Sunday, April 26, 2015

Honduras is now the most dangerous country for environmental activists

Honduras Culture and Politics discusses a new Global Witness report about killings of environmental activists, which notes that Honduras is “the most dangerous country to be an environmental defender.”

They point to how the numbers killed in Honduras (111 people total between 2002 and 2014) increased abruptly after 2009, as shown in the Global Witness graphic:

From 2002 to 2009, Honduras had 0, 1, 2, or 3 deaths per year of environmentalists. Starting with 2010, those numbers skyrocketed: 21 deaths in 2010, 33 deaths in 2011, 25 deaths in 2012, 10 deaths in 2013, and 12 deaths in 2014. 90% of the Honduran environmentalist deaths occurred in the last 5 years!

Global Witness found that mining and other extractive industries caused the largest number of deaths in 2014, with a tie for the second spot between Water and Dams, and Agribusiness. These three accounted for 84% of the environmentalist deaths in 2014.

This violence has come down particularly hard on indigenous environmentalists. Three Tolupan leaders were shot and killed during an anti-mining protest in 2014.
Because readers of the blog are likely to be familiar with the country’s recent history, HCAP doesn’t explicitly point to the transformative event in 2009: the military coup against democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya. When Hillary Clinton worked to “render the question of Zelaya moot” and institutionalize the coup, this is what she helped set in motion. They also don’t mention – again because most readers will be all too aware – the impunity with which these crimes are committed. But I’m sure the Marines will help with that.

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