Community and labour union leaders harassed and intimidated
ALERTA: Militares tras luchadora social del MADJ en Sector Florida, Atlántida— IM-Defensoras (@IM_Defensoras) March 12, 2018
It was reported that Lino Hernández, union leader from Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Fábrica Star S.A (Workers' Union of the Star Factory), resigned due to harassment and intimidation. Hernández claims that:
"On Monday, 12 February, I received direct threats; two unknown persons driving a motorcycle approached me and told me to take care of myself or to leave [the town of] El Progreso". (Translated from Spanish)
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre requested that the company address the union leader's concerns over the threat. The company responded that Hernández had left his job on good terms and expressed its commitment to international standards on labour rights.
In a separate incident, Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ) reported that members of the army were harassing one of its members, Ualdina Santos, a social leader and former representative of the organisation in the region of Atlántida. Since 2017, Santos has been leading a movement against an open-pit mine in the area. After finding out that representatives of the mining company were visiting their community in early March, Santos led a protest to prevent them from entering the community. Days after, on 10th March, villagers of Atlántida reported that several soldiers were going door-to-door asking for the exact location of Santos’ home. Attacks against members of MADJ have been previously reported on the Monitor.
As reported previously on the Monitor, Roberto Castillo, president of Desarrollos Energeticos, was arrested for his alleged involvement in Berta Caceres’ murder. After one postponement, a preliminary hearing was held on 9th March to read the accusations against him and for both parties to make the opening statements. No further developments had occurred in this case at the time of writing.
#Honduras: La huelga más larga en la empresa que simbolizó las “banana republics”. @LaTribunahn @DiarioTiempo @elpaishn @diarioelheraldo @DiarioLaPrensa @11_Noticias @televicentrohn @HCHTelevDigital @FrenteaFrenteHN Más información ➡️➡️ https://t.co/HYOTzq0oyp pic.twitter.com/5q8QSnRe8j— Plaza Pública (@PlazaPublicaGT) March 14, 2018
As reported previously on the Monitor, a group of workers in a banana field had been protesting for over 60 days, with 77 workers reportedly being dismissed. On 9th March, it was reported that police dispersed the workers with tear gas as well as attempted to arrest two women demonstrators. On 12th March, the workers announced an end to the strike, not because they had reached an agreement with the company, but due to fears of more dismissals. By 12th March, 94 workers had been dismissed.
In a separate incident, a community in Namasigue Choluteca town declared that the camp where they had been protesting a solar power project was set on fire by unidentified individuals. The company's security guards said they were also intimidated by those who set the camp on fire. Representatives of the community claim that this act was a "warning from the company". No information on an investigation into the incident was available at the time of writing.
As reported on the Monitor, massive protests erupted after the presidential election when inconsistencies were found in how the results were reported. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations released a report wherein it affirmed that security forces in Honduras "used excessive and even lethal force to control the protests after the elections". The report stated that at least seven people were killed due to gunshots to the head which "could amount to extrajudicial executions". It also expressed concern given that no judicial process has been initiated against members of the state security forces. The report indicated that:
"[T]he analysis of the type of injuries suffered by the victims, indicates that the security forces made intentional and lethal use of firearms, even beyond the purpose of deterrence or self-defense , like when the protesters were fleeing".
#Honduras: Security forces used excessive – even lethal – force to control & disperse protests that erupted after the controversial presidential election. These cases raise serious concerns and may amount to extra-judicial killings- UN Report https://t.co/7jTZam8wdY https://t.co/syXGOCYtq8— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 12, 2018
Honduras is currently on the Monitor's Watch List of countries where there is an urgent, immediate and developing threat to civic space.
Civic Space Developments