón, comprised of several organisations defending land and environmental rights: the Environmental Committees of Sector San Pedro (13 communities) and Sector Committee Abisinia (14 communities); Environmental Committee of the Community of Guapinol, campesino groups and the organisations Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguán (COPA); Fundación San Alonso Rodríguez (FSAR) and Parroquia San Isidro de Tocoa. The objective of CMDBCP is to promote concerted efforts and mobilise resources to protect public goods in the region.

On 14 January 2022, a human rights defender and member of the CMDBCP noticed a parked car, with three hooded and armed people, outside of the venue where a meeting with organisations from the social movement was taking place. On the same day, two unidentified persons approached the "Camp for Justice and Freedom of the Guapinol defenders" that was set up in front of the Court of First Instance in the municipality of Tocoa. On several occasions, the unknown men pointed at different human rights defenders without saying anything or identifying themselves.

On 17 January 2022, the Facebook account of the media outlet "Tocoa Exclusivas HN" published defamatory information against the human rights and environmental defenders, accusing them of the murder of a person in the community of Guapinol. Public harassment against human rights defenders, linked to the defence of water in Guapinol and San Pedro, has been carried out through disinformation campaigns in print media, radio programmes and multiple fake accounts on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The published posts questioned the environmental defence work done by the human rights and water defenders, and urging Honduran authorities to prolong their detention.

On 24 January 2022, within the framework of a case hearing regarding the case of eight human rights defenders in the Judicial Palace of the Municipality of Tocoa, the Public Prosecutor's Office showed up with two unidentified armed security officers under the premise of accompanying an official expert witness. According to Guapinol's legal team, the authorities refused to identify the two armed individuals, who had an intimidating attitude and whose presence was not notified to the people attending the hearing.

Front Line Defenders recalls that the ongoing legal proceedings against human rights and environmental rights defenders began on 13 September 2018, when the Honduran Court Specialised in Organised Crime issued an arrest warrant against members of the Guapinol camp, who peacefully occupied the margins of a road leading to the Inversiones Los Pinares Mining Company in August and September 2018. This event resulted in the arbitrary arrest and preventive detention of the eight members of the Environmental Committee of the Guapinol Community and the Environmental Committee of the San Pedro Sector on 26 August 2019.

Front Line Defenders reiterates its rejection of any act of intimidation, vigilance or harassment against the eight Guapinol human rights and environmental defenders, the legal team of the Guapinol Environmental Committee or those accompanying the Camp "Justice and Freedom for Guapinol". It also stands in solidarity with the environmental defenders and their families, who for more than two years have faced the physical and psychological implications of their arbitrary detention.