Honduras: Concern over threat of indigenous land rights

September 11, 2014

Executive Director Michael Casey has written to the President of Honduras' Supreme Court of Justice to express concern regarding intimidation of indigenous Lenca communities supported by Development and Peace in the western department of La Paz. With support from Development and Peace, Lenca leaders have been studying Honduran laws and international treaties that protect their rights in the face of hydro-electric mega projects and other ventures that threaten to evict them from their traditional lands.

On September 3, police accompanied by armed civilians shot at unarmed Lenca, and burned down huts they had put up on contested collectively owned lands. In the letter, Development and Peace calls on the Honduran authorities to guarantee to the Lenca respect of their rights to the land that permits them to grow food and survive as communities. These rights are set out in the Honduran constitution and in international treaties signed by Honduras.

The Lenca are one of 8 indigenous peoples in Honduras; they live in extreme poverty and are marginalized and suffer daily discrimination. The lands of all of these indigenous peoples are threatened by mega projects, such as hydro-electric dams funded by international climate funds, and mega-mining projects.