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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 05 Land defenders at risk Land defenders in Río Blanco still at risk
FI 064/19-1
Abgeschlossen am 2. September 2019

Land defenders in Río Blanco still at risk

AI-Index: AMR 37/0777/2019

On 16 July, the Civic Council of Popular Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) reported new attacks that affected at least 25 families of the community of Río Blanco, Intibucá, Honduras, that saw their food crop intentionally destroyed next to the where Rosalina Dominguez, her four sons and two other members of the community of Río Blanco were threatened last 30 April and 1 May 2019. We urge the Minister of Human Rights to immediately guarantee the safety of members of Río Blanco and COPINH, and to further the investigations of any attacks against them.


The Lenca Indigenous community of Rio Blanco, Intibucá, Honduras, has been demonstrating against a hydro-electric power project on the land the community has been living on for centuries, alleging lack of free, prior and informed consultation. The community belong to the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Civico de Organizaciones Populares e Indigenas de Honduras, COPINH). COPINH has been fighting for over 20 years for better standards of living of its community in Río Blanco. Since 2011, COPINH members have been campaigning for their right to free, prior and informed. Its members have been targeted with threats and harassment for years in connection with their work.

Berta Cáceres, leader and co-founder of COPINH, was shot dead on 3 March in her home in the town of La Esperanza, in the province of Intibucá. On 7 March 2016 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a new precautionary measure of protection in favour of all COPINH members and Berta Caceres' family on the grounds of the risks posed by their work defending human rights, environment and natural resources and their increased vulnerability situation after Berta Caceres' killing.

On 30 April and 1 May 2019 Rosalina Domínguez, finance coordinator for the Indigenous Council of Río Blanco, her four sons (aged between 16 and 30), and two other members of her community faced verbal death threats on their way to work by a group of at least seven people, one of them armed. The COPINH reported the attack the Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office and asked the Honduras National Protection System to protect Rosalina Domínguez. Investigations into these attacks remain pending. The Protection System for human rights defenders must also enforce security measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission (Precautionary Measure 112/16) to ensure members of COPINH can develop their activities as human right’s defenders without being objects of violence and harassment.

Over the last three years Amnesty International has alerted on numerous death and other types of threats, intimidation, harassment and the killings of activists in Honduras which is one of the deadliest countries in the world to be a human rights defender.

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