Development and Peace’s program in Honduras is centred on the access and local management of natural resources, and supports affected communities in their efforts to defend their land and their rights. It supports local organizations working on human and environmental rights. Many of these groups face an increasing level of insecurity and threats to the lives of their members for opposing large-scale corporate development projects.
“The work of human rights defenders is critical for building a democratic society and for the consolidation of the rule of law.” The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Development and Peace, which has been working in the country since 1968, immediately implemented an emergency relief program to help disaster victims affected by Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America in 1998.
Listening to the population, who wanted to transform this tragedy into an opportunity to become better organized and less vulnerable, Development and Peace established an extensive program that brought together women’s associations, water management groups, small farmers, and development committees.
It supports its partners in raising awareness on the controversial government initiative of creating model cities (ZEDE), as a way to attract foreign investment.
Honduras is rich in natural resources, including gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony and coal. The mining industry, which represents significant financial investment for the country, has negatives consequences on the lives of many communities that live near mining site, and on the environment, given the pollution of water sources.
Despite its underground wealth, Honduras remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line. The country is prone to earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused major damage to the city of Tegucigalpa.
In addition, Honduras is characterized by an extreme degree of violence aimed at human and environmental rights defenders, eliciting particular concern from the international community in recent years.